Blood + Sweat + Tears = A Warsaw Tigers Sectional Title

March 3, 2024 at 4:10 p.m.
The Warsaw Tigers boys basketball team celebrates with its 41st sectional trophy in school history after defeating Penn 46-34 at North Side Gymnasium on Saturday night. It’s Warsaw’s first sectional title since 2017. Photo by Chip Davenport
The Warsaw Tigers boys basketball team celebrates with its 41st sectional trophy in school history after defeating Penn 46-34 at North Side Gymnasium on Saturday night. It’s Warsaw’s first sectional title since 2017. Photo by Chip Davenport


Blood, Sweat, and Tears – a band whose music was at its greatest popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s – would have been a fitting form of halftime entertainment at Elkhart’s Hoosier basketball temple, North Side Gymnasium. The Warsaw Tigers boys’ basketball team captured its 41st sectional title in the program’s history at this hallowed Hoosier Hysteria venue, defeating the Penn Kingsmen 46-34 Saturday night in the IHSAA Class 4A Sectional 4 battle.
The game had blood time-outs in the second, third and fourth quarters keeping Warsaw athletic trainer Cory Branham quite busy treating at least three athletes – 6’3” juniors Brandt Martin and Drew Sullivan, and 6’8” senior Luke Yeager – while applying and throwing away Branham’s fair share of nitrile gloves.
By game’s end, Martin, whose inside game has steadily improved throughout Warsaw’s current campaign, looked more like a wrestler in a sectional title than a basketball player as each nostril was plugged to prevent further bleeding in the latter part of Saturday’s game.
Despite Martin’s stop-start Saturday saga, nothing lodged in either nostril prevented him from missing his shots. He was 5-5 from the field, and 4-4 from the free throw line, including clutch fourth quarter freebies to finish with 14 points Saturday.

    Warsaw junior Brandt Martin tries to stop the bleeding on the sidelines. By the end of the game, both of Martin’s nostrils were plugged up. Photo by Chip Davenport


