WARSAW – The two programs couldn’t be any more familiar with one another. But Saturday’s girls basketball matchup saw two teams that were playing miles apart.
Warsaw used its sharp shooting touch to run away from Wawasee in a 67-23 final at the Tiger Den.
The two backyard rivals obviously have a history, intertwined with plenty of familiarity. Warsaw head coach Lenny Krebs came down from Goshen, where Wawasee head coach Matt Carpenter was an assistant for Krebs for several years. Krebs’ JV coach, Jack Beer, was an assistant for Krebs at Goshen and Saturday night coached against his own son, Trent. Wawasee assistant coach Jennifer Holsclaw made her first basketball appearance at the Tiger Den since her playing days at Warsaw, where one of her daughters, Miah, was a Lady Tiger.
But all of that didn’t have much to do with the output on the court, where once Warsaw got going, they created their own identity.
Wawasee hung around for a while in the first quarter, using three Casey Schroeder three-pointers to keep it within two possessions as the quarter wound down. But a quick pair of baskets inside from Brielle Harrison and Abby Sanner gave Warsaw a little cushion, which opened up all of the Tiger shooters from deep.
Kenzie Ryman nailed a pair of threes, and sister Maddie Ryman hit one. Halle Shipp jumped into the shooter’s spot and hit two consecutive threes. What was just a 16-9 score after the first quarter all of a sudden was 34-14 after Shipp’s second make.
“We anticipated that they were really going to try to take away our inside game and pack things in and make life miserable for Abby and Brielle,” Krebs said. “We just have to learn when teams pack it in that we have enough weapons that we can score from the perimeter.”
Warsaw then went on a 17-0 run to open the second half, holding Wawasee completely scoreless in the third quarter in a superb display on both ends of the court. Maddie Ryman had 10 of the 17 Warsaw points in the third quarter, helping her to a 21-point night. The senior guard was 5-6 from three-point range, which was part of an 11-16 three-ball effort for the Lady Tigers as a whole.
“I thought Maddie had a great game all around,” Krebs said. “She puts some points on the board and she plays with such a high level of intensity.”
Carpenter couldn’t find any combination that worked after the first quarter. Sagging inside to keep Sanner neutralized and Harrison attended left the Rymans and Shipp open on the wings, and when they were marked, players like Kaylee Patton found enough space to chip in seven points while adding seven assists and five steals. In all, 10 Warsaw players made at least one field goal, where Schroeder’s first quarter threes were the only multiple makes the Lady Warriors had as a collective.
“Let’s give credit to Warsaw,” Carpenter said. “Warsaw’s got a great team. They have multiple scorers. They run the floor hard and they can score in transition. I thought we executed pretty well in the first half altogether at the beginning of the game. And Schroeder stepped up and knocked down the shots I expected her to make.
“However, even with executing, they still knocked down shots in the first half and you know they shot the lights out. And that’s why they are a dangerous team.”
For the game, Warsaw shot 24-37 from the floor, a blistering 65 percent clip while Wawasee was 7-32 overall, just 22 percent. Hannah Lancaster did record six steals for the Lady Warriors.
The Battle of the Beer family had dad beat son, with Jack’s Tigers a 39-11 winner over Trent’s Warriors. Adin Um led Warsaw with 11 points and four rebounds and Bailie Stephens had eight points, four steals and four assists. Rhian Galloway and Ella Beezley had four points each for Wawasee.
Warsaw (10-4, 2-0 NLC), winners of seven in a row, earns itself a break as it doesn’t play until Dec. 29 in its home tournament, the first game against Huntington North. Wawasee (2-10, 0-3 NLC) have lost nine straight and life doesn’t get any easier as it will play Class 2-A No. 1 Central Noble Friday night, the Cougars are 12-0 and the defending Class 2-A champion.
One side note to the game was the announcement of the total money raised for the Steve Jones Memorial Fund. The two schools got together this past week to raise money for a scholarship for one student at the end of the year through the Kosciusko County Community Fund. Wawasee and Warsaw raised over $5,000 during the week, which included T-shirt sales, to which both teams wore during the pregame. In honor of raising more money, Wawasee principal Kim Nguyen was pied in the face during halftime and Warsaw principal Troy Akers, for being on the short end, has to wear a Wawasee jersey to school Monday morning.