Brett Bowling owned the paint in Wyoming East’s season-opening win.
Bowling scored 28 points, including 24 in the first half, as the Warriors cruised by PikeView, 87-58, last Thursday at New Richmond.
“That was what we were hoping for,” said WEHS coach Rory Chapman. “His hard work the last two or three years has paid off.”
Bowling was the go-to guy for most of the first half. He fought his way through double teams and, on a couple of occasions, pulled the ball from a PikeView player’s hands and laid it in the bucket for two.
“He’s very physical,” Chapman commented. “He loves to lift weights.”
“(Lifting) is something I like to do,” Bowling remarked. An 11-0 run in the first quarter put East on top for good.
Bowling made two free throws and converted a three-point play on a put back to give the Warriors an 11-10 edge.
Two more Bowling buckets were sandwiched around a bank shot from Austin Canada. It was 17-10.
The Panthers closed to within 22-19 early in the second on Zach Meadows basket from close range.
East answered with a 9-0 spurt.
Bowling scored three straight times inside to push the lead back to 28-19 and force a PikeView timeout.
“I give all the credit to my teammates,” stated Bowling. “They were getting the ball to me in a position where I could score.”
Canada’s three-pointer from the left side stretched the margin to 31-19.
The Panthers used a late run to whittle the lead at 42-34. Josh Tunstalle’s lay up with seconds remaining gave East a 10-point halftime lead.
WEHS put the game out of reach in the third quarter.
Tunstalle and Canada drove to the hoop with consistent success as the lead ballooned.
“We’re not a great shooting team, and we want to take the ball to the rim as much as possible,” Chapman noted.
Seven points in the first 47 seconds of the third period boosted the margin to 51-34. Bowing’s last points of the game, on a follow shot, sent the lead over 20 at 62-41.
Canada’s 15-footer at the buzzer made it 76-44 heading into the final stanza.
“The game was kind of sloppy, typical first game,” Chapman said. “We had too many turnovers. I would give us a C.
“I did like our hustle,” he added. Bowling, Canada (15) and Tunstalle (13) paced the Warriors attack. Cody Lester and Joseph Cornett added nine each.
Meadows scored 19 for the Panthers, and Logan McKinney tossed in 13.
East will host AAA power Woodrow Wilson on Tuesday.
“We’ll definitely be tested against Woodrow,” Chapman said. “They’ll make you pay for any mistakes.”