The sweat was everywhere as each squad’s defense afforded each other very few uncontested shots, and Penn stayed close in the first three periods of the game with unrelenting effort on the offensive boards. The sectional runner-up Kingsmen grabbed 11 caroms from the offensive glass.
The Tigers’ put a lot of sweat into a near-perfect ball control offense (five turnovers, none in the final quarter) to go along with eight assists from 15 made shots. Carson Gould found Tiger shooters for four of those eight feeds. Warsaw’s defense contested almost every Penn shot inside the three-point arc.
Trai Davis and Sullivan, each scoreless in the ballgame, still contributed by doing what they do best. Davis, one of five 6’3” juniors on the Tiger roster who saw action Saturday, disrupted Penn’s inside game playing with length beyond his listed height. Sullivan is a solid passer who also plays solid defense.
The tears were visible once the Tigers and their well-traveled fans hit the floor for a postgame net-cutting celebration.
Warsaw and Penn entered the contest’s final quarter with the Tigers ahead 28-26 when the eventual sectional champs used an 18-8 surge in the final stanza, and the orange and black’s two Lukes played a big part in an outstanding team effort pulling away from a persistent Penn squad.
Warsaw hit 7 of 10 field goals in the pull-away period led by Luke Bricker, another 6’3” junior listed on the Tigers’ roster, who scored 10 points in the final frame and finished the contest leading all scorers with 16. Bricker scored 36 points between two sectional games in a 26 ½ hour time span.
Luke Yeager, the lone Warsaw senior, blocked three shots for the evening (seven in two sectional games) and added two assertive dunks on the baseline resulting in the deflation of the Kingsmen in the final period. Yeager finished with 6 points and added a crucial fourth quarter steal to his stat line Saturday night.
Yeager could have landed a third baseline dunk, but he discussed how those plans changed when he found Bricker in one of his favorite shooting spots on the floor.
“I felt the double team coming from the opposite side,” the Olivet Nazarene University signee said, “Luke (Bricker) is a heck of a shooter, so I decided to give him the ball.”
“You dance with who brung ya,” Warsaw head coach Matt Moore added about the duo. “They’ve been big for us in key moments, and it was no different tonight… we had to get those guys touches in the second half, and they came through.”
Neither team had a consecutive run of more than five points until the end of the game during a contest highlighted by four lead changes and three ties.
Warsaw’s 12-3 late final period run was the streakiest stretch of the contest, and some of this was courtesy of Penn intentionally fouling Tiger hoopsters to send them to the line in hopes of getting an immediate ensuing possession.
“We passed (the ball) and caught it well,” Moore said regarding Warsaw’s fourth quarter separation from Penn. “As simple as that sounds, passing and catching led to big advantage shots for us, and that was key. Early in the year we had turnovers in those moments, but our guys stuck with it and made some plays.”
The first and second periods opened with scoreless droughts due to solid defense, not poor shooting.
Four minutes into the opening period, Warsaw had a 2-0 lead. The Tigers outscored Penn 7-5 the rest of the way punctuated by Bricker’s three-point bucket at the buzzer.
Robbie Finlinson, another – yes another - Warsaw 6’3” junior, broke the second period scoring schneid between the evening’s combatants with his only bucket of the game, hit from beyond the three-point arc at the second frame’s 6:29 mark. Finlinson finished with 8 points, nonetheless, with an 83% clip (5-6) at the free throw line.
Penn went to its bench with 6’4” freshman Peyton Miamba to whittle Warsaw’s 13-7 lead to a 19-17 Tiger advantage when the two teams regrouped in their respective locker rooms at halftime.
Miamba led the Kingsmen in scoring with 8 points for the contest. His second-period performance included six points (one 3-point basket and an inside “and-one” put-back), and his disruptive presence inside forced Warsaw to make effective adjustments for the remainder of the game. Miamba added two steals for his sectional runner-up squad.
Warsaw and Penn each put up 9 more points in the third period, the only period where each team scored within the first minute of action.
Moore’s 64th coaching win at Warsaw was also his first-ever sectional title victory, and the orange and black skipper was the first man torpedoing to half court to take the celebratory postgame dive with reckless abandon worthy of praise among any mosh-pit aficionados in attendance.
His elated players and coaches quickly followed.
Moore fielded postgame questions with blood streaked along his left temple, and spotted on his crisply ironed, sharply appointed outfit. The blood, however, was from the hugs his players gave him, not from the daring dive.
It was a special moment for Moore, who alluded to a game he watched in North Side Gymnasium between Warsaw and Penn in the 2020 sectional when discussing Saturday’s title-winning joy.
“(I) saw Coach (al) Rhodes (former Warsaw and Penn Coach) and Coach Ogle (Moore’s predecessor at Warsaw), never thinking I’d be at this moment here with this group, but it’s special to do it here with this team.”
Penn’s 12-39 (31%) shooting accuracy, including 4-17 (24%) from 3-point range, was further statistical evidence of a Tiger defense recently taking its finest form at the right time of the season.
The Kingsmen, who hit six of seven free throws committed only five turnovers. Dominic Bonner and Trey Miller each added seven points to Miamba’s aforementioned, team-leading eight tallies.
It’s rare in Class 4A basketball to see two starting quarterbacks on the court, let alone two starting quarterbacks who faced each other in another sport’s sectional final. Warsaw’s Drew Sullivan and Penn’s Nolan McCullough gave the fans a rare opportunity to witness such an event. McCullough added five points and a game-leading seven rebounds for Penn.
Warsaw’s 7-10 fourth quarter shooting from the field vaulted them over 50% for the game (15-29, 52%), and a- 12-15, 80% performance from the charity stripe contributed to the sectional title victory.
Gould rounded out the aforementioned Tiger individual scoring efforts with two points courtesy of a mid-range jumper from the key’s right elbow. The only Tiger junior on the floor Saturday who was not listed at 6’3” furnished solid floor leadership, and sound defense on the perimeter. He also picked up one of two Warsaw steals and finished the sectional with 9 assists in two games.
Warsaw (19-5) continues its post-season run at the Michigan City regional against Crown Point (19-5). Tip-off is 7 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST)/8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). The game will be preceded by Mishawaka (19-7) doing battle with East Chicago Central (22-4) at 4 p.m. CST/5 p.m. EST.
The winners of each regional game will advance to one of four Northern semistate venues versus an opponent to be determined via blind draw on IHSAA-TV Sunday, March 10.

