By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
When possessions are limited taking care of the basketball becomes much more important.
The Concord Minutemen taught that lesson to the Warsaw Tigers in a 42-31 NLC high school boys basketball win Friday night at the Tiger Den in Warsaw.
The Tigers played at a very deliberate pace on offense, but turned the ball over 11 times and Concord made them pay of most of the miscues.
Concord normally tries to play more of an up tempo style. The Minutemen had only five turnovers.
“The slow down game is something we need to see,” Concord coach Steve Austin said. “The last two or three games teams have been spreading us out since we are so big. I’m was a little nervous. There were a few times we did the things we were supposed to and others when we didn’t.
“The turnovers were a huge difference. We had some turnovers when we got going to fast. Ramon Johnson (5-8 junior) is probably the best guard I’ve ever had in seeing the floor and taking care of the basketball. His assist to turnover ratio is 5 to 1, which is very good.”
Johnson made Warsaw pay for turnovers at the start of the third period. Johnson stole the ball and went in for a layup at 6:48 that gave the Minutemen an 18-15 lead. On the next possession, he swiped the ball again. He was fouled on the layin and converted the three-point play for a 21-15 advantage with 6:34 left in the quarter.
“We told the kids at halftime defense would win this one,” Austin said. “Those were easy baskets by Ramon and they allowed us to relax a bit.”
Those were the only points of the game for Johnson.
“We had way too many turnovers,” Warsaw coach Doug Ogle said. “We have got to improve our ball handling and being stronger with the ball. At halftime we talked about how we were still in the game and then we go out and start the third period like that.”
Ogle went with the slow down style to combat Concord’s size that includes 6-6 senior Franko House, 6-3 senior DuWhan Alford and 6-5 sophomore Filip Serwatka.
“Concord is a very unusual high school team in terms of the size, athleticism and experience they have,” Ogle said. “House and Alford have both been on the varsity for four years and Johnson for three.”
Warsaw doesn’t have much of a post presence and it showed in the fact the Tigers were 1-of-1 from the free-throw line in the contest.
“One of Warsaw’s strengths over the years has been getting to the line,” Austin said. “We talked to our kids about not fouling them.”
The Minutemen blocked six shots in the game, four of them by House.
“Concord’s interior defense is very good,” Ogle said. “We were not poised enough on the inside. They blocked four or five shots right around the basket. We need to finish those type of plays. We are not going to beat a team like Concord with our post play.”
House scored 13 points to lead the Minutemen and Serwatka added 12.
“Every time Franko touched the ball underneath he had two, three or four players on him,” Austin said.
House was able to kick the ball out for some 3-point attempts. Six-four senior Dylan Wynne drilled a trey off a pass from House that gave Concord a 34-25 lead with 4:12 left to play.
“That was probably the biggest shot we hit all night,” Austin said.
The Tigers responded with a pair of baskets from 6-2 senior Taylor Cone for a 34-29 score with 3:10 to go. Serwatka’s basket at 2:20 put Concord up nine and House extended the lead with a basket at 1:35, two freebies at :40 and two more at :27.
“Serwatka was huge for us,” Austin said. “He was getting open on the inside and we talked about trying to get him the ball more in the second half.”
Six-foot Warsaw senior Jared Bloom netted 10 of his team’s 15 points in the first half. He didn’t score again until a basket with 1:23 left in the fourth when the game was out of reach.
“We didn’t change anything at halftime. He was supposed to be a focus of our defense the entire game,” Austin said. “I figure eight of his points came on our miscommunications on defense.”
One area Ogle was pleased with was rebounding as the Tigers had a 19-14 advantage on the boards.
“Not too many teams outrebound Concord,” the said.
Six-two junior Adam Glanders netted four points for the Minutemen.
He missed part of the fourth quarter of last Tuesday’s game with Elkhart Central after he took an elbow to the face.
“We were a little worried on Thursday,” Austin said. “We kept him out of contact in practice, just letting him shot and dribble. He felt good after practice.”
The win gives Austin 396 in his coaching career.
Concord 42, Warsaw 31
CONCORD — Franko House 4-7 4-4 13, DuWhan Alford 2-4 0-0 5, Filip Serwatka 5-8 2-3 12, Ramon Johnson 3-5 1-1 5, Adam Glanders 2-4 0-0 4, Dylan Wynne 1-1 0-0 3, Dakota Simon 0-1 0-0. Team: 16-33 7-8 42
WARSAW — Jared Bloom 5-8 1-1 12, John Swanson 1-3 0-0 2, Trae Furnivall 0-0 0-0 0, Nate Pearl 0-1 0-0 0, Jason Ferguson 0-1 0-0 0, Taylor Cone 3-7 0-0 6, Jordan Stookey 3-5 0-0 7, Rashaan Jackson 2-4 0-0 4. Team: 14-29 1-1 31
Concord 8 8 11 15 — 42
Warsaw 7 8 6 10 — 31
3-point goals: Concord 3-13 (Wynne 1-1, House 1-2, Alford 1-3, Simon 0-1, Serwatka 0-1, Glanders 0-2, Johnson 0-3. Warsaw 2-5 (Bloom 1-2, Stookey 1-2, Jackson 0-1).
Turnovers: Concord 5, Warsaw 11.
Fouls: Concord 9, Warsaw 13.
Rebounds: Concord 14 (House 3, Johnson 3). Warsaw 19 (Cone 5, Stookey 5).
Assists: Concord 8 (Johnson 5). Warsaw 9 (Stookey 4).
Steals: Concord 7 (Alford 2, Glanders 2, Johnson 2). Warsaw 2 (Boom, Stookey).
Records (next games): Concord (11-1, 4-0 NLC) hosts Wawasee next Friday. Warsaw (8-6, 2-2 NLC) hosts NorthWood next Friday.
JV score: Warsaw won 28-26. (Concord: Danny McMahon 14, Korey Phillips 4, Ryan Tepe 4. Warsaw: Cody Freeman 6, Jake Mangus 6, Jonny Hollar 5).