SYRACUSE – It’s just a cliché in December to say when it rains, it pours. Saturday night in the Hardwood Teepee, however, it was raining threes.
Wawasee hung 12 from deep on Whitko in an impressive shooting display to help the Warriors to a 59-41 boys basketball win, its first ‘W’ of the season.
Wawasee hit four threes to end the first half and essentially put the eight ball in front of Whitko. Aaron Evans started the rain with a bomb, then Austin Miller hit one. To make matters better for Wawasee, Ethan Hardy stepped out and hit a three to ignite his sideline, and Miller canned another one as Wawasee stormed out to a 33-22 halftime lead.
“We hit a couple threes and got up by six, and that was the ballgame right there,” started Wawasee head coach Jon Everingham. “I think we got a really good look out of that possession, hit a three, they just got it across half court and turned the ball over and we hit a three in transition. So it goes from a six-point game; we worked really hard to get a six-point lead, and just like that, it’s 12. It changed the complexity of the game.
“We’ve been on the other end of some things like that, so tonight fortunately we made the winning plays.”
Ben Hoffert then caught the shooting bug and put Whitko away in the third quarter. Hoffert hit threes on consecutive possessions, then hit two more to give himself 12 points in the third quarter and 15 points for the night on five made from beyond the arc. As a whole, Wawasee hit 12-25 from deep, which would equate to more points (36) than it scored in consecutive games at Angola (26) and Manchester (28) last week.
Miller led the Warriors with 17 points and added five rebounds and a pair of assists. Evans had 12 points and five boards, and beneath the stats was a two-point, eight-rebound performance from Josh Slabaugh that Everingham said was as important, if not more, than the three-point shooting.
Slabaugh helped back down Whitko big Spencer Sroufe, who stands at 6-7. Slabuagh, only 6-1, held Sroufe largely in check with seven points on 3-9 shooting before Sroufe reaggrevated his oft-injured ankle in the third quarter and missed the remainder of the game.
“He’s a collegiate prospect certainly and can stroke it from outside,” Everingham said of defending Sroufe. “We were just able tonight to get him away from the basket. He didn’t have anything easy. I think he had one little putback offensive rebound. Josh did a great job, I think that’s the best I’ve seen Josh play defensively. Big, big for us.”
Clayton Ebbinghouse and Drake Lewis both finished with 10 points for the Wildcats, and Brett Sickafoose was also held in check with five points but came up with eight rebounds.
The JV game went to Wawasee in a 51-28 result. A 20-2 second quarter for the Warriors pushed the team to a 32-9 halftime advantage. Keaton Dukes had 17 points and eight rebounds for the Warriors.
Wawasee (1-4) will prep for The Rivalry, a Friday night showdown in the Hardwood Teepee with Warsaw. Whitko (1-4) will visit Prairie Heights Wednesday.