HARTLEY -- The Gehlen Catholic School boys roared out to a strong lead and never looked back in their 61-42 win over Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn Friday.
The Jays (5-2) ramped up the score 21-8 by the start of the second quarter of the conference game.
"We were hoping to get out to a faster start than the last few games, and we did a good job of that," Gehlen boys' head coach Mike Langel said. "We started Solomon Freking for the first time to see if it would make things quicker for us, and it seemed to work."
The HMS Hawks scored 18 in the second quarter to Gehlen's 13, but the Jays still held an eight-point lead going into halftime, 34-26.
Gehlen came back with strong defense in the third quarter, holding HMS to five points and scoring 15 more for the Jays. Gehlen led 49-31.
"We had a nice third quarter," Langel said. "Solomon did a nice job for our defense, and Blake Wilten did a nice job of slowing down their leading scorer. We got on the boards and we rebounded pretty well."
The Jays scored 12 in the final quarter and kept the Hawks to 11 for the win.
"We did a nice job in the second half," Langel said. "We had a balanced game and we played well together."
"The subs also came in and did a nice job," Langel added. "Patrick Livermore, Mitchell Flack, Alex Herbst and Aaron Jentz -- those four guys did a nice job and stepped up."
Three of the Jays were in double figures: Michael Whitehead and Wiltgen scored 15 each and Colton Kneip added 14.
Alex Kellen added another nine points for Gehlen.
"We shot the ball pretty well, although we didn't get to the free throw line very often," Langel said. "HMS has some really nice ball players and some big kids, and we held them to 42 points, so our defensive effort was good."
Leading at the boards for Gehlen was Kneip with 14 rebounds, making it a double-double night for him. Wiltgen added another six rebounds.
The Jays also logged 13 steals and 19 assists for the night.
"That is one of the better numbers we've ever showed in assists," Langel said. "We had a nice game and we played well."
Gehlen's record improves to 5-2 overall heading into a big week.
The Jays host Remsen St. Mary's Tuesday in a conference matchup, then on Thursday they host Storm Lake's St. Mary's, and travel to Akron-Westfield Friday.