Blood, Sweat, and Tears – a band whose music was at its greatest popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s – would have been a fitting form of halftime entertainment at Elkhart’s Hoosier basketball temple, North Side Gymnasium. The Warsaw Tigers boys’ basketball team captured its 41st sectional title in the program’s history at this hallowed Hoosier Hysteria venue, defeating the Penn Kingsmen 46-34 Saturday night in the IHSAA Class 4A Sectional 4 battle.
The game had blood time-outs in the second, third and fourth quarters keeping Warsaw athletic trainer Cory Branham quite busy treating at least three athletes – 6’3” juniors Brandt Martin and Drew Sullivan, and 6’8” senior Luke Yeager – while applying and throwing away Branham’s fair share of nitrile gloves.
By game’s end, Martin, whose inside game has steadily improved throughout Warsaw’s current campaign, looked more like a wrestler in a sectional title than a basketball player as each nostril was plugged to prevent further bleeding in the latter part of Saturday’s game.
Despite Martin’s stop-start Saturday saga, nothing lodged in either nostril prevented him from missing his shots. He was 5-5 from the field, and 4-4 from the free throw line, including clutch fourth quarter freebies to finish with 14 points Saturday.

    Warsaw junior Brandt Martin tries to stop the bleeding on the sidelines. By the end of the game, both of Martin’s nostrils were plugged up. Photo by Chip Davenport


