Even St. Viator coach Joe Majkowski was surprised when he saw the box score after the Lions toppled host Wheeling 62-37 in the 33rd annual Wildcat Hardwood Classic on Wednesday.
He had no idea that junior forward Kevin Walsh scored 10 of his 12 points in the first quarter to keep the Lions in the game.
"This is what I've been saying all season," said Majkowski. "Every night it's a different player stepping up. We need Walsh to be a scorer for us. He's a good shooter and he knows how to put the ball on the deck."
Wheeling came out agressively and built a 14-5 first-quarter lead following Ricky Schwind's 3-pointer with 4:08 left in the quarter.
D.J. Morris of the Lions countered with a 3-pointer, Walsh scored on a turnover and then converted a 3-point play with 1:26 left in the quarter to pull St. Viator to within 15-13 by quarter's end.
"Wheeling came out with intensity," said Walsh. "We had to settle down. Once we started sharing the ball and moving the game turned our way."
Wheeling (4-7) held on to the lead at 20-18 with 4:27 left in the half. The Wildcats got outscored 16-0 the rest of the quarter to trail 34-20.
Morris (23 points, 6 3-pointers) was the culprit for St. Viator with two 3-pointers and a 3-point play. Chris Myjak put in an offensive rebound, Walsh scored on a layup and Brian Wilhite hit a 3-pointer in the run.
Wheeling pulled as close as 38-28 before Majkowski called a timeout.
"We we're a little sloppy. We started to get unplugged and I had to remind them what was happening," said Majkowski.
The Lions (9-2) responded with a a 7-0 run to end after three quarters 45-28.
"We had a tough loss the night before," said Wheeling coach John Clancy. "We came out and played very good but St. Viator turned up the screws on us with their defense. "Walsh and Morris got a lot of good looks on us in the first half. We've been in alot of our games. We just have to be able to sustain our game plan."
"On offense I like to run and get the open looks," said Walsh. "My teammates found me with some good passes. It was a real team win tonight."
Charlie Kirk led Wheeling with 10 points and Tyler Shapiro added 9 for the Wildcats, who face Loyola at 12:15 p.m. today for seventh place. St. Viator takes on Prospect for fifth place at 3:45 p.m.