CARMEL – Close losses to power Carmel are becoming a common theme for the Warsaw boys basketball program.
That tough trend continued again Saturday night.
The host Greyhounds hit a pair of free throws to post a 54-52 win over the Tigers in the Eric Clark Center.
Carmel, ranked No. 10 in Class 4-A, hit the two deciding tosses after Warsaw called a timeout that they did not have and were charged with a technical foul.
The Greyhounds won at Warsaw last year 36-33, handing the Tigers’ their lone loss of the regular season. Warsaw lost 45-40 at Carmel two years ago.
Carmel, which improves to 17-4, led 38-33 entering the final period of play Saturday night. Warsaw star Kyle Mangas rallied his team to a 49-45 lead with 1:38 to play before the Greyhounds stormed back to take a 52-49 lead. Jack Rhoades then hit a clutch 3-pointer for the Tigers to tie the game at 52-52 with 13 seconds to play.
“We are disappointed we were not able to close this game out after building a six-point lead late,” said Warsaw coach Doug Ogle via text message. “Both our offense and defense failed several times in the last three minutes and that was the difference.
“We did a lot of good things in the game and Carmel is really good, but this game shows us that we have to continue to try and shore some things up. These losses are keeping us humble and forcing us to remain focused on improvement. Our goal of winning the sectional is still intact.”
Warsaw led 14-12 after the opening quarter and the game was tied at 26-26 at halftime. Mangas scored 13 of his game-high 26 points in the opening half. He scored 11 in the final period.
Mangas, who notched his 13th straight game of 20 or more points, was 9-16 from the field (2-4 on threes) and 6-6 from the free throw line. He also had five rebounds.
The Tigers shot 18-34 overall from the field, including 5-9 from distance. Warsaw was 11-12 from the line and had 12 turnovers.
Warsaw was done in by the free throw line and the three-point line. Carmel outscored the Tigers 20-11 from the line and 24-15 from distance. Carmel hit 13-31 field goals, including 8-17 from deep. The hosts were 20-29 from the line in the contest.
Carmel, which has won four in a row, was coming off a 70-68 overtime win at home over Warren Central Friday night. Warsaw had not played since a 53-48 home loss to Merrillville last Saturday.
Nolan Groninger scored seven points and Jeremy David and Rhoades each had six for the Tigers. Asher Blum scored four points, while Braxton Minix had two and Jaceb Burish one.
Sterling Brown led the way for Carmel with 21 points. The senior guard scored 13 on those in the final quarter.
Carmel won the junior varsity game 53-32. Landen Ferber and Tyler Metzinger each scored 12 points to lead the Warsaw effort.
Warsaw, which falls to 14-8 with its second straight loss, will host Carroll Friday night in the regular-season finale. Carroll improved to 11-9 with a 79-76 win over North Central Saturday night. Carroll lost 70-65 to Carmel on Feb. 11 at Carroll.
The Tigers will honor their eight seniors on Friday night. Carmel plays at Indianapolis Tech Tuesday night.