WARSAW – Doug Ogle is a basketball coach who also loves the game of football.
He knows that one of the skills highly-valued in both sports will be a big key come Saturday as his Tigers take part in the semistate.
“We have to complete passes on Saturday,” said Ogle. “That, being strong with the basketball and not turning the ball over will be the big keys for us.”
The No. 5 Tigers, boasting a 25-1 mark, will face No. 4 McCutcheon (27-3) in the Class 4-A North Semistate at Lafayette Jefferson High School at 6:45 p.m. The 4-A game will follow the 3-A game between Griffith and Marion, which will tip-off at 4 p.m. Doors will open Saturday at 3 p.m.
Ogle, who played quarterback in high school and also coached football when he came to Warsaw three decades ago, knows his team has to take care of the basketball versus the Mavericks.
“McCutcheon is quick, athletic and the score a lot off turnovers,” noted Ogle. “Their pressure has made other teams look really bad this season. We have to take care of the ball and stay poised, while also being aggressive offensively against their zone.”
The Warsaw defense, which is the bread-and-butter of this group and ranks second in the state by allowing just 39.5 points-per-game, will face another test Saturday. McCutcheon averages 73 points-per-game with an average winning margin of 23 points-per-game. The Mavericks are led by sensational sophomore guard Robert Phinisee. The 6-0 star averages 19.3 points and 6.4 assists per game.
“Phinisee is very good, probably the best player that we’ve faced this season,” Ogle said. “I can see why Purdue and Indiana have already offered him scholarships. He took over versus Carmel in the regional semifinals. We will need to have Paul (Marandet) control him. That will have a lot to do with how we do on Saturday.”
“I think that we are a better than the teams that they have scored a lot of points on. I expect to see a game probably in the 50s. We just have to limit our turnovers and I think that with Paul and Kyle (Mangas) we have a chance to do that.”
The Mavericks defeated Carmel in overtime 56-54 and Homestead 85-66 to win the Logansport Regional title last weekend. McCutcheon has lost to Lafayette Jefferson (57-56), Lawrence Central (57-55) and Danville (60-57) this season and have played three games in the Crawley Center at Jefferson this season. Coach Rick Peckinpaugh is 453-265 in his 31st season at McCutcheon.
McCutcheon, like South Bend Riley who Warsaw beat 79-74 in double overtime in the regional semifinals, loves to shoot the 3-ball. The Mavericks are 244-649 from distance and also 359-499 from the free throw line on the year.
The Mavericks, who are in the semistate for the first time since 2001 and have never won a semistate title, also count heavily on 6-4 junior forward Haden Deaton (15.3), 6-5 senior guard Darnell Butler (13.8) and 5-10 junior guard Eddy Collins (11.4). Collins leads the team with 78 treys, while Deaton has 52, Phinisee 46 and Butler 37.
Warsaw, who is 15-0 on the road this year, is led by its stellar backcourt of junior Kyle Mangas and senior Paul Marandet. Mangas averages 19.4 points-per-game and leads his team with 42 treys. Marandet averages 13.3 per game and has 102 assists. Junior Jeremy David (4.4), along with seniors Riley Rhoades (4.1) and Evan Schmidt (3.8) complete the starting lineup for Warsaw. The Tigers are 89-226 on 3-pointers and 375-502 from the line. They average just 7.9 turnovers per game and outrebound their opponents by 6.5 caroms per contest.
Marandet, coming off a monster regional performance in which he scored 55 points in the two wins and hit 28-29 free throws, is looking forward to the challenge. The strong 6-0 guard, known for his defensive prowess, relishes the opportunity to matchup with Phinisee.
“My mindset is the same this week,” said Marandet after practice Tuesday. “Focused and locked in. This means a lot to me. I look forward to the challenge that I have. The matchup with Phinisee is exciting to me. I can’t wait.”
The winner of the Warsaw-McCutcheon game will play either No. 9 Southport (22-6) or No. 1 New Albany (25-1) in the Class 4-A state championship game on March 26 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.