GOSHEN – There is no quit and a lot of grit in the Wawasee girls basketball team.
The Warriors, unfortunately though, have developed a troubling trend of being notoriously slow starters in games.
That formula continued Friday night as Wawasee dropped a 47-37 final to a strong Goshen squad in Northern Lakes Conference play.
The Warriors dug a deep deficit early on, rallied back into the contest, and then ran out of gas late in the physical affair which was no place for the meek and mild.
Senior Kyrie Potter scored 14 points, senior Tahya Bruce 11 and senior Olivia Love 10 to pace the Redskins. Goshen, winners of eight straight games, improves to 9-1 overall and 2-0 in league play.
Kylee Rostochak did her best to keep the Warriors close. The hard-working senior guard scored a game-high 19 points.
Wawasee, losers of five in a row, falls to 2-7 overall and 0-2 in NLC action.
The Warriors trailed 15-4 in the opening period after giving up a 10-0 run to the Redskins. Wawasee, which never led in the game, had six turnovers in the first frame.
“It has to start with our players,” said Wawasee coach Kem Zolman about the slow starts. “If I had the answer to why we come out and spot teams a lead early we would have fixed it. I view it as it’s easy for us to do that and then play from behind. You spot a team a lead and then it’s easy to play them tough after that. Championship teams do not do that.
“The positive side of it is that we don’t fold, these kids don’t quit and they have grit. We just have to decide to do it from the beginning of the game.”
The Warriors trailed 23-13 at halftime as Potter and Love each had six points. Wawasee rallied within 26-22 with 2:40 to play in the third period on a layup by Hannah-Marie Lamle. The Redskins then scored the next 10 points of the contest to take control at 36-22 midway through the final stanza. Wawasee was held scoreless for the first 4:37 of the fourth quarter until Rostochak hit a free throw.
Rostochak did everything she could in the final frame to keep her team in it. She scored 13 of her team’s 15 points in the fourth period, including hitting a trio of treys.
Rostochak, who is the only Warrior averaging in double figures, was the lone Wawasee to hit double digits Friday night in the rough-and-tumble contest. The Warriors entered play Friday night averaging just 39 points-per-game.
“We’ve had this conversation since the summer about other players scoring for us,” Zolman said. “They can do it. I’ve seen them do it in the summer. We still have time.”
Zolman also liked the way his team responded in the second half after getting manhandled physically by Goshen in the first half.
“We challenged our girls at halftime to come out and meet their physical play,” noted Zolman. “Goshen seemed to want it more in that first half. They got every loose ball it seemed like. I thought our girls did well in that second half in battling and being physical.”
The game at time could have used some hip and shoulder pads as bodies flew for most of the 32 minutes.
Wawasee, which has lost its last five meetings versus Goshen, hurt itself too in the turnover department with 21 miscues in the loss.
Junior Aubrey Schmeltz had five points and sophomores Kabrea Rostochak and Aubrey Kuhn four each for Wawasee. Sophomore Lamle and freshman Casey Schroeder each added two points and junior Hannah Haines one.
Goshen won a junior varsity game that lasted an eternity. The Redskins posted a 31-29 victory in a contest that took 1:40 to play. Margaret Gallagher led the winners with 10 points and Jocelyn Walters had six. Caitlin Wortinger scored eight points and Sara Pritchard seven to lead Wawasee.
Wawasee hosts South Bend Adams (6-3) Saturday afternoon and Goshen plays at South Bend St. Joseph (8-0) on Saturday night.