By Mike Deak
WARSAW – Warsaw girls basketball head coach Lenny Krebs noted his club hasn’t been very consistent in the early going of the 2020-21 season. But a pair of lopsided wins Saturday moved his Tigers to 4-0 on the season, highlighted by a 47-22 win over Merrillville and 59-42 run over South Bend Adams as part of the Duneland Shootout.
In the nightcap against the visitors from South Bend, to which the Eagles replaced Crown Point as a late entry to fill out the bracket, Warsaw started out slow but used its size and three-point shooting to its advantage.
Adams took a quick 6-1 lead, but three-pointers from Kendall Wayne and Kensie Ryman got Warsaw up front, where it wouldn’t look back. A 22-14 first quarter lead saw Warsaw open the second quarter on a 7-0 run, Wayne nailing a three and both Abby Sanner and Lauren Grose both pulling down offensive rebounds and getting the putbacks.
Warsaw eventually built its lead into the 20s, taking a 41-21 lead at the break.
“Offensively, we are starting to put some of the pieces together,” noted Krebs. “We still haven’t had our top six kids on the court together for even a practice yet this year. The pieces are constantly going to be moving, but I thought we took a step forward on both sides of the court today.”
Adams would show a little fight in the second half, Marissa Shelton scoring five straight points to pull Adams within 12 at 44-32, but Warsaw would again go on a run, scoring nine straight, aided again by interior buckets from Sanner and Grose.
Sanner would produce 10 points and 10 rebounds and Grose would score a career-high 11 points.
“I thought the girls did a nice job of finding Abby Sanner. We knew we had a size advantage,” Krebs said. “I hope Abby can really realize how good she is when she is going to the basket strong. When she is jumping and elevating for rebounds. There were a couple times when she will elevate for a ball and it’s like holy cow where did she come from. Getting her to do that on a consistent basis will make us so much more efficient offensively.”
Kendall Wayne also had a productive night, finishing with 13 points, hitting three from deep to ignite the Tigers, as did Ryman, who hit three from deep as well along with six assists and three steals.
Shelton led Adams (0-4) with 13 points, joined in that total by Laila Williams.
Warsaw’s morning win over Merrillville saw Sanner have a monster game with 20 points and 16 rebounds. Kacilyn Krebs added nine points, but a nagging knee issue limited her minutes later on in the Adams game.
The Tigers held just an 8-5 lead over the Pirates after the first quarter, but burst to an 18-3 run to take command.
“If you would have told me that we would hold Merrillville to eight points in the first half, I would probably have given you a hug and a kiss at that moment,” joked Krebs. “I never anticipated that we would be that efficient defensively. I thought this morning defensively we were really good.”
In the opposite contests, Northridge (3-2) earned a pair of wins with a 66-28 blowout of Adams and 52-35 triumph over Merrillville. Jaci Walker had 19 points and eight rebounds in the win over the Pirates and 16 points and three rebounds against the Eagles. Eva Fisher scored 21 total points in the two wins.