WARSAW – Kacy Bragg spent the fall sports campaign setting and spiking her way to another outstanding season on the volleyball court.
The Warsaw two-sport standout, now getting her basketball legs, is helping her team on the hardwood get a leg up on the competition early on in the winter sports season.
Bragg turned in a fine effort Wednesday night to pace a second-half surge as Warsaw topped Wabash 49-39 in a non-conference game in the Tiger Den.
Bragg, an athletic and strong 5-9 junior, tied for game-high honors with a career-high 16 points as the hosts won their third straight game. The forward hit 6-10 shots from the field and also had a team-high nine rebounds.
Warsaw, which improves to 3-1, used a big third quarter performance sparked by its work on the defensive end to top the Apaches for the third straight year.
The Tigers, who trailed by as many as 10 points in the opening half, turned up the defensive pressure on Wabash. The hosts closed the third quarter with a 13-2 run to help turn a two-point halftime deficit into a six-point lead. Warsaw outscored the Apaches 17-9 in the pivotal frame by forcing 13 turnovers in the quarter.
“That’s what we want to be able to do,” said first-year Warsaw coach Lenny Krebs of the switch to a fullcourt pressure defense in the third period. “We want to be able to switch things up and find out how to attack your weakness. I thought in the first half that we were too passive on the defensive end and we changed that by going to pressure.
“We say that defensive intensity leads to offensive confidence and you saw that with us tonight. When you hit shots like we did in the second half things are easy. We want to control our field goal percentage with the type of shots we get. We got good shots in the second half with good ball and good people movement on offense.”
The Tigers cashed in on the Wabash miscues. The hosts netted 29 points off Wabash turnovers en route to the win.
Warsaw trailed 10-8 after the opening stanza and were down 20-10 midway through the second period. The Tigers used a 10-2 run to close the half to pull within 22-20 at intermission despite 13 first-half turnovers.
“The first thing that we said at halftime to the girls was do you understand how fortunate we are that we are only down two points,” commented Krebs. “We should have been down 15. We have to eliminate the careless mistakes. We did not prepare well yesterday (Tuesday) for tonight’s game. We have to do a better job preparing and showing our opponents the respect that they deserve.”
The guard duo of junior Halie Shipp and senior Kennedy Patton gave Warsaw a huge lift at the end of the third quarter. Shipp drained a trey to give her team a 33-31 lead and Patton closed the stanza by rattling in a huge trey of her own at the final horn to make it 37-31. Bragg scored five of her points in the key quarter to spark her team.
Wabash, which drops to 2-2, could get no closer than seven points in the fourth quarter. Junior guard Maddie Ryman scored six of her eight points in the final frame for the Tigers.
Bragg, who was the top scorer returning this season after Warsaw graduated six seniors, is improving each game. The junior, who hits a volleyball lefty but shoots a basketball right-handed, is leading her team in scoring now at 11.3 points-per-game. Bragg, who has scored in double figures in the last three games, averaged 4.6 ppg. as a sophomore.
Bragg, who had 10 points Friday night in a 55-48 win at Huntington North, is also her team’s top rebounder through the first four games with 20 caroms.
“Kacy just continues to improve,” said Krebs. “She really had a nice game tonight. She hit some big shots for us.”
“What I take from this is that we have some grit and determination.”
Shipp and Kaylee Patton each had seven points for Warsaw. Brielle Harrison and Emma Bohnenkamper each scored four points and Kennedy Patton three.
The Tigers hit 10-16 from the free throw line, led by a 4-4 effort by Ryman. Warsaw had 22 turnovers in the contest. The hosts were 10-22 from the field in the second half in outscoring Wabash by a 29-17 margin.
Warsaw has now won 16 straight games on their homecourt. The last loss was to conference foe Northridge by a 46-25 final in January of 2016.
Sophomore Carmen Higdon led Wabash with 16 points. Bailey Yoakum, one of three seniors, finished with 14 points for the Apaches.
Wabash, which lost 52-28 to Warsaw last season, hit just 9-21 from the line and finished with 23 turnovers.
The Apaches, who finished 14-11 overall and 5-4 in the Three Rivers Conference last season, have lost two in a row.
Warsaw won the junior varsity game by a 32-14 count. Kensie Ryman had 12 points and Madelyn Smith nine to lead coach Jack Beer’s JV Tigers, who are now 4-0. Isabella Davis led Wabash with four points.
The Warsaw freshman team lost to Homestead 31-13 at home. Sydney Lancaster scored six points and Lindsey Bradley had five to lead the frosh Tigers.
Warsaw plays at Tippecanoe Valley (3-0) Friday night and then hosts Penn (3-0) Tuesday evening. The Vikings are ranked No. 3 in Class 3-A, while Penn is No. 10 in the latest Class 4-A poll.
Wabash hosts Southern Wells (3-2) Saturday night.