GRANVILLE -- The Gehlen Jays overcame an early deficit to win 66-53 over Spalding Catholic Friday.
Early in the first quarter, the Spartans raced out to a 14-4 lead.
"Spalding started out red hot; they hit some threes right out of the chute," Gehlen boys' coach Mike Langel said. "Then we settled down and played some better defense and got some defenders out on the perimeter for those guys. We did a nice job playing the rest of the game."
By the end of the first quarter, the Jays built a three point lead, 19-16 over the Spartans.
They stretched it to 11 points by halftime, leading 36-25.
Gehlen scored 16 points to Spalding's 11 in the third quarter, giving the Jays a 52-36 edge. A last-ditch attempt by the Spartans to close the gap wasn't enough, giving Gehlen the win.
"We got out in that 10-, 12-, or 14-point lead and just kind of stayed there," Langel said. "We had a hard time getting the lead pushed out any further. Spalding did pretty well after that."
Gehlen senior Michael Whitehead scored 26, going 12-of-19 from the field and 2-of-2 on free throws.
He added five assists and two steals for the Jays.
"Michael's becoming a nice leader on the team," Langel said. "He's making the right decisions. He had a great game and everybody kind of went along with him."
Junior Blake Wiltgen also tallied 13 points for Gehlen, going 5-of-10 from the field and hitting all three of his free throws.
Wiltgen also pulled down 10 rebounds for a double-double night against Spalding.
Junior Colton Kneip added nine points, nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
"Blake and Colton did a nice job of rebounding," Langel said.
Juniors Aaron Jentz and Austin Herbst did a nice job playing defense on some of Spalding's leaders, Langel said.
Although Gehlen scored 66 points, they were off the mark on threes. They shot nine and missed all of them.
Langel said he played nearly his whole bench Friday and was pleased with how the team competed on the hardwood.
"Blake and Colton got in foul trouble early and they sat quite a bit of second quarter," the Gehlen coach said. "The subs came in and had to pick up that slack and kept the lead at 10 points."
The Jays, whose record moves to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the War Eagle Conference, host South O'Brien at home Tuesday for another conference game.
"It'll be a good match, I'm sure," Langel said.