SYRACUSE – Kyle Mangas is a man of few words.
The soft-spoken Warsaw hoops star sure let his game speak loud and clear though Friday night.
The Tiger senior added to his family’s memorable hoops moments in the Wawasee gym with his own special performance.
Mangas, whose parents Tim and Ann were both athletic standouts at Wawasee, poured in 26 points and dominated the game from the get go as the Tigers rolled past the Warriors 56-25 in the Northern Lakes Conference opener for both teams.
Warsaw, which beat Wawasee for the 10th straight time to take a 57-14 lead all-time in the spirited Kosciusko County rivalry, was lights out from the opening tip. The Tigers, who were coming off a tough 34-31 home loss to Lake Central last Friday, hit their first 11 shots of the contest.
Warsaw, which has now won 15 straight NLC games, improves to 5-2. The Warriors, who have now lost 36 in a row in league play, drop to 4-2.
Mangas, an Indiana All-Star candidate, simply dominated the game from start until he headed for the Tiger bench with four minutes to go in the blowout. The smooth 6-3 senior guard hit 9-11 shots from the field, including 2-3 from distance, and was 6-6 from the free throw line. The Indiana Wesleyan University recruit also had a team-high seven rebounds to go with two steals and a pair of assists.
Mangas, who now has 969 career points, was simply sensational. He scored 10 points in the opening quarter as Warsaw made all nine of its field goal attempts. The Tigers, who used pressure defense to force the hosts into six miscues in the first quarter, had the game in hand at 21-6 after the opening frame.
Mangas, who entered play Friday night averaging 21 points-per-game, was coming off a tough game in the loss to Lake Central in which he scored a season-low nine points on 4-13 shooting.
“The loss to Lake Central really refocused us and showed us that we needed to work on a lot of things,” said the always humble Mangas, who is now just 31 points away from becoming the 12th player in the tradition-rich history of Warsaw boys basketball to score 1,000 points. “We had a good week of practice coming into tonight. Everyone came out and played well for us. Our screening and shot selection was better and guys just played with a lot more confidence.”
Mangas admitted it was special to have such a big game on the court where his father Tim was a basketball standout for the Warriors and his mother Ann was a volleyball star and a member of the 1985 state runner-up basketball team. Tim scored 1,030 points on the hardwood for the Warriors. He also hit a game-winning shot his senior season in 1986 as Wawasee beat Warsaw 63-62.
“It means a lot to me to play well here with both of my parents being very successful when they were playing for Wawasee,” remarked Mangas. “I just wanted to come out tonight and focus a lot on defense and get us in transition and get some easy baskets. I’m most comfortable in the open court. I also wanted to ramp up the energy for us.”
Warsaw, which has went 7-0 in the NLC each of the past two seasons to win a pair of league titles, shot a sizzling 11-15 from the field in the opening half to lead 29-10 at intermission. Mangas had 15 points, while the Warriors were 3-11 from the field.
The Tigers, who beat Wawasee 79-34 last season, opened the final half with an 11-0 run to put the game on ice.
“We were humbled by the loss to Lake Central as a group and really had some good practices this week,” said Warsaw coach Doug Ogle. “I would have been pretty surprised if we did not play well tonight. We were more focused in practice and spent more time shooting and it was worth it. To start the game hitting our first 11 shots was helpful. In our two losses, bad shooting has been an issue for us.
“Kyle was back to his old self tonight. His Mom and Dad both played here at Wawasee and he was ready to play tonight and it makes a huge difference for us when he plays like this. He was a handful. He impacted the game in several ways. It was a heck of a game by him.
“We know that we have to play well in every conference game. Our goal is to win every NLC game again this season. But you have to get that first one first and that was what we wanted to do tonight. Play well tonight and we did that.”
Junior Trevon Coleman led the Warriors with 12 points.
“We got better tonight and I’m happy with our guys,” said first-year Wawasee coach Jon Everingham. “A game like this is only going to make us better and help in our development. It was a great atmosphere and one that Warsaw is accustomed to and our kids are not right now. But this will only help us. We will learn from this.
“We wanted to try and control the tempo. Warsaw was not going to sit back and let us do that. They came with the pressure early and we knew that they would. They have a great coach and a really good player (Mangas). We wanted to try and contain him. You are not going to stop a guy like that. He got more points in transition than we would have liked.”
Jeremy David scored six points and Ross Johnson, Jack Rhoades, Jaceb Burish and Braxton Minix each had four and Zach Riley, Aaron Sandoval, Jack Grose and Kyle Skeans two each for Warsaw.
Warsaw junior Asher Blum did not play. Ogle said that Blum is suspended for two games, including the Saturday night contest at Crown Point, due to a violation of the athletic code.
Tyler Smith finished with five points for Wawasee. Jairus Boyer and Bennett Hoffert each had three points and Jacob Hand two for the Warriors.
Warsaw, which went 25-2 last season, shot 22-37 overall from the field and 9-10 from the line. Wawasee, which finished 2-21 a year ago, finished 6-30 from the field and 11-17 at the line.
Warsaw won the junior varsity game 37-20. Nolan Groninger led the Tigers with 16 points. Austin Miller paced Wawasee with six points.
Warsaw plays at Crown Point Saturday night. The Tigers beat Crown Point 46-33 last season in a regional final contest. Wawasee plays at Columbia City Tuesday night. The Warriors will play their next five games and eight of the next nine on the road.