Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

November 20, 2012

PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Warriors roll

Wawasee pleases home crowd with opening win

SYRACUSE — The style of offense the Wawasee Warriors play is designed to put points on the scoreboard in bunches and the team showed just how that works in a high school boys basketball season -opening win over the Fairfield Falcons by an 80-61 count Tuesday night at Wawasee.

Early in the fourth period the visiting Falcons cut their deficit to eight points with 6:28 left to play only to have the Warriors stretch the lead back to 20 points (76-56) with 3:16 remaining. Sophomore Gage Reinhard, sophomore Alex Clark and senior Ryndan Aaron canned 3-pointers during the stretch.

“I was happy with what we did for an opener,” Wawasee coach Phil Mishler said. “We had a lot of players that this was their first time at this level. Some of them were playing 8th grade a year ago.

“We had some youngsters step up and hit some big shots. We know they can shoot. We just have to teach them the other parts of the game.”

Fairfield shot 60.5 percent (23-of-38) from the field, but was hampered by 31 turnovers.

“It’s pretty simple when playing Wawasee you have to take care of the ball,” Fairfield coach Troy Beachy said. “Another thing you have to do is get inside for layups. We did a pretty good job of that, but we couldn’t overcome all the turnovers. Wawasee puts a lot of pressure on the ball.

“We knew if we got the ball to the middle of the floor against Wawasee’s defense we could get some layups.”

Forcing the turnovers is all part of Mishler’s system.

“Thirty one turnovers is probably not something that is going to happen again this season,” Mishler said. “We want the other team to take quick shots so we can go down and put up a trey.”

The Warriors were 15-of-44 from beyond the arc.

“We want to shoot 45 per game,” Mishler said. “I liked the fact we hit 15. That is about where we want to be percentage wise.”

Clark was 4-of-5 from long distance, Reinhard 3-of-6 and freshman Jeffrey Moore 2-of-3 for Wawasee.

The game marked the return of Wawasee senior Jacob Thompson after he missed the second-half of last season with a shoulder injury. Thompson scored 14 points, but he was 6-of-17 shooting (0-of-7 from 3-point range) and 2-of-7 from the free-throw line.

“I don’t think Jake was frustrated, but I go frustrated for him,” Mishler said. “I have never seen anything like this from him before.”

Thompson lead the team with seven rebounds and shared the high in assists with Reinhard at four.

“That was the thing I liked about Jake tonight,” Mishler said. “When he has the ball at least three defenders are worried about what he is doing. Jake did a nice job of getting the ball to other players in good positions.”

Clark tossed in 19 points to top the Warriors. He was 7-of-10 shooting. Aaron chipped in with 13 points and sophomore Stori Bright 10.

Two players that didn’t play for the Falcons last season ended up leading the team in scoring. Senior Brad Lantz scored 17 points and classmate Garrett Scott 15. Junior Marcus Rodes added 13.

“The effort was there,” Beachy said. “We kept telling the kids to hang in there. Wawasee could go cold and we could make a run. That happened and all of a sudden the Warriors hit three straight treys. The way they play they can put points up in a hurry.”

A game with the Warriors is a tough way for the Falcons to open the season.

“We have no excuses. That is what is on the schedule,” Beachy said. “It does gave us a chance to put in our press breakers.”

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