SYRACUSE — Blood is thicker than water but basketball, as it turns out, is thicker than blood. Friday night’s girls basketball game between Goshen and Wawasee ran deep with family and personal ties between the two coaching staffs, making a nice storyline for what proved to be a lopsided game.
Wawasee controlled things from start to finish against the visiting RedHawks, giving first-year head coach Matt Carpenter a 56-34 win over his alma mater and former coaching family.
“I don’t want to make this about me, this is about our team,” said Carpenter, who served as an assistant in Goshen’s program for the past 10 seasons. “I’m prouder than heck of these girls. We’ve been getting better these past couple of weeks and we showed it tonight. That’s what was great to see.
“This wasn’t one person or two people, it was everybody executing a game plan defensively, to start, knowing their personnel, making it difficult for them (Goshen) to score. That defensive intensity led to our offensive execution.”
Wawasee raced out to an early lead in the first quarter, thanks to a pair of threes from Kabrea Rostochak. The Lady Warriors built up a 15-2 lead before Goshen got its first field goal on the game, a two-pointer from Maggie Gallagher with 1:40 to play in the opening frame. The Warriors led 15-4 after one and would go on to hit eight threes in the first half to lead 34-10 at the break.
Rostochak hit the team’s first three, a shot that proved to be a energizing force for Wawasee on offense. The Warriors hit 10 trifectas in total during the contest. Rostochak would finish her night leading all scorers with 15 points. In the preseason Carpenter talked about Rostochak’s raw shooting talent, Friday appeared to be a coming out party for the junior.
“I’m prouder than heck of Kabrea right now,” Carpenter remarked. “She’s been struggling a little bit, I think, trying to find her role. With a new staff, new program, new offense, it makes sense. Trying to figure out where she should play, inside, outside. We’ve been having conversations with her, telling her to shoot the ball when she gets her feet set. When she knocked down that first shot, that got the team going. That’s what’s exciting to see, they fed off of the energy from each other.”
Wawase hit five threes in the second quarter alone, three of which came from Hannah Haines, who continues to have a solid senior campaign. Haines finished with 11 points on the night. Aubrey Kuhn also had double figures for Wawasee with 12 points. Eight Warriors scored in total, five of those eight hit at least one shot from behind the arc. It was one of those nights where everything came together for the Warriors at both ends of the court to help them grab their first win over Goshen since 2010.
It was a sweet victory for Wawasee’s coaching staff and bitter defeat for Goshen’s as the ties between the two go much deeper than Carpenter’s resumé.
Sisters Tracy and Kim Swain coach for the two Northern Lakes Conference programs, Tracy serves as the varsity assistant for Wawasee while Kim holds the same position for Goshen.
Long-time Goshen assistant and Wawasee graduate Jack Beer serves as Goshen’s JV coach. Beer started his Friday night by coaching against his son, Wawasee JV coach Trent Beer, and daughter, Wawasee JV assistant Carly Everingham. The kids got the best of their old man with a narrow 38-35 victory to move to 8-1 on the season.
Wawasee’s varsity snapped its four-game losing skid with the win to improve to 4-7 overall and 1-1 in the NLC. The Lady Warriors host Bethany Christian Tuesday night and will play Warsaw at Knightstown next Saturday.