FORT WAYNE – The Warsaw boys basketball team just could not overcome a slow start Friday night.
The Tigers, despite a second-half rally, closed out the regular season with a 44-40 loss at Fort Wayne Carroll.
Warsaw wraps up the regular-season campaign at 11-9. The host Chargers improve to 14-8.
The Tigers face Goshen (11-9) Tuesday night at approximately 7:30 p.m. in an opening round game of the Class 4-A Elkhart Central Sectional at North Side Gym. Warsaw defeated the Redskins 48-41 in a Northern Lakes Conference game at Warsaw back on Jan. 17. Goshen closed out its regular season with a 75-65 win at West Noble Friday night.
Carroll raced to a 10-2 lead to open the contest Friday night. The hosts led 10-7 a the end of the opening period and had a 23-11 edge at halftime. Warsaw shot just 4-10 from the field in the opening half.
The Tigers, who had won two in a row prior to Friday night, closed the gap to 31-26 by outscoring Carroll 15-8 in the third quarter. Warsaw got within 40-34 with just over a minute left in the game, but the Chargers held on for the win.
“We just dug ourselves too big a hole,” said Warsaw coach Doug Ogle. “Carroll’s defensive pressure was better than our ball handling early. We only had 10 shots in the first half because we had nine turnovers. I thought we were fortunate to be down 12 at halftime.
“We played much better in the second half. I was encouraged by how we played in the second half.”
“Carroll is a hand full. They are physical and athletic and have a pair of Division I players. Not having Nate Pearl tonight was a factor for us too in terms of handing the basketball.”
Jake Mangas led the way for Warsaw. The junior hit 6-8 shots from the field in scoring a team-high 15 points.
Senior Jordan Stookey had 12 point for the Tigers. Paul Marandet and Mose Marandet each netted four points, while Tim Swanson had three and Riley Rhoades two for the Tigers.
Senior Nate Pearl, normally one of the starting guards for the Tigers, did not play Friday night due to an illness.
Warsaw finished the game 14-29 overall from the field, including 2-5 on 3-pointers. The Tigers were 10-13 from the free throw line and had 12 turnovers in the contest.
Jeremy Kalonji led a balanced Carroll offense with 13 points. Jake Graham and Kyle Mallers each scored eight points for the Chargers, who had lost their last two games entering play Friday night.
Carroll shot 14-32 from the field, including only 4-18 on threes, and hit 12-15 free throws. The Chargers only committed six turnovers in the game.
The host Chargers won the junior varsity contest by a 44-30 final. Evan Schmidt scored 14 points and Luke Wilson had seven to lead Warsaw.
Carroll will face either DeKalb or Fort Wayne Northrop in a semifinal game of the Class 4-A East Noble Sectional on Friday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m.