WARSAW – Defense, once again, made the difference in another win Saturday night for the undefeated Warsaw girls basketball team.
The Tigers put the clamps on Goshen to the tune of a key 57-44 Northern Lakes Conference victory in the Tiger Den.
Senior Lindsay Baker and junior Nikki Grose each scored 14 points and senior Jennifer Walker-Crawford registered a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Class 4-A No. 10 Tigers.
Warsaw, in improving to 15-0 overall and 4-0 in the NLC, held the Redskins to a 16-of-49 shooting performance in the contest. Goshen, which drops to 10-4 overall and 2-2 in league play, shot 6-of-20 from 3-point range. The Redskins also were just 6-of-16 from the free throw line in the loss.
The Tigers, now 11-0 at home this season, also avenged a tough 62-58 loss at Goshen last year. That setback snapped a 32-game winning streak versus the Redskins dating all the way back to 1982.
Warsaw led 18-10 after the first period of play Saturday night. The hosts took a 32-22 advantage into the lockeroom at halftime. The Tigers shot 12-of-27 from the field in the opening half, while Goshen was just 8-of-24. Warsaw outscored the Redskins 10-7 in the third quarter to lead 42-29 going into the final stanza.
The Tigers finished the game 18-of-43 from the field, including 6-of-16 from long range. Baker, who also led her team with six assists, hit three triples. Warsaw helped itself from the charity stripe by hitting 15-of-22 free throws in the win.
Senior standout Aimee Swihart scored 14 points for Goshen, but shot just 5-of-19 from the field. Junior Deja Felder had 14 points and nine rebounds for coach Lenny Krebs’ squad, while Kayci Troyer added seven points.
Melanie Halladay and Eryn Leek each added six points Saturday night for the Tigers.
Warsaw entered play Saturday night allowing just 35.6 points-per-game. The Tigers, whose winning margin is right at 20 points-per-game, have had just one victory by single digits all season.
Warsaw won the junior varsity contest Saturday night by a 36-25 final. Pam Miller led the winning Tigers with 12 points.
Warsaw now sits atop the NLC standings at 4-0. Plymouth and Elkhart Memorial sit in second place at 3-1, followed by NorthWood, Northridge and Goshen all at 2-2 and Wawasee and Concord at 0-4.
In other NLC girls action Saturday, Plymouth defeated Concord 56-36, Memorial topped Wawasee 55-37 and Class 3-A No. 5 NorthWood edged Northridge 48-46.
The Tigers, who finished 16-5 last season, have just five regular season games left. Coach Michelle Harter’s team is attempting to post the first undefeated season in program history since the 1989-90 team went 20-0.
Warsaw begins a tough, four-game road stretch Wednesday at perennial power Penn (13-3). The Kingsmen were Class 4-A state runner-up in 2011 and lost in the semi state last season to finish 25-2. The junior varsity game begins at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at Penn. The Tigers then play three straight NLC road games at Concord (6-10) Jan. 19, at Memorial (11-4) Jan. 22 and at NorthWood (14-3) Jan. 26.
Warsaw will host South Bend Riley (2-13) Jan. 31 in their regular-season and home final. That night will be Senior Night, honoring seniors Baker, Walker-Crawford, Holladay, Sarah Ray and Gabby Monroy.
Goshen returns to action Tuesday night with a non-conference game at Mishawaka.