SOUTH WHITLEY — Whitko boys basketball head coach Scott Wessel had to watch a similar result from the locker room Wednesday night.
Drawing a pair of technical fouls and an ejection during the junior varsity game, Wessel had to be replaced on the bench by JV coach John Strayer for the varsity game.
Watching through a live feed, Wessel saw his Whitko Wildcats (1-16) gradually lose grip on their home game against the Southern Wells Raiders (4-12), falling 66-48.
“Our margin for error is so small,” Wessel said. “We have to just about be perfect sometimes to just stay in the game.”
The game appeared to be getting away from Whitko quick, as Southern Wells build a 17-11 lead with 6:04 remaining in the second quarter after freshman Evan Huffman hit his third three-pointer.
However, Whitko fought back to take a 20-19 lead with 1:49 left in the half, but it lasted just 25 seconds, as Raiders senior Colton Mooberry drained a three and junior Brad Woodward scored the final two points of the half, giving the road team a 24-20 lead at the break.
The Wildcats stayed within 27-24 early in the third quarter, but were methodically sped up, as the Raiders used a quick 7-2 spurt to build a double-digit lead at 36-26 with 4:20 remaining in the quarter.
“We started to play faster and that does not bode well for us,” Wessel said. “This is what happens when we play faster.”
After holding Southern Wells to 24 first-half points, Whitko gave up 42 in the second half, as the Raiders converted 12 of 22 field goal attempts in the final 16 minutes.
Along with being sped up, Whitko had no answer for Southern Wells junior Triston Niblick.
Coming off the bench, the sturdy 6-foot-2 Niblick had 11 points and 11 rebounds, including back-to-back putback buckets in the decisive third quarter.
In all, Southern Wells outrebounded Whitko 39-25, including nine offensive rebounds, which resulted in 10 second-chance points.
“We have to overcome that, because we aren’t getting any bigger,” Wessel said. “We have to learn to have some grit and some toughness. We’re learning.”
Another telling stat from the game was Southern Wells’ 7-of-18 shooting from beyond the arc to Whitko’s 0-of-12.
In all, the four-win Raiders had four players score in double figures, led by senior Kennan Mooberry’s 15, followed by 11 each from sophomore Keaton Coleman, Huffman and Niblick.
For Whitko, it was senior Dylan Cumberland that once again led the way, recording team highs in points (20), rebounds (7), assists (6) and steals (4).
“He’s doing what he needs to do,” Wessel said of the 6-foot point guard.
Whitko also got 11 points and six rebounds from freshman guard Nate Walpole and sophomore Devon Adkins kept his recent hot streak going.
Scoring five points in the JV game, Adkins made 6 of 7 field goals in the varsity contest, scoring 13 points and grabbing five boards off the bench.
“He’s been better,” Wessel said of Adkins. “He’s been doing what we’ve been talking about doing all year. He’s screening, slipping and doing those little things he can do to be successful and try to help us be successful.”
The loss is Whitko’s 13th in a row, and the Wildcats now prepare to host Churubusco Saturday night.
The season has been a rough one for Wessel, but with all the inexperience on the roster, it may not have been totally unexpected.
Regardless, he’s working to see positives as the postseason quickly approaches.
“I think we’re getting better,” he said. “We’re young. I don’t want to say our seniors are young, but they are inexperienced players. All of them but one played JV last year, and they didn’t play a whole lot before that either. We just are where we are.”

SOUTHERN WELLS 66, WHITKO 48
SW    14    10    19    23    –    66
Wh    9    11    14    14    –    48
SW – Kennan Mooberry 6-8 2-4 16, Brad Woodward 2-7 2-2 6, Keaton Coleman 3-10 4-4 11, Evan Huffman 4-6 0-0 11, Jacob Roush 1-2 2-6 4, Bryce Bonewit 1-1 2-2 4, Colton Mooberry 1-4 0-0 3, Blade Reinhart 0-0 0-0 0, Hunter Schreiber 0-0 0-0 0, Triston Niblick 3-7 5-5 11, Payton Roush 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-45 17-23 66.
Whitko – Nate Walpole 3-15 5-6 11, Seth Patrick 0-4 0-0 0, Dylan Cumberland 8-20 4-7 20, Roger Helblig 1-1 0-0 2, Ian Keirn 0-3 0-0 0, Devon Adkins 6-7 1-4 13, Kyle Whelpley 1-1 0-0 2, Danny Zawlocki 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-52 10-17 48.
Three-pointers – SW 7-18 (Huffman 3, K. Mooberry 2, C. Mooberry, Coleman), Whitko 0-12; Team Fouls – SW 18, Whitko 19; Turnovers – SW 14, Whitko 9; Rebounds – SW 39 (Niblick 11), Whitko 25 (Cumberland 7); Assists – SW 9 (K. Mooberry 3), Whitko 8 (Cumberland 6); Steals – SW 3, Whitko 8 (Cumberland 4); Blocks – SW 3, (Niblick 2), Whitko 0; Records: SW 4-12, Whitko 1-16
JV – SW 42, Whitko 30
Whitko – Tyler Baugher 11, Whelpley 7, Adkins 5, Alex Bechtold 3, Josh Wright 2, Helblig 2