WINONA LAKE — In the midst of a five-game losing streak, Warsaw’s girls basketball team desperately needed a win.
And a win is exactly what the Lady Tigers got Saturday, in a dominant, 70-14 showing over Fort Wayne Snider at Grace College’s Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.
“We needed this win more than anything right now. I don’t think people realize the depth of the struggle that we just went through, but not very many teams in the state have the courage to play four ranked teams in a week. We didn’t get the results we wanted, but I told the girls in the locker room, this win is a result of the heavy lifting and the struggle that we did the last week,” explained Warsaw coach Lenny Krebs.
“We actually gained more from those heavy lifting games than we gained from this one, but this is a huge confidence boost. We needed to prove to ourselves that we were capable of winning again.”
Saturday’s outcome was never really in doubt as the Tigers jumped out to a 13-2 lead and led by 20 with nearly three minutes remaining in the first half. They had already pushed that cushion out to more than 30 points just two minutes into the second half, and Krebs mostly rested his starters through the final frame.
“Losing five in a row they could’ve folded and made this a tight game, not showed up, stopped playing hard. But the kids are still believing in each other, and I’m proud of them. This is a huge credit to them. When they play like that, they make coaching easy,” said Krebs.
Defensively, Warsaw held the Panthers to just 4-of-32 shooting from the floor while turning them over 30 times. Offensively, sophomore Abby Sanner and senior Brielle Harrison put on a clinic in the post.
Sanner converted 7-of-9 shots from the floor and made 9-of-10 free throws drawing contact from Snider’s frustrated front courters. She finished with game-highs of 23 points and 17 rebounds patrolling the paint. She also blocked five shots on the other end of the floor.
Harrison was nearly as efficient, making 10-of-13 shots from the field — including 5-of-6 as Warsaw began pulling away in the first half — and pulling down eight rebounds. That performance was in spite of a case of bronchitis, and Krebs sat out the ailing senior swing in the fourth.
“Abby had 23, Brielle had 21, and any time you get that type of post game, that obviously makes your job a little bit easier from the perimeter. I’m proud of our post people, how hard they worked. They were active,” Krebs said. “When you get two post people with 20 points, all of the sudden that shooting percentage goes through the roof. We’ve got to continue to look for that and at the same time keep that inside-outside balance in order to beat the good teams.”
Junior reserve Audrey Grimm gave the Tigers a third double-digit scoring performance with 14 points in just 13 minutes on the floor, and senior Kaylee Patton passed out nine assists as Warsaw tallied 17 team assists on the way to 29-of-64 shooting.
Jaiden Eastom scored five points, and Samantha Kabish pulled down six rebounds for Snider, which dropped to 1-7.
Warsaw improved to an even 5-5, meanwhile. The Tigers now fave a slate of four straight road games before returning to their home floor in January.
“We need to get healed up. We’ve got Kacilyn (Krebs) with a thumb issue. We’ve got Bri, who is sick. We’ve got some people that need to get healed up, so this game came at the right time. A confidence boost before we go on a four-game road trip,” said Lenny Krebs.
Also Saturday, Warsaw’s JV earned another dominant win over Snider, 45-17. All 11 Tigers scored, led by Zoe Bergan and Lauren Grose with nine points each. Grose added eight rebounds, while Hannah Hatfield scored six points with seven rebounds and five assists.