SYRACUSE – The wind outside Wawasee High School was howling Tuesday evening. The breeze felt in the Hardwood Teepee was Columbia City racing up and down the court in a 55-44 victory over Wawasee in girls buckets.
The Eagles took advantage of missed opportunities by the hosts in the second quarter to make enough separation. A pair of Wawasee turnovers led to two straight baskets by City and a 28-11 lead. Wawasee would close with the quarter’s final five points, and then rally all the way to trail by just seven in the third quarter, 34-27. City would then completely flip the script, going on a 13-3 run to end the third quarter.
Wawasee couldn’t capitalize in the first half, missing over a half dozen shots within five feet of the cup, and found its catalyst, Hannah Haines, on the bench with three fouls in the second quarter. Haines, the team’s second leading scorer at 9.0 points per night, finished with just four points.
Aubrey Schmeltz led the Lady Warriors with 13 points. Kabrea Rostochak doubled her average with 10 points.
Holly Martinez went 10-10 from the free throw line and finished with 16 points to lead City. Chelsea Pettigrew added 12 points. City as a team went 14-15 from the charity stripe.
“It’s a journey we are on this season, and it’s all about the process,” said Wawasee head coach Matt Carpenter. “We didn’t take care of what we can take care of tonight, and that was our togetherness, our energy and our passion. We didn’t seem to have that and we weren’t operating as a group in the first half tonight. That’s what I am disappointed about. That’s when we are good, when we have those things. I thought we were very outcome driven tonight. When our shots didn’t fall we started getting disappointed and we weren’t operating together anymore, we were trying to do a lot of one-on-one basketball. And that’s not who we are.”
Columbia City (6-14) rushed out to a 22-2 lead in the JV game and never looked back in a 41-19 final. Kiersten Beckner, Sara Pritchard and McKenzie Smith all scored four points for the Lady Warriors.
Wawasee, which had come into the night winners of four of its past five games, falls to 7-9 overall with a Saturday afternoon matchup next up against Elkhart Memorial.