Warsaw senior Jordan Stookey drives to the basket during Thursday night's game against Plymouth. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Warsaw senior Jordan Stookey drives to the basket during Thursday night's game against Plymouth. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Playing their final Northern Lakes Conference game of the season, trying to avoid an overall five-game losing streak, the Warsaw Tigers committed just six turnovers Thursday night.
They held rival Plymouth to 38 points and only allowed 6-foot-9 NCAA Division I signee Mack Mercer to make one field goal.
That sounds like a recipe for success.
Things didn’t end so well for the Tigers, however, as four of their six turnovers came at critical times in the fourth quarter, they struggled shooting the ball and the Pilgrims left town with a 38-31 win.
“Our ball-handling up until the last four minutes (of the game) was really good,” said Warsaw coach Doug Ogle. “Then we lost focus a little bit.”
A three-pointer by senior Jordan Stookey cut Plymouth’s advantage to 31-28 with 4:40 remaining in the game, but a turnover by Warsaw resulted in a layup by the Pilgrims’ Josh Anders.
Warsaw trimmed the deficit to three again, as junior Tim Swanson’s three-pointer made it 34-31, but Plymouth scored the final four points of the game, including a pair of free throws from freshman Nick Felke with 37 seconds left.
“We had too many empty possessions late in the game,” said Ogle. “Down the stretch, we just had too many turnovers. It was nice to see us outrebound someone, that’s a big step for us, but the fourth-quarter turnovers hurt us.”
Shooting just 29 percent from the field hurt the Tigers too.
Warsaw, now 9-8 overall and 2-5 in the NLC, finished the game 10 of 34 overall, 4 of 17 from the arc, and 7 of 8 at the free throw line.
“Swanson, coming into the game, was shooting 50 percent (from the arc),” said Ogle. “Nate Pearl is in the 40s. Thirteen of the 17 threes were by guys we wanted shooting them. We got good shots, we just didn’t make them.”
Swanson and Pearl were a combined 2 of 13 from the arc.
While Warsaw struggled with its shooting touch, the Pilgrims made 52 percent of their field goal attempts.
Plymouth made a sizzling 71 percent of their attempts in the second half.
“This is a great win for us,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Bales, whose team improved to 6-9 overall and 1-5 in conference play. “We’ve been here before. We’ve been close in the fourth quarter of our conference games. The guys didn’t hesitate, and we made plays.”
Anders, a freshman, came off the bench to score 11 points for the Pilgrims, while Nick Felke chipped in with eight points.
Mercer and senior Tom Felke scored six points each in the win.
Mercer, who will play college basketball for Bellmont University, grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.
Mercer has missed a number of games this season with an illness.
Bales said Thursday night he was playing at “about 85 percent.”
“This is the healthiest he’s been this season,” Bales said of Mercer. “He’s starting to get his legs under him. Just his presence and his leadership is big for us.”
Plymouth, which has won its last three meetings with Warsaw, led 10-9 after one quarter of play, 21-15 at halftime and 25-21 at the end of the third quarter.
Stookey led the Tigers with a game-high 16 points, while Swanson chipped in with eight points.
No other Warsaw player scored more than three points.
With junior Rashaan Jackson out the past four games because of an athletic code violation, the Tigers have struggled offensively.
“We’re in a frustrating situation,” said Ogle. “We’re trying to get things going. We have three games left and about 12 practices to get ready for the sectional.”
The Tigers are in action again Tuesday when they host Elkhart Christian, while Plymouth travels to Penn for a Saturday afternoon game.

P    10    11    4    13    –    38
W    9    6    6    10    –    31
Plymouth – Matt Flynn 1-1 0-2 2, Jack Barron 0-0 0-0 0, Nick Felke 2-2 2-2 8, Nick Bayley 0-0 0-0 0, Mack Mercer 1-5 3-5 6, Reis Yoder 2-3 0-0 5, Trent Briles 0-3 0-0 0, Josh Anders 5-6 1-2 11, Tom Felke 2-5 2-4 6. Totals 13-25 8-15 38.
Warsaw – Paul Marandet 1-2 0-0 2, Peyton Long 0-0 0-0 0, Cameron Hoskins 0-0 0-0 0, Nate Pearl 1-6 0-0 2, Tim Swanson 2-9 2-2 8, Jake Mangas 1-3 1-2 3, Jordan Stookey 5-13 4-4 16, Riley Rhoades 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 10-34 7-8 31.
Three-pointers – Plymouth 4 (N. Felke 2, Mercer, Yoder), Warsaw 4 (Swanson 2, Stookey 2); Rebounds – Plymouth 19 (Mercer 7), Warsaw 22 (Mangas 6); Turnovers – Plymouth 8, Warsaw 6; Fouls – Plymouth 15, Warsaw 16; Fouled out – none; Records: Plymouth 6-9, 1-5 NLC
JV – Warsaw 45, Plymouth 33
Warsaw – Kyle Mangas 14, Luke Wilson 6, Xavier Lynch 5, Matt Anthony 5, Tyler Packard 4, Jeremy David 3, Evan Schmidt 3, Riley Rhoades 3, Tyler Murphy 2