By DOUG GORMAN
The Newnan boys fell behind early in the first quarter and spent the rest of the night trying to catch up against a taller Wheeler squad in a Region 2 7A opener.
The Wildcats converted steals into fastbreaks and also shot over the Cougars’ defense with a steady arsenal of 3-point shooting to put the game out of reach by the break en route to an 86-50 victory.
Newnan fell to 2-4 overall and 0-1 in Region 2 7A play. Wheeler improved to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in the region.
Wheeler led 20-12 at the end of the first quarter and extended it to 37-17 after two periods.
Wheeler’s Charles Smith, who has committed to play basketball at the University of California, had the hot hand earlier in the first quarter draining a couple of 3-pointers.
Harrison Drake answered with a 3-point shot for Newnan in the first quarter, but the Cougars were unable to close the gap.
The Wildcats outscored the Cougars 17-5 in the second quarter.
Tay Watson and Zion Brown had the only shots from the field for the Cougars.
Watson also had a second-quarter free throw to account for the Cougars’ second-quarter scoring.
The Wildcats increased the lead to 54-36 heading into the final quarter.
Watson led Newnan with 14 points and Brown knocked down 11.
Six players scored in double figures for the Wildcats, including Smith who led the way with 16. Prince Davies, and Kenny Bruce each had 12. Marshall Rhodes and Samuel Hines added 11 each and Jaire Eastmont tossed in 10.
Newnan stays home Friday night in a non-region game against Callaway.