SYRACUSE – The scenario was all set up Saturday night. The execution, however, took much longer to develop the overriding storyline.
There wasn’t a masterful, overwhelming performance from Lenny Krebs’ Warsaw girls basketball club. And there wasn’t the underdog response from Wawasee’s Matt Carpenter and his team. In a 43-33 Warsaw win, it was more a matter of who would take advantage of the other’s mistakes.
Krebs, who coached at Goshen High School 14 years, had Carpenter on staff for 10 of those years. In what could have been a juicy chess match between a pensive rivalry made more interesting given what happened in the boys game just a night before, it became more of what button could each coach push to get his kids to make a play.
Krebs found a few more buttons.
“No one wants to go on the road in a conference game and not put points on the board early,” Krebs said. “In that first quarter we didn’t put points on the board the way we should have. We were timid and playing a little bit scared. We were playing back on our heels early. Wawasee came out and were the aggressors early on. Fortunately for us, they didn’t hit more shots.”
A lackluster first quarter saw the game at just 4-4, Warsaw not scoring until 1:44 left in the quarter. Kaylee Patton finally gave the Warsaw faithful something to get excited about it nearing the end of the half. A Patton bucket followed by a Wawasee turnover had Warsaw looking primed to make a move. Patton found some space on the wing and sent a three flying. The make gave Warsaw a 15-6 lead, the largest margin of the game, and just before the half, Patton used a nice look inside to hit Kacy Bragg for a bunny, putting Warsaw up 17-6.
Lost in the translation was a myriad of Wawasee turnovers, to which Carpenter cited as his club’s ultimate downfall.
“There was a four-minute stretch to end the first half where we turn the ball over,” said Carpenter, whose team committed 21 turnovers, 10 alone in the second quarter. Warsaw would score 20 points off Wawasee’s giveaways. “They specifically got 10 or 11 points from the last four or five turnovers. That’s the basketball game. And what I can’t get the girls to understand is that we can’t afford to give away those possessions.”
Wawasee would chip away at the lead, eventually creeping within six, but Maddie Ryman popped a three to push Warsaw’s lead back up to nine, essentially making the outcome elementary.
“Anytime you hold a team to 33, you have to be happy,” Krebs said. “I think we’ll go back and watch this film and we’ll see a lot of room for improvement, just in how we play defensively.”
Patton would lead Warsaw with 14 points, five steals and four assists, doing much of the dirty work when not going 5-6 from the floor. Ryman and Bragg each finished with eight points and Halle Shipp had a sneaky nine points, scoring four big points in the second quarter surge.
Casey Schroeder did her best to keep Wawasee afloat, scoring 14 points as well as collecting a pair of elbows to the nose, in both cases sending the junior to the trainer’s corner to get attention. Hannah Lancaster added a career-high seven points.
“The girl is tough,” Carpenter said of Schroeder, lending a nod to his roster as a whole. “We’re not as imposing on people, but we hear ‘they play really hard, and they’re really scrappy.’ We take that as a compliment. I know they are battle tested, and will run through a brick wall for the coaching staff and each other. Casey is one of those players. She’s really figuring it out and coming into her own.”
The JV game was controlled by Warsaw in a 34-13 count. Audrey Grimm led the Lady Tigers with 10 points and Brooklyn Fitzgerald had eight points. Madison Mottern had six points and five rebounds for Wawasee.
Warsaw (8-3, 1-0 NLC) will meet Triton Tuesday at the Tiger Den while Wawasee (6-6, 0-3 NLC) will host Central Noble on Friday.