PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Northridge’s return attempt fails against Warsaw | Sports
WARSAW – Northridge coach Doug Springer compared his team’s game against Warsaw on Saturday to that of a heavyweight boxing match.
Well, Warsaw won the first round. Springer hopes to participate in the second round of the sectional in February.
The Tigers host managed to keep the visiting Raiders scoreless for the first 10-plus minutes of the game, building up a 10-0 lead before fending off a late Northridge rally to win, 36-28, on Saturday at The Tiger Den. The win puts Warsaw in charge of the Northern Lakes Conference women’s basketball championship as they are the only undefeated team left in the NLC game at 4-0. Northridge is now 3-1 in conference games.
The Raiders did not score until 5:32 of the second quarter on a Morgan Cross “3” in the second year. It was an 8-0 lead in Warsaw after the first quarter, and a basket from senior Bailie Stephens took a double-digit lead to 94 seconds in the second quarter.
“Keep them at eight points in a quarter?” I mean, it’s exceptional, ”Springer said. “For us not to score was frustrating. I thought we looked good. We were in such a rush to try and score that we had some unusual trips… Everything they threw at us, we knew it was going to happen. Frankly, we’ve been working on it for a while, and that’s what I told our daughters: I was a little frustrated with the way we handled the 1-3-1 (zone defense) because we worked on an attack. against this defense since November.
Warsaw (12-5, 4-0 NLC) had not played a game since December 30, giving coach Lenny Krebs enough time to find a way to slow the Raiders (15-4, 3-1 NLC) ).
“We’ve had over a week to prepare, defensively,” Krebs said. “We were able to cast new lines in what we wanted to do with our 1-2-2 (zone defense). I’m not a 3-2 guy – that’s actually a bad word, in my mind – but we played 2-1-2 because I don’t say the words “3-2”. We thought it was better suited to protect all of their wing shooters.
While Northridge struggled to score in the first half, so did the Tigers. Warsaw’s lead was only six, 13-7, at halftime.
The third quarter was when the home side were able to really extend their lead, in large part thanks to Abby Sanner’s play. The 6’2 “senior scored her seven points in the frame, helping to extend Warsaw’s lead to 15. The Tigers eventually took a 25-11 advantage in the fourth quarter.
With major NLC implications down the line, the Raiders weren’t going to go quietly into the night. Senior Julia Mantyla managed two 3-pointers – sandwiched around Stephens’ free throws – to reduce the deficit to 10 within 90 seconds of the fourth. Mantyla ended up dominating Northridge with nine points.
After some timeouts and a few turnovers, Cross played three points the old fashioned way to make it a 27-20 deficit. A minute later, junior Eva Fisher scored a “3” on an assist from Gabby Gates to reduce Warsaw’s lead to four.
More than two minutes then passed before the next points were scored, following a layup from senior Raider Madyson Gorball. With 2:02 to go in the game, Northridge had made it a single possession game.
Thirteen seconds later, the Tigers regain control of the game. Stephens lay-up while being fouled, making the next free throw to give the home side a 30-25 lead. Stephens finished with a high of 14 points.
“We got it down to two, and the next game… block load,” Springer said. “I thought that one, (we) had the charge. … It didn’t cost us the game. That, obviously, gave them a three-point game, so all that momentum that we had gained had died down a bit.
Sophomore Ava Egolf then scored the next five points for Warsaw, making two free throws with 1:31 remaining, then converting an old-fashioned three-point play 17 seconds later to take the Tigers’ lead to 10. This would be the only five. points that Egolf would score in the match.
Warsaw now controls its own destiny to win the NLC. They have three conference games left: Wednesday against Mishawaka, Saturday January 15 in Goshen and January 22 against Concord.
“We keep talking about how we want to play meaningful games in January, and we have placed ourselves in a position where we have five more games in total and three of them are extremely meaningful,” Krebs said. “I think the kids are going to be ready to prepare. They know what they’ve accomplished, but they also know the job isn’t done.
The loss ends Northridge’s seven-game winning streak. They have a week off before resuming NLC play on Saturday January 15 at home against NorthWood.
“We haven’t stopped,” Springer said. “It’s that team, and we have a lot of fighting left. We’re still a team that’s gone here on the momentum we came in… That’s what we talked about, and after all of our previous losses that we’ve had, we’ve improved. There is no doubt that we will improve after this one.