WARSAW – The Warsaw boys basketball team was looking for a big win to send its seniors out in style Saturday night in the home finale.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, John Michael Mulloy had other ideas.
A big performance by the Carmel big man powered the Class 4-A No. 13 Greyhounds past Warsaw 53-44 in the Tiger Den.
Mulloy, a 6-10 junior, poured in 23 points and hauled down 14 rebounds as Carmel held off a Tiger rally late to earn the victory.
The Greyhounds, who were coming off a heartbreaking 66-65 loss at Class 4-A No. 1 and undefeated Warren Central Friday night, improve to 14-7.
Sophomore Brian Elliott netted 15 points and junior Nolan Groninger added 11 to pace Warsaw, which drops to 11-10.
Mulloy, who has committed to Butler, hit 15-16 free throws in the win. Carmel was 17-20 from the line, while Warsaw was just 7-10. Mulloy’s 14 rebounds lead his team to a dominating 30-15 advantage on the glass and a 9-0 scoring edge in second-chance points.
The Tigers battled to the final horn, but simply could not overcome the combination of Mulloy and a poor rebounding effort.
“Mulloy was the difference in the game,” said Warsaw coach Doug Ogle. “He is bigger and stronger than anyone we have and tonight he was also more physical and aggressive than we were. He was the best player on the floor and the big difference in the game tonight.
“It’s a quandary on what to do defensively with Carmel. In their last three games prior to tonight they were 21-39 as a team from 3-point range. We were hoping that Mulloy was not as sharp as he was tonight.
“We rebounded so poorly tonight and still got back in the game in spite of that. That is the somewhat encouraging thing for us. But it points out our lacking a level in terms of physical toughness. We have make strides in terms of our physical play if we want to compete for a sectional championship.
“It came down to our rebounding, or lack of it, and a lack of a physical presence on Mulloy tonight.”
The Tigers, who drop to 0-4 all-time versus the Greyhounds, outplayed Carmel the final three quarters. But it was a strong start that put the hosts in a hole that they could never quite climb out of.
The Greyhounds, who never trailed, raced to an 18-7 lead after the opening period to take control. Mulloy scored 10 points in the first frame, including all eight of his team’s tallies in an 8-0 run that turned the game’s only tie at 5-5 into a 13-5 lead for Carmel. Mulloy hit six free throws in the first quarter, including one to complete a three-point play after a monster dunk midway through the stanza.
Carmel, which had won the previous three games over Warsaw by a total of 10 points, took a 29-17 halftime lead. Mulloy had 14 points as the Greyhounds were 9-16 from the field and 8-9 from the line in the opening half. Warsaw shot just 7-19 from the field and 2-2 from the line in the first 16 minutes.
The Tigers showed their mettle in the second half. Warsaw opened the third period with a 6-0 run to get within 29-23. Karsten Windlan then hit a huge 3-pointer for Carmel’s first points of the half with4:29 to play. The Greyhounds led 37-30 at the end of the third period.
Carmel bumped its lead to a dozen with the first five points of the fourth quarter to make it 42-30. The Tigers rallied as Elliott got going. His trey with 3:02 to play got the hosts within 44-38. But Warsaw could not get over the hump. Andrew Owens had a big offensive rebound bucket to push the lead back to 46-38, Groninger missed a breakaway layup with his team down 46-41 with just over two minutes left and Jack Rhoades missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 1:46 left.
“We talked before the game that we really needed to get off to a good start tonight,” said first-year Carmel coach Ryan Osborn. “We were ready that first 3-4 minutes. Our guys were a little tired, but they battled and we got a win on the road against a good team. I’m happy with that.
“We had some mismatches down low and wanted to get the ball to John early. He was very efficient early and made his free throws. Our first emphasis is to get John the ball and see how teams are going to defend him and us. We have guys who can shoot the three if they double him.
“We were down and disappointed last night (Friday) after the loss to Warren Central. But I was proud of our effort and the way that we competed. We put ourselves in position to win that game.”
Carmel led Warren Central by five points with a minute to play Friday night in a contest for the conference championship. The hosts hit a shot with just two seconds to play to down the Greyhounds.
Osborn is in his first season in charge of the Greyhounds after spending the previous six as an assistant coach. He replaced Scott Heady when he left to take the coaching job at Marian University. The Greyhounds won back-to-back Class 4-A state titles in 2012 and 2013 under Heady.
Mulloy was the lone player in double figures for Carmel. The smooth southpaw, who had a team-high 15 points Friday night in the loss at Warren Central, committed to Butler back in September. He averaged nine points and eight rebounds per game his sophomore season.
The Greyhounds shot 15-33 for the game, including 6-18 from distance.
Tyler Metzinger had six points, while Jaylen Reese and Dane Stookey each had three for Warsaw. Rhoades s finished with two points. The Tigers shot 16-38 from the field, including 5-11 from deep and were 7-9 from the line.
Warsaw honored seniors Zach Riley, Dane Stookey, Deondre Adkins, Jack Rhoades, Nick Marsh and Jack Grose prior to the game. Stookey, Adkins, Rhoades, Marsh and Grose got the start and played well the first 3:21 of the game before Ogle put in his normal starting lineup of Groninger, Elliott, Riley, Metzinger and Reese.
Warsaw won the junior varsity game 52-43. Keagan Larsh scored 16 points an Wyatt Amiss 15 for the JV Tigers, who are now 12-7. Jackson Jannsen led Carmel with 19 points.
Warsaw closes out the regular season at Carroll Friday night. The Tigers will then play in the Class 4-A Elkhart Sectional the week of Feb. 26. The sectional draw will be held by the IHSAA today (Sunday) starting at 5 p.m.
Carmel hosts Indianapolis Tech Tuesday night.