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Wheelock a load to handle inside for West Seneca West basketball

WEST SENECA - A big man has been a big reason for a big start for the West Seneca West High School boys basketball team.

At 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, senior Matt Wheelock is a load to handle inside and teams are finding him hard to stop. That’s helped the Indians become a formidable team in ECIC-I this season.

“I just try to use my size to my advantage,” he said. “I just want to do whatever I need to do.”

So far, he’s done that. Wheelock scored in double figures in each of West Seneca West’s first four games, three of which were victories.

“He’s a big threat in there,” West Seneca West coach Dan Chavanne said. “Teams have to try to stop and he really causes problems. I’m sure glad he’s on our team.”

The senior standout forward has been a big part of West Seneca West’s strong start to the season. The Indians were 3-1 before Christmas, splitting a pair of ECIC-I games.

“I think it’s going pretty well,” Wheelock said. “We’re playing well as a team and our shots are going in. We have a lot back, so we’re expecting a lot this year; we always expect the best.”Wheelock has certainly done his part to help West Seneca East find its winning ways. He has averaged 13.8 points per game and has proven to be much more than a big body in the paint.

“He’s a big kid but he’s athletic,” Chavanne said. “He’s done a real nice job for us.”

Wheelock also brings leadership qualities to the team. He serves as a tri-captain along with fellow senior forward Zack Marshall and junior guard Chris Walker.

The Indians have already matched their win total from last season, both overall and in the league. West Seneca West was 3-16 overall and 1-13 in ECIC-I, with a young roster battling some injury issues and some close losses.

But five players return, including Wheelock, who missed most of last season with a broken leg suffered in the second week of the season. That experience has been crucial for the improved Indians, who claimed the championship of the Pioneer Motorsport Tournament to start the season before heading into ECIC-I play. Thus far, the only blemish has been a loss at Frontier and the Indians have benefitted from lessons learned that night.

“It’s been a good start,” Chavanne said. “We only had one game but we’ve bounced back from it. That’s what you want to see.”

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