SYRACUSE – The eye test would state that Wawasee is close. But the trends are starting to show for the boys basketball program after another missed opportunity Saturday night.
Wawasee had West Noble in its sights, but managed to lose track of the Chargers twice late to fall short, 50-48, at the Hardwood Teepee.
“We just lost our defensive assignments that on about five or six possessions that cost us the game,” said Wawasee head coach Jon Everingham. “Even after all that, we’re right there. But again, it’s like a broken record. We’re right there with the ball and a chance to really take the lead and take command and we can’t knock down a shot.”
Losing track of shooters is what did Wawasee in, both early in the game, and late when points were at a premium. Trevor Franklin hit a trio of treys in the first quarter, helping West Noble grab a quick opening lead, and Takota Weigold drained three more in the third quarter as Wawasee was starting to get its offense in sync. And when Wawasee scratched its way back to tie the game at 44, Weigold immediately got behind the Wawasee defense for an uncontested layup.
In its previous three losses this season, not being able to track the hot shooters has nipped Wawasee where it hurts. Weigold and Franklin each scored 13 points for the Chargers, taking 21 of the 39 shots for the visitors.
To say Wawasee played poorly wouldn’t do justice to the work the Warriors did to put itself in position to challenge for its first win of the season. Austin Miller awoke in the second half to score 11 of his 14 points. Miller made a pair of layups to open the third quarter, and hit a three to get Wawasee back within three in the fourth at 44-41. Kam Salazar then buried a three to tie the game at 44, the first time Wawasee had leveled the score in the game.
But the Weigold layup, followed by a pair of free throws from Josh Gross, put the Chargers (2-2) up four with 29 seconds left.
Aaron Evans led Wawasee with a season-high 15 points, and after dropping a career-high 24 points against Manchester, West Noble held Bennett Hoffert to just eight points on 3-12 shooting, making just 2-10 from deep.
“As bad as we shot in the first half, it’s really an improvement over the last couple of games,” Everingham said. “There was really no need to go in and start ripping the team to shreds. It was really about being positive. We were getting great shots, it was just about knocking them down.
“The second half, we come out and shoot 44 percent, which is not great enough, but obviously is better.”
Wawasee shot 7-22 from the floor in the first half (32 percent), and as Everingham eluded, were 12-27 in the second half (44 percent). A much improved note than a week ago when Wawasee was 2-16 from the floor in the first half of an abysmal loss at Angola.
Wawasee drops to 0-4 on the season and 0-3 against the Northeast Corner Conference. The Warriors will have a week to rebound with Whitko coming to the Teepee next Saturday night.
The day actually featured three Wawasee-West Noble matchups. The first game of the day saw the Wawasee freshman team stomping West Noble 45-19. Caden Welty led the way with 10 points and Keaton Dukes added nine points in the win.
Game two saw a similar result as Wawasee stormed past West Noble 45-17. Ethan Carey paced the Warriors with 14 points.