SYRACUSE – As time goes on, Wawasee girls basketball head coach Matt Carpenter wants to see his team perform in pressure situations. Friday night provided some chances to get a jump on situational basketball.
While not totally clean, Carpenter’s Lady Warriors shined in spurts to outlast Westview, 46-38, at the Hardwood Teepee.
Just a game into both team’s seasons, the mistakes and growing pains were present, but so were some very teachable moments for a Wawasee team looking to continue its identity of a program looking to establish itself as a contender. One of those big moments came for sophomore Kennedy White, who nailed a big three-pointer from the corner as Westview had crept within three. White’s hit put Wawasee up six, 39-33, early in the fourth quarter, helping the host Warriors to an 8-0 run to open the final stanza.
“When Kennedy White hit that three, that gave us a little more space at the end,” Carpenter said. “That’s what we talk about. Those girls aren’t afraid of the moment and they’re ready when their number is called. Now, sometimes we have a little too much confidence instead of intelligence with the basketball, but I’ll take that. Because we’re still learning, and we’re going to be better here in the next week because of that.”
White finished with just five points, but had multiple blocks against Westview’s Gloria Miller, who emerged as the primary option for the visitors. Miller finished with 25 points and was just one of four crimson Warriors to score, hitting all but three of Westview’s field goals.
While Westview (0-2) struggled to get much else other than Gloria Miller’s offensive help, Wawasee (2-0) had a host of players impact the game. Starting with a three from senior Rhian Galloway, one of five seniors honored before the game, contributions of eight points from Abby Steiner, nine points, seven steals and two boards from Jada Carter, and five steals, five rebounds and three treys from Emily Haines.
Wawasee hit nine threes on the night, including two on consecutive trips by Carter to help Wawasee to a nine-point advantage to open the second half.
“I am impressed with how well we have shot the ball,” said Carpenter. “The first game we were up over 50 percent from the floor, we weren’t there tonight. But our ability to put points on the board takes some pressure off. You’ve got to hit threes, and we’ve spent a lot of time at it. Those girls have worked hard. So I knew we were going to be better.
“We’re shooting with confidence, and that’s going to take us a long way.”
Blair Harker had the hot hand for Wawasee in the JV game, scoring 16 points to lead the team to a 30-26 win. Harker hit five three-pointers in the game, three in a pivotal third quarter that had Wawasee outscore Westview 12-4.
Wawasee hosts Lakeland Tuesday.