LAGRANGE – First!
The young Wawasee girls basketball team continued its progression in the early stages of its season when it traveled to take on Lakeland Tuesday night. The Lady Warriors avenged a 2013 loss to the Lakers by claiming a 43-34 victory, the team’s first of the season.
“I really liked how the girls stuck with it tonight,” began Wawasee head coach Kem Zolman. “We definitely keep it interesting out on the court. When we get a lead, we don’t know how to control it but that’s because it’s really a whole new territory for us.”
It was Lakeland that held a slim 9-8 lead after the first quarter over Zolman’s squad. Neither team had any luck finding the basket in the first quarter as there were several long stints without either team scoring. Wawasee managed to corral its wild shooting in the second quarter and began to play with a little more consistency to grab a 17-15 lead at the half.
Some foul trouble and a few bad turnovers nearly gave all the momentum back to Lakeland in the third quarter, but the Lady Warriors were able to maintain a two-point, 27-25, lead heading into the fourth. The ability to stay mentally and physically focused after a stretch of bad basketball was something Zolman was glad to see from his young team.
“This team is more mentally tough then some other young team’s I’ve coached in the past,” Zolman said. “We’ve had teams here before that may have not been able to stay tough throughout that entire game like these girls did tonight.
“We still have a lot to work on. We had some bright spots out there but we are still progressing and some of the mistakes we made tonight are just part of that progression. We’ve really made some nice strides since our first game.”
Zolman’s teams are now an impressive 18-2 against Lakeland.
Leading the way offensively for Wawasee was Kylee Rostochak. The junior scored several timely baskets and really got the offense kick-started in the first half on her way to 13 points. Sophomore Hannah Haines added an additional eight points to help the cause while fellow sophomore Aubrey Schmeltz also scored eight points. Schmeltz also recorded a block on the defensive end of the court.
Lakeland was led by Abi Thompson. The 5’8″ senior led all scorers with 16 points.
Wawasee (1-2) will host South Bend Career Academy (0-2) this Friday night at the Hardwood Tee Pee. Wawasee defeated the Cobras 69-7 last season. Lakeland (1-2) will travel to Prairie Heights on Friday. The Wawasee arrangement Friday is varsity only and will start at 6:30 p.m.
In the junior varsity contest it was the Lady Warriors that were able to hold on for a 35-34 victory over the Lakers. Wawasee’s JV was led by freshman Aubrey Kuhn’s 10 points.