COLUMBIA CITY – After dropping a home game to rival Warsaw Friday night, the Wawasee basketball team returned to action for its final contest of the calendar year against Columbia City. The result was not quite the response that Wawasee was hoping for.
The Eagles used their size advantage and successful shooting to claim a 55-38 victory over the Warriors Tuesday evening at Donald S. Weeks Gymnasium.
The final score was from indicative of the all-around performance be the Warriors, however. Despite facing an Eagle lineup that features three players 6’5″ or taller, Wawasee did not find itself in a huge hole when it came to rebounds after the final buzzer. City only won the battle on the boards 29-21. Though 22 of those rebounds were on the defensive end of the court for the Eagles, and that is where Wawasee struggled with its opponent the most.
Wawasee held its own defensively, something that has become a norm for the team. When possession changed, the Eagles returned the favor with stout defense of its own. The Warriors found themselves in a funk offensively for the second consecutive game, shooting just 34-percent from the field.
The biggest issue for Wawasee was digging itself out of a while after the first quarter. The Warriors were down 15-4 after the opening frame and never found a way to fully overcome the deficit.
“I thought our kids came out on offense a little intimidated and a little scared to attack,” began Wawasee head coach Steve Wiktorowski. “We settled down after that initial start and really had contributions from a lot of people tonight.”
Wiktorowski was right about that. Despite the slow start, Wawasee was only otuscored 40-34 throughout the rest of the game. As mentioned by the coach, there was no lack of contribution from the entire roster. Nine of the 11 players that saw time Tuesday scored two or more points. The issue was, no player scored more than seven points.
Aaron Voirol led the team with seven points while Alex Clark had six before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter. Clark also tied for the team lead in rebounds with four. Jayce Boatwright also had four boards and five points for the Warriors.
Though officiating was not to blame for the loss Wawasee took, the Warriors had several questionable calls go against them throughout the game. The biggest toll it took on the visiting team was opportunities at the charity stripe. The Eagles made more free throw attempts (14) than Wawasee even attempted (seven).
The final straw for Wawasee came in fourth quarter. After working the Eagles down a 39-30 score, Wawasee went cold as City went on a 12-0 run to take the Warriors out of it for good.
Wawasee will take the remaineder of the week off to rest and spend time with family, but after the break it’s back to business for Wawasee.
“We have to work on making senior decisions,” Wiktorowski stated. “We talked about that before tonight. We have a lot of seniors and we haven’t always been great at making senior decisions with the basketball, especially against pressure. Just focusing on making those decisions and playing like seniors will be a key for us over break.”
Wawasee (5-3) will travel to DeKalb on January 6, 2015 for their next game. It will be the first meeting between the two schools since 2010.
Wawasee lost the junior varsity game 53-43 to Columbia City. Aaron Beer led Wawasee with 15 points.