The pace of the game was high right from the get-go and neither team could gain an edge at first. Defensive takeaways and big buckets for Gehlen brought the home crowd to its feet numerous times. Pushed by the fans in the stands, the Jays were up 18-17 after the first quarter.
"The crowd was great tonight," Gehlen coach Mike Langel said. "They enjoyed a nice basketball game."
The Jays remained red hot coming out of the break. Just seconds into the third period, senior Michael Whitehead knocked down a three to extend Gehlens' lead.
"It got things going," Langel said. "Michael's senior leaderships really came out tonight. If he can get going and get the crowd behind him, it just feeds into him and Michael feeds into our younger kids."
Storm Lake kept fighting but could not get within reach again. Every time they threatened to get back into the game, Gehlen found an answer.
"When we got that bigger lead they had to take some chances on defense," Langel said. "We just capitalized. We made the right passes, got it to the guy that was open."
The score was 57-45 going into the final stanza.
The Jays kept up the intensity in the closing stages of the game. A roar filled the gym as the final buzzer sounded.
"They played a nice, full game," Langel said. "They didn't get rattled when they went ahead a couple of times. All night long they knocked down some big shots."
Gehlen had four players in double figures. Junior Blake Wiltgen scored a team-high 22 points, of which 15 came in the first half. Junior Colton Kneip had 17, followed by Whitehead with 16 and sophomore Alex Kellen with 10.
Defensively, Wiltgen, Kneip and Kellen all had nine rebounds. Whitehead had seven.
With twelve consecutive wins, the Jays sit at a 13-2 record.
"We are very proud of our team and the way they have been playing all year," Langel said.
With the season going into its crucial stages, Langel hopes that his team will finish strong.
"We should be a No. 1 seed in the tournament, which is huge," he said. "We have three games left to win the War Eagle Conference, and that was a definite goal that we wanted to repeat from last year."
The first of these conference matchups is on Friday, when Gehlen will face Remsen-Union in an away game.
The Jays lost to R-U 49-46 in late November.
"We're playing a lot more confident now than we were then," Langel said. "We've improved a lot, and I'm sure R-U has improved a lot. It'll be a good game. We've had some great battles in the past."