WHITESBORO — Just a week into the District 11-2A schedule the defending champion Bearcats are out to prove that it will take a lot to unseat them from the top of the standings.

WHITESBORO — Just a week into the District 11-2A schedule the defending champion Bearcats are out to prove that it will take a lot to unseat them from the top of the standings.


Although Whitesboro lost some key components from a team that went 25-8, including an undefeated district run, there are some main pieces back and a deep roster supplemented by underclassmen intent to continue building on recent success.


"We totally expect to be where we were last year," Whitesboro head coach Toby Sluder said. "There’s a difference between basketball players and kids who play basketball. These are a bunch of basketball players."


Ryan Schuessler scored 18 points to lead four Bearcats in double figures as Whitesboro defeated Bells, 83-21, in District 11-2A action on Friday night.


After opening district play with a 41-point victory against Callisburg, the Bearcats (7-3, 2-0) cruised after jumping right to the lead against Bells (1-7, 0-2).


Hayden Nikirk added 16 points for Whitesboro while Kaden Anderson and Collin Kilcrease scored 10 points apiece and Stephenn Hamon chipped in nine points. Twelve Bearcats got into the scoring column.


"Some of the guys have only played a few games," Sluder said. "They looked better than I thought. It’s nice to be pretty deep."


Colton Foster scored six points to lead Bells, which made just two baskets in the first half and trailed 42-12 at the break. The Panthers finished with just six field goals in the game.


"I really like our defensive intensity, getting out in the passing lanes, getting steals," Sluder said.


Schuessler’s free throw with 3:26 left in the first quarter gave the Bearcats a double-digit lead for good and Anderson scored five straight points, converting on a three-point play as Whitesboro led 18-3 after a quarter in which Bells was just one-of-eight from the free-throw line.


Each team took 17 free throws in the first half as 26 fouls were called in the opening two quarters.


Noah Straw had both baskets for Bells in the third quarter when Whitesboro came racing out of the locker room for a 67-16 advantage going to the fourth.


Hamon had a three-point play and Schuessler hit from long range as part of the Bearcats’ 16-0 run to open the second half.