By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Girls basketball in the NLC can be a war of attrition, a grind-it-out, low-scoring affair that comes down to a key late play or two.
Goshen and Wawasee played such a game Friday night, and it was the Redskins coming out on top, prevailing over the Warriors, 39-35 at Wawasee.
The Redskins improved to 7-1 overall (1-0 NLC) with the victory. Wawasee suffered its first loss of the season and fell to 6-1 (0-1 NLC).
The two teams traded the lead down the stretch before Goshen got a pair of steals and subsequent buckets — the final, clinching play from senior guard Aimee Swihart in the final 10 seconds.
Goshen coach Lenny Krebs was happy to see his team win the kind of game they will see often in the NLC.
“We aren’t going to score 60 points every night,” Krebs said. “I was proud of our defense tonight.”
Wawasee coach Kem Zolman said the result came down to one simple truth.
“We didn’t execute on a couple of plays there at the end,” Zolman said.
The two teams sized each other up warily during an opening period that saw Wawasee lead 14~12 at the first stop.
Goshen opened the second stanza on a 7~0 run to take a 19~14 lead. But the Warriors weathered that early Redskin surge and trailed by just one at intermission, 19-18.
Goshen pushed out to a slim 30-26 lead at the final stop, but the Warriors battled back to take a 33-30 lead midway through the final frame before Goshen rallied late to win.
Goshen junior guard Deja Felder said the late rally was a result of her team picking up its defensive intensity.
“We knew we had to make some plays, and we were able to make them.” Felder said.
Felder led the Redskins with 15 points. Swihart had eight.
KiLee Knafel had 23 points to lead all scorers for Wawasee.
The Redskins were a 22-16 winner in the J.V. contest.
Goshen hosts Northridge next Thursday night, Wawasee travels to South Bend Adams tonight.