The sweat was everywhere as each squad’s defense afforded each other very few uncontested shots, and Penn stayed close in the first three periods of the game with unrelenting effort on the offensive boards. The sectional runner-up Kingsmen grabbed 11 caroms from the offensive glass.
The Tigers’ put a lot of sweat into a near-perfect ball control offense (five turnovers, none in the final quarter) to go along with eight assists from 15 made shots. Carson Gould found Tiger shooters for four of those eight feeds. Warsaw’s defense contested almost every Penn shot inside the three-point arc.
Trai Davis and Sullivan, each scoreless in the ballgame, still contributed by doing what they do best. Davis, one of five 6’3” juniors on the Tiger roster who saw action Saturday, disrupted Penn’s inside game playing with length beyond his listed height. Sullivan is a solid passer who also plays solid defense.
The tears were visible once the Tigers and their well-traveled fans hit the floor for a postgame net-cutting celebration.
Warsaw and Penn entered the contest’s final quarter with the Tigers ahead 28-26 when the eventual sectional champs used an 18-8 surge in the final stanza, and the orange and black’s two Lukes played a big part in an outstanding team effort pulling away from a persistent Penn squad.
Warsaw hit 7 of 10 field goals in the pull-away period led by Luke Bricker, another 6’3” junior listed on the Tigers’ roster, who scored 10 points in the final frame and finished the contest leading all scorers with 16. Bricker scored 36 points between two sectional games in a 26 ½ hour time span.
Luke Yeager, the lone Warsaw senior, blocked three shots for the evening (seven in two sectional games) and added two assertive dunks on the baseline resulting in the deflation of the Kingsmen in the final period. Yeager finished with 6 points and added a crucial fourth quarter steal to his stat line Saturday night.
Yeager could have landed a third baseline dunk, but he discussed how those plans changed when he found Bricker in one of his favorite shooting spots on the floor.
“I felt the double team coming from the opposite side,” the Olivet Nazarene University signee said, “Luke (Bricker) is a heck of a shooter, so I decided to give him the ball.”
“You dance with who brung ya,” Warsaw head coach Matt Moore added about the duo. “They’ve been big for us in key moments, and it was no different tonight… we had to get those guys touches in the second half, and they came through.”
Neither team had a consecutive run of more than five points until the end of the game during a contest highlighted by four lead changes and three ties.
Warsaw’s 12-3 late final period run was the streakiest stretch of the contest, and some of this was courtesy of Penn intentionally fouling Tiger hoopsters to send them to the line in hopes of getting an immediate ensuing possession.
“We passed (the ball) and caught it well,” Moore said regarding Warsaw’s fourth quarter separation from Penn. “As simple as that sounds, passing and catching led to big advantage shots for us, and that was key. Early in the year we had turnovers in those moments, but our guys stuck with it and made some plays.”
The first and second periods opened with scoreless droughts due to solid defense, not poor shooting.
Four minutes into the opening period, Warsaw had a 2-0 lead. The Tigers outscored Penn 7-5 the rest of the way punctuated by Bricker’s three-point bucket at the buzzer.
Robbie Finlinson, another – yes another - Warsaw 6’3” junior, broke the second period scoring schneid between the evening’s combatants with his only bucket of the game, hit from beyond the three-point arc at the second frame’s 6:29 mark. Finlinson finished with 8 points, nonetheless, with an 83% clip (5-6) at the free throw line.
Penn went to its bench with 6’4” freshman Peyton Miamba to whittle Warsaw’s 13-7 lead to a 19-17 Tiger advantage when the two teams regrouped in their respective locker rooms at halftime.
Miamba led the Kingsmen in scoring with 8 points for the contest. His second-period performance included six points (one 3-point basket and an inside “and-one” put-back), and his disruptive presence inside forced Warsaw to make effective adjustments for the remainder of the game. Miamba added two steals for his sectional runner-up squad.
Warsaw and Penn each put up 9 more points in the third period, the only period where each team scored within the first minute of action.
Moore’s 64th coaching win at Warsaw was also his first-ever sectional title victory, and the orange and black skipper was the first man torpedoing to half court to take the celebratory postgame dive with reckless abandon worthy of praise among any mosh-pit aficionados in attendance.
His elated players and coaches quickly followed.
Moore fielded postgame questions with blood streaked along his left temple, and spotted on his crisply ironed, sharply appointed outfit. The blood, however, was from the hugs his players gave him, not from the daring dive.
It was a special moment for Moore, who alluded to a game he watched in North Side Gymnasium between Warsaw and Penn in the 2020 sectional when discussing Saturday’s title-winning joy.
“(I) saw Coach (al) Rhodes (former Warsaw and Penn Coach) and Coach Ogle (Moore’s predecessor at Warsaw), never thinking I’d be at this moment here with this group, but it’s special to do it here with this team.”
Penn’s 12-39 (31%) shooting accuracy, including 4-17 (24%) from 3-point range, was further statistical evidence of a Tiger defense recently taking its finest form at the right time of the season.
The Kingsmen, who hit six of seven free throws committed only five turnovers. Dominic Bonner and Trey Miller each added seven points to Miamba’s aforementioned, team-leading eight tallies.
It’s rare in Class 4A basketball to see two starting quarterbacks on the court, let alone two starting quarterbacks who faced each other in another sport’s sectional final. Warsaw’s Drew Sullivan and Penn’s Nolan McCullough gave the fans a rare opportunity to witness such an event. McCullough added five points and a game-leading seven rebounds for Penn.
Warsaw’s 7-10 fourth quarter shooting from the field vaulted them over 50% for the game (15-29, 52%), and a- 12-15, 80% performance from the charity stripe contributed to the sectional title victory.
Gould rounded out the aforementioned Tiger individual scoring efforts with two points courtesy of a mid-range jumper from the key’s right elbow. The only Tiger junior on the floor Saturday who was not listed at 6’3” furnished solid floor leadership, and sound defense on the perimeter. He also picked up one of two Warsaw steals and finished the sectional with 9 assists in two games.
Warsaw (19-5) continues its post-season run at the Michigan City regional against Crown Point (19-5). Tip-off is 7 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST)/8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). The game will be preceded by Mishawaka (19-7) doing battle with East Chicago Central (22-4) at 4 p.m. CST/5 p.m. EST.
The winners of each regional game will advance to one of four Northern semistate venues versus an opponent to be determined via blind draw on IHSAA-TV Sunday, March 10.

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