WARSAW – The senior members of the Warsaw boys basketball team went out in style Friday night.
The Tigers used a huge second-half performance to rout Fort Wayne Luers 73-46 in the home finale.
Warsaw honored seniors Jordan Stookey, Nate Pearl and Moses Marandet prior to hammering the Knights.
The Tigers led just 29-21 at halftime before outscoring Luers 44-25 in the second half.
Stookey paced the offense with 16 points as Warsaw improved to 11-8 with its second straight win. The senior guard also had a game-high nine rebounds and dished out four assists for the winners.
Warsaw scored a season high in the win, eclipsing the 71 points in a 71-37 home win over Elkhart Central on Jan. 14. Luers, which drops to 9-9 with its seventh loss in the last eight games, was allowing 71 points-per-game entering the contest.
The Tigers, who came into the game averaging 49 points-per-game, led 16-8 after the opening period and 29-21 at intermission. The hosts outscored Luers 26-12 in the third quarter to blow the game open.
Sophomore Riley Rhoades had a big night with 13 points and eight rebounds for the Tigers. Rhoades, who had been sidelined due to an injury, came into the game with just two points in five varsity game apperances.
The quartet of Pearl, Moses Marandet, freshman Kyle Mangas and junior Jake Mangas each netted eight points for Warsaw.
“The big takeaway for us from this game was how many people contributed for us,” said Warsaw coach Doug Ogle. “We had a bunch of different guys play well. Moses Marandet was huge with his energy for us tonight. The combination of Moses and Riley Rhoades and their energy and presence inside is very encouraging for us.”
The Warsaw bench outscored the Luers bench by a whopping 31-3 count.
Warsaw shot 26-49 overall from the field and 17-20 from the free throw line in the win. The Tigers had a huge 40-16 rebounding advantage and committed just nine turnovers.
“We’ve really struggled with our offensive rebounding and to get 16 offensive rebounds tonight was huge,” Ogle said. “We played okay in the first half, but we were really strong in a lot of ways in the third quarter.”
Luers, which beat Fort Wayne Horizon Christian 82-69 Thursday night, was 16-46 from the field. The Knights were only 5-21 on 3-point tries and hit 9-11 from the line.
Ogle thought that his team had a strong carryover affect from its 52-47 home win Tuesday night over Class 1-A No. 4 Elkhart Christian.
“I think our players spirits were buoyed by the win Tuesday and we have some confidence back,” remarked Ogle. “We had two good days of practice Wednesday and Thursday.”
“I also appreciate the leadership we’ve gotten from seniors Stookey and Pearl. Both of them have improved too from last year. And Moses is just a great story.”
The Knights defeated Warsaw 77-63 last season behind star James Blackmon Jr. The younger Blackmon, who has committed to Indiana, is now playing his senior season at Marion for his father, former Marion and University of Kentucky star James Blackmon Sr.
Junior Peyton Long added seven points for Warsaw. Junior Cameron Hoskins had three points and sophomore Paul Marandet two to go with four assists.
Tyrell Johnson scored a game-high 22 points to lead Luers.
Warsaw won the junior varsity contest by a 44-23 final. Evan Schmidt led the Tigers with 12 points. Luke Wilson scored seven points and Riley Rhoades six.
Warsaw closes out regular season action at Fort Wayne Carroll Feb. 28. Luers hosts Guerin Catholic Tuesday.