WARSAW BOMBS AWAY IN ABNORMAL WIN
Ink Free News / Sports on Saturday, December 19, 2020
By Mike Deak
SYRACUSE – It was billed as the Battle For The W, but really became a Battle For The 3.
Warsaw had an extraordinary night shooting the basketball from three-point range in taking a 63-48 boys basketball win at Wawasee Friday night.
TV-46 always seems to find a way to create wild games when they show up to spotlight area athletics. Friday was no different, but neither head coach in Matt Moore or Jon Everingham could have been able to preface the shooting display Warsaw would put on at the Hardwood Teepee.
Without Luke Adamiec available, Warsaw got away from its prototypical offensive attack. Rather than driving into the lane and forcing the issue, Warsaw set up outside and fired away. It wasn’t as if Warsaw hadn’t shot threes this season – the Tigers took 84 in six games – but the success rate Friday night was more than abnormal. Warsaw was just a 24 percent team from behind the arc in its first six games, Friday night Warsaw was a 77 percent shooting team.
An innocent enough first quarter saw Warsaw take a 13-6 lead, hitting just a pair of threes in the process. That would change immensely in the second quarter, as Brock Poe caught fire. Poe, playing his first game of the season, hit his first shot of the year from deep, then another and another. Poe would hit his fourth of the quarter, and Jaxon Gould drilled a trey as Warsaw stormed to a 28-11 lead. Another bomb from Gould was the eighth of the half for the Tigers.
“If you would tell me we would come out and hit 13 threes, I would have laughed for a second, but said you know, we have guys who come in in the morning,” Moore said. “It may not have shown up yet, we use that word ‘yet’. They are investing their time into improving their confidence and their craft, and we saw that offensively.”
Warsaw would continue the absurd shooting stroke, hitting all five of its attempts in the second half. The lead for Warsaw, however, was slowly whittling away as Wawasee kept chipping. Ethan Carey hit a pair of three’s of his own, and quietly the lead was down to 12 at 43-31. Carey had a chance to get it to 10, but his pass on a fast break was stolen, and on cue, Gould buried a three on the back end for a five-point swing and a 46-31 lead.
Ben Bergen’s three to open the fourth quarter was the dagger, the Tigers up 18 and out of reach.
“You have to make a decision prior to the game, and they are really good at the high-low, they’ve been doing it all year,” Everingham said. “They pound it inside. All of their players back to the basket can score. I was proud of our guys for sticking to the game plan. You just don’t expect those threes to keep going in. Statistics would show their three-point shooting is their weakest link. And knowing they would shoot 17 times from three, stats would say we would be in good shape.
“Sometimes you just tip your cap to them for executing and you move on.”
Wawasee, playing for the first time since the weekend of Nov. 28 after two bouts of team quarantine, were also without starters Kam Salazar and Keaton Dukes, both out for continued contact tracing. With the Warriors unable to chase down Warsaw’s three-point shooters, Everingham’s bunch saw Warsaw go 13-17 overall from three-point range. The Tigers had hit just 20 threes in its first six games to start the season.
Poe and Gould both finished with 16 points to lead the Tigers (4-3), Gould adding four steals in its first road win of the year.
“I thought our defensive effort was good tonight,” Moore said. “Wawasee is a tough team in terms of they are going to handle the ball and do a lot of good things. We turned it over 12 times. They were shorthanded but we made them take some shots that they looked uncomfortable. I thought overall our team effort was on point.”
Carey had 16 points for the Warriors, which the hosts actually dominated other parts of the stat sheet. Wawasee outrebounded Warsaw 22-14, made 13-17 free throws to just 4-8 from the Tigers, and recovered from a 17-point halftime deficit to outscore Warsaw by two in the second half.
Collin Roberson and Mason Possell came off the bench for Wawasee (2-1) to each score eight points and combine for eight rebounds.
“We hung in there and couldn’t quite get over the hump,” Everingham said. “It was simple, we tried to make them beat us from deep, and they did. We were shorthanded, and if you just see this score, it looks bad. But we did a lot of really good things. I’m not mad about any of it. We just tip our cap and look to get better tomorrow.”
Drew Heckaman had 17 points, eight rebounds, five steals and four assists as the Tigers won the JV contest 48-34. Jay Finlinson led the Warriors with 11 points.