MISHAWAKA – His confidence never wavered.
His focus never flinched.
Kyle Mangas simply did what he does best Tuesday night.
Deliver with the game on the line.
The Warsaw star was clutch when it mattered most to pace the Tigers to a tough 47-45 non-conference win at Mishawaka Marian.
Mangas hit a pair of free throws with 4.6 seconds to play to give his team a 47-42 lead and seal the win. The final outcome came as Michael Hemingway hit a trey at the final horn.
A determined Mangas delivered as he has done time and time again the past two seasons of a brilliant prep career. The 6-3 senior guard displayed his mental toughness for all to see as he hit both of his clinching free throws after missing the front end of a one-and-one with 30.2 seconds to play and his team up 45-40.
Mangas, who poured in a team-high 23 points, made his clutch tosses after grabbing a defensive rebound after a missed trey try by Marian’s Zach Lattimer. He also made the pivotal throws after having his shot blocked off his nose on a drive to the basket with 26.7 seconds left on a play with a ton of contact but a no-call by the official.
“I wanted to get back to the line,” said the always cool and composed Mangas, who entered play Tuesday night shooting 86 percent from the charity stripe. “I have a lot of confidence from the line and I knew that I would make them. I wanted to make them bad. That’s why I was crashing the defensive rebound at the other end so hard. I wanted to be back there.”
The fearlessness of Mangas and the ferociousness of his team on the glass were the reasons why coach Doug Ogle’s team won its fourth straight game and its third road game in the last five days.
It was all about guts and toughness, both physical and mental, for Warsaw on this evening.
The Tigers out rebounded the hosts 35-18 overall, including 15-5 on the offensive boards. Warsaw had a 12-0 edge in second-chance points, thanks to a great effort by the duo of Jeremy David and Mangas. The well-chiseled David grabbed 10 caroms and Mangas eight.
“We won tonight with our rebounding and with Kyle’s effort,” said Ogle, whose team is now 10-4. “We rebounded big time tonight. A 12-0 edge in second-chance points. Enough said. Our guys were determined. Rebounding is all effort and focus. Tonight shows how important rebounding is.
“Kyle was definitely our leader tonight. I’m sure that he was ticked about not getting a foul called on that drive to the basket late in the game. He was just determined to make those final two free throws. He’s too clutch to miss again.”
Warsaw led 39-30, its largest lead of the game, entering the final quarter. Mangas drilled a 3-pointer to end the third period to give his team the margin. Marian rallied in the final frame as Zach Lattimer scored nine of his 23 points for the Knights, who lost 47-38 to Warsaw in overtime last season.
“We had enough of a margin to withstand their late run,” noted Ogle. “We did not do a good job guarding Lattimer. It was inexcusable the times that we left him open to catch and shoot from three. We also rushed too much and were not patient on offense. You can’t turn the ball over 12 times like we did tonight.”
Mangas, who is averaging 21 points-per-game, set the tone early with nine points on a trio of triples in the opening frame. The Tigers led 13-9 after the opening period and 24-21 at halftime. Marian, which falls to 6-7, had its only lead of the night at 21-20 midway through the second stanza. Mangas scored eight points in the third quarter as Warsaw outscored the hosts 15-9.
The Tigers have now won four in a row since losing two games in the Hall of Fame Classic in late December.
“We had those two tough losses a couple of weeks ago, but I think those helped us,” remarked Mangas. “Things are coming together for us now. We’ve got a lot of guys stepping up for us and making plays.”
Mangas hit 8-14 shots from the field, including 5-7 from distance, in the win. He now has 1,115 career points.
Senior Braxton Minix gave his team a big lift with seven key points off the bench for the Tigers. David had six points, while sophomore Nolan Groninger had five, senior Jaceb Burish four and junior Asher Blum two. Junior Zach Riley led the Tigers with four assists.
Junior guard Lattimer hit 6-11 shots, including 4-9 from deep, and went 7-7 from the line to lead Marian. Lattimer was averaging 13 points-per-game for the Knights. Sophomore Coley Quinn had 11 points and junior Hemingway, the team’s top scorer on the season at 17 ppg,, 10 for coach Robb Berger’s team.
Warsaw shot 19-44 overall from the field, including 6-10 from deep. The Tigers were just 3-8 from the line and had 13 turnovers.
Marian finished 14-38 overall from the field, including 6-15 from 3-point land. The Knights, who had won three of their last four games prior to Tuesday night, were 11-14 from the line and had just six turnovers.
Warsaw won the junior varsity contest 38-29. Jaylen Reese scored 13 points and Landen Ferber 11 to pace the Tigers. Jade Ivey had 16 points to lead Marian.
Warsaw hosts Concord (5-7) Friday night in a Northern Lakes Conference game. The Tigers are 3-0 in league play this season and have won 17 straight NLC contests. Warsaw then plays at Crown Point (11-2) Saturday night in a makeup contest. Marian plays at Michigan City Marquette on Thursday night.