By DAVE MORRISON
WHEELING - After spending 15 of the last 18 days on the road, it was bound to happen.
The nation's No. 1 team, Montverde, had a letdown.
Unfortunately for Wheeler, it only lasted a half.
Montverde (14-0) opened it up in the second half en route to a 74-46 victory against the Wildcats.
After looking lethargic through the first half, in which the Eagles lead 22-17, coach Kevin Boyle issued a no-holds-barred ultimatum: shape up or sit out.
"I told the kids if they didn't want to play, they could sit," Boyle said. "Being on the road 15 days of 18, you realize it is going to happen. We just didn't look like we had the energy you need to when you play an outstanding team like Wheeler. They played with a lot of energy and we were kind of going through the motions."
Apparently, the ultimatum worked.
Slowly, but surely, the Eagles pulled away.
A 13-1 run at the end of the third quarter gave Montverde a 54-32 lead. From there, the rout was on.
Four players scored in double figures, led by 13 from D'Angelo Russell, off the bench. Ben Simmons, who is headed to LSU, had 12 and nine rebounds and Justin Bibbs had 12. Jaylen Patterson added 10.
Jaylon Brown was the only Wheeler player in double figures with a game-high 17.
Montverde had seven Division I commits on its roster.
"We want to be the Duke of high school basketball," Boyle said. "We are very proud of our academic standards. (Chris) Egi is going to Harvard and that will give us three former players at Harvard. That's what it's all about."