MERRILLVILLE – A huge third quarter propelled host Merrillville past Warsaw in prep boys basketball play Saturday night.
The Pirates exploded for 24 points in the pivotal frame en route to topping the Tigers 62-48 inn the non-conference contest.
Merrillville led just 21-20 at halftime before outscoring Warsaw 24-14 in the third period to take control.
Zach Riley scored 16 points and had four rebounds to pace the Tigers, who were playing for the first time in nine days.
Brian Elliott netted 12 points and Jack Rhoades added five for Warsaw. Tyler Metzinger had five rebounds, while Riley and Elliott each had four. Junior Nolan Groninger, Warsaw’s top scorer, had two points to go with six assists.
Jaylen Reese and Blake Marsh each added four points for the Tigers and Trevor Rumple scored two.
Warsaw shot 19-44 overall from the field, including 3-13 from distance. The Tigers were 4-7 from the free throw line and had 15 turnovers.
Johnny Bernard canned 26 points to lead the way for the Pirates. He hit 10-14 from the line. Jaclyn Holmes added 14 points for the winners.
Merrillville shot 23-38 from the field, including a blistering 11-15 in the second half. The hosts were 3-13 from 3-point land and 13-24 from the charity stripe.
Warsaw, which has lost its last two games, falls to 10-9. The Pirates, who have won four in a row, improve to 14-7.
Merrillville won the junior varsity game 47-44 in overtime. Keagan Larsh had 16 points and Jayle nCoon 15 to lead Warsaw.
Warsaw will host Plymouth (12-6) Tuesday night in the final Northern Lakes Conference game. The contest was postponed Feb. 9 due to the weather. The Tigers and Pilgrims are each 4-2 in NLC play, tied with Elkhart Memorial and Northridge for first place. Memorial will play at NorthWood Monday night and Northridge hosts Concord Thursday night in other NLC finales.
Warsaw will finish out the regular season by hosting Carmel Feb. 17 and then playing at Carroll Feb. 23.
Merrillville plays at Michigan City Friday night.