By GREG KEIM firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MIDDLEBURY — The name of the game when it comes to the post season tournament is win and advance, which is just what the Warsaw Tigers and the Concord Minutewomen did Tuesday night in the IHSAA Class 4A girls basketball sectional at Northridge.
Warsaw jumped out to a 31-6 halftime lead over the Elkhart Memorial Crimson Chargers on the way to a 59-24 victory.
“We wanted to come out and play a solid all-around game, both on offense and defense,” Warsaw coach Michelle Harter said.
Concord opened a big early lead of 11-1 after one period before holding off the Elkhart Central Blue Blazers for a 43-40 win.
“I told the girls going into the fourth period that if we could get to 40 points we could play enough defense to win,” Concord coach Dan Ross said. “We did, but it was a struggle getting to 40. Central made some adjustments on defense that our players had a hard time recognizing.”
The sectional continues on Friday with the semifinals as the host Raiders (16-4) meet Warsaw (10-9) in the first game at 6 p.m., followed by Goshen (10-10) and Concord (8-12) around 7:30.
The championship is slated for Saturday at 7 p.m.
Senior Nikki Grose was a dominating force in the post for the Tigers, scoring 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting. She grabbed 10 rebounds.
“Nikki stepped up huge for us,” Harter said. “She is capable of that kind of play. It is also the kind of play you want from a senior leader, especially come tournament time. But for her to be successful on the inside means someone has to be hitting from the outside.”
Senior Erin Leek was 2-of-5 from 3-point range.
“Leek hit some big shots for us,”Harter said.
Memorial senior Khadijah Moore had a rough night shooting going 4-of-16 from the field as she scored 10 points.
“Our goal on defense was not to allow No. 34 (Moore) any easy looks at the basket,” Harter said. “We wanted to take her out of the game. We knew if we could frustrate her it would help us in the long run.”
Warsaw had a 28-21 advantage on the boards.
“The other thing we wanted to do was limit the number of second shots Memorial got,” Harter said.
Junior Pam Miller tossed in nine points, Leek eight and senior Brooklyn Harrison seven for the Tigers.
Memorial finishes 6-11.
Concord had to rely on the efforts of senior Alexis Williams who was 8-of-12 from the free-throw line in the fourth.
“Alexis is a senior and we want to put the ball in her hands,” Ross said. “In games we have been successful this season she has hit some big free throws for us.”
Central played better after the opening quarter. Concord led 18-9 at halftime and 28-20 after three periods.
“The first quarter I blame on nerves,” Central coach Will Coatie said. “I’m so proud of the girls and the way they battled back.”
The Blue Blazers outscored Concord in each of the last three periods.
Part of the reason was the second-half play of junior Daitriona Bonds as she netted 20 of the game-high 26 points after intermission.
“We challenged her at halftime to be a leader,” Coatie said. “She took over in the second half.”
Williams scored 14 points to lead Concord. Freshman Tylar Roberson added nine, junior Jade Iavagnilio and sophomore Nicole Wilhelm both six and junior Mackenzie Rutter five.
Senior Michelle Detwiler grabbed 11 rebounds for Concord.
“She was a beast on the boards in the first half,” Ross said.
Sophomore Basia Martinez scored four points, sophomores Jasmine Cotton and Aleiyah Williams three apiece for the Blazers.
Central finishes 2-18.
Concord edged Goshen 41-39 in overtime when the two played during the regular season.
“We are trying to do things that have never been done before at Concord,” Ross said. “I think is the sixth sectional game we have won in the 2000’s but we have never won two in the same year.
“Goshen has a good team and I’m sure (coach) Lenny Krebs will have some adjustments ready for what we did to them last time.”