SYRACUSE – There was some vintage Northern Lakes Conference girls basketball on display Friday night at the Hardwood Teepee.
Seemingly every player hit the floor at least once in this physical game as Wawasee hosted rival Goshen for the conference opener. A sloppy second quarter from Wawasee allowed the Redskins to build up momentum and eventually claim a 45-36 victory over the Lady Warriors.
Wawasee played well to start the game, leading Goshen 10-5 after the first frame. But the Redskins made some changes and Wawasee’s offense went flat in the second quarter.
“Goshen did exactly what we saw in our scouting, and our girls handled it well. Then they made a change,” began Wawasee head coach Kem Zolman. “We were up 10-5, Goshen makes a change and that’s when our youth started to show. The change hurt us.
“We got caught with the trap, we couldn’t get our offense going and then in the third quarter Goshen changed again and went to a box-and-one. Now they’re in another change that our girls have never seen and it took us several possessions before we finally figured out what to do with that.”
The second quarter change did wonders for Goshen as Wawasee only scored two points in the frame, both on free throws from Kylee Rostochak. As Zolman said, the offensive struggles continued for his team to start the third quarter. Eventually Rostochak took matters into her own hands and scored seven unanswered points to bring her team within nine points, 30-21, at the end of the third.
Wawasee could never get close enough to take the lead back from Goshen in the fourth quarter, but it was not from a lack of effort. Zolman played 11 of his 12 players in the final quarter alone, all of which had at least one shot attempt. The Lady Warriors won the battle on the boards, 34-25, but were not able to capitalize on having 16 offensive rebounds. Goshen scored 22 second-chance points to Wawasee’s 10.
One offensive bright spot that Wawasee had in the paint Friday night was Katlyn Kennedy. The junior had perhaps her best game for the Lady Warriors as she was aggressive and assertive under the basket, scoring nine points and grabbing six rebounds, tying for the team lead. Aubrey Schmeltz and Seaquinn Bright also pulled down six boards.
“Katlyn Kennedy really stepped up for us tonight,” said Zolman with a smile. “To see her have a game like this is really good, it’s good for us. I’m really happy for her and hopefully we can catapult from here.”
Zolman also mentioned the tenacity and on-court importance of his two leaders, Elizabeth Jackson and Kylee Rostochak. Rostochak would finish her night leading all scorers with 18 points.
Goshen was led by Aylissa Trosper who accounted for 16 points. Olivia Love was a force inside for the Redskins, scoring 12 points and pulling down a game-high nine boards.
Wawasee (3-6, 0-1) will travel to South Bend Adams Saturday afternoon for a 2 p.m. tip and will resume conference play next Saturday evening at Warsaw. Goshen (5-3, 1-0) will host South Bend St. Joe on Saturday with varsity tip slated for 7:45 p.m.
The Goshen junior varsity team pulled out a thrilling victory over Wawasee in overtime to start the night. After Kayla White gave Wawasee a 23-21 lead with just over a minute to play, both teams exchanged missed shots before Lineth Alvarez drained a buzzer-beating three to claim a 24-23 win for Goshen. The three was the first of Alvarez’s career.