By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
It took awhile for the Wawasee girls basketball team to get in gear Saturday afternoon against NLC rival Concord.
But once the Warriors got untracked, they never looked back in posting a 58-39 win over the visiting Minutemen.
Concord (6-14 overall, 0-6 NLC) came out with more drive and energy early in this one, taking advantage of four first-quarter three-pointers to get out to a quick 12-5 lead over the Warriors (9-9, 1-5).
The Minutemen held onto a slim 12-9 advantage at the first stop.
But midway through the second stanza, the Warriors began to come out of their early struggles.
The Warriors opened the second period with a 9-5 run to take their first lead of the night at 18-17 with just under four minutes remaining until halftime.
Wawasee began to pull away at that point, outscoring the Minutemen 11-2 over the remainder of the quarter to take a 29-19 advangate into the locker rooom.
The Warriors outscored the Minutemen 17-7 in the third to basically put the game out of reach.
Wawasee coach Kem Zolman credited Concord for getting out to the better start.
“They were able to hit some shots early,” Zolman said. “They came out with some energy.”
Defensive intensity in the second helped the Warriors turn things around, Zolman said.
“We were able to get some turnovers and turn those into points,” Zolman said.
KiLee Knafel led Wawasee with 33 points. Kylee Rostochak added 13.
MacKenzie Rutter led Concord with 13 points. Jade Iavagnilio added nine.
Concord coach Don Ross said his team did well on the offensive boards — with 12 rebounds —but had trouble finishing.
“We only got eight points off those rebounds,” Ross said. “But we did some good things early. We have some time to work on things this week, and we are excited about hosting the sectional tournament.”
The Warriors have two games remaining in the 2012-13 regular season: A nonconference contest Tuesday night on the road at Bremen, and the NLC finale next Friday night on the road at Northridge.
Concord, meanwhile, hosts South Bend Riley on Tuesday in a nonconferfence affair before closing out the NLC campaign Friday night at home against NorthWood.
Concord was a 26-15 winner in the J.V. contest as the Warrior jayvees dropped to 2-14 on the 2012-13 season.