MIDDLEBURY — Warsaw coach Lenny Krebs bordered on apologetic that it wasn’t more aesthetic, yet Abby Sanner’s rebounding was downright beautiful, while Kensie Ryman’s free throw shooting proved pristine.

Because of those things and more, the top of the Northern Lakes Conference standings continued to look attractive to the Tigers as well after their 37-33 escape over Northridge in girls high school basketball Saturday night at the Middlebury Madhouse.

Ryman calmly drained 6-of-6 free throws over the final 32.9 seconds as Warsaw survived the Raiders’ late rally, and Sanner relentlessly cleaned the glass by hauling in 15 rebounds.

The junior’s most electric and pivotal board may have been the offensive one she hardly touched.

On it, she made a lunging tap save of a shot that appeared to be going out of bounds, getting the ball to teammate Audrey Grimm, who in turn found Kacliyn Krebs for a 3-pointer that put the Tigers up 29-20 with 4:35 to go.

“I’m going to find that play on film, and that’s going to be Abby Sanner’s reminder that she can actually move fast when she wants to move,” Lenny Krebs said with a smile. “That’s a hustle play, just one of those little things that are (hopefully) going to help us win a championship. That’s what we have to do.”

Class 4A No. 12-ranked Warsaw improved to 13-3 overall, 4-0 in the NLC with its fourth straight victory and ninth in its last 10 games. Northridge dropped to 11-7 and 1-2.

The Tigers remained tied atop the league standings with Goshen (13-3, 4-0), a 58-14 blowout winner Saturday at Concord. Everybody else has at least two conference losses.

Warsaw hosts Goshen on Senior Night next Saturday, but first the Tigers visit Mishawaka (4-8, 1-2) on Wednesday, and they’ve still got a trip to Concord on Jan. 23. Goshen still has two other league games as well.

“I just told them in the locker room that Mishawaka’s a trap game,” Krebs cautioned. “We can’t be looking forward to Goshen right now. Our focus has to be on Mishawaka.”

On Saturday, the focus was the Raiders, at least enough to win.

“You know what, this one wasn’t pretty,” Krebs said, “but we’re relying on our defense right now to carry us. I thought we continued to find ways to adjust and to make them work for everything they got.”

Northridge, which went into the night averaging 53.9 points, was held to a season low and shot just 32% from the field at 13-of-41 overall with five 3-pointers.

“That’s by far the worst shooting game we’ve had, but you’ve got to credit them,” Raider coach Doug Springer said of Warsaw. “They’re long and they pressure. They got us sped up in that first half. We were rushing shots that were our normal shots, but you could tell they were rushed instead of in the flow of the offense.”

Northridge still finished better from the field than the Tigers, who landed at 11-of-40 for 28% with four 3s.

Warsaw, though, got to the line more often, hitting 11-of-17 to the Raiders’ 2-of-2.

The visitors prevailed without putting a scorer in double figures. Sanner added nine points to her 15 boards. Ryman netted nine as well. The younger Krebs scored eight points, while Grimm finished with seven points, seven rebounds and all of her team’s three steals.

The Tigers led from the first basket onward, owned a 14-2 advantage by the opening minute of the second quarter and were up 17-4 a bit later for the game’s largest spread, but Northridge chipped away.

The Raiders got as close as 29-27 at 3:02 remaining in the fourth quarter thanks to a 7-0 run.

Down the stretch, though, the Tigers made sure Ryman got the ball whenever possible against frantically fouling Northridge, and the senior finished off the win.

She swished two free throws at 32.9 seconds for a 33-27 lead, made two more at 21.2 ticks after the Raiders closed to 33-30, then swished another pair at 8.7 left after Northridge closed to 35-33.

“She has struggled a little bit this year,” Krebs said of Ryman being 19-of-28 at the line heading into the game, “but she’s definitely still somebody we want there. She shot over 90% last year (38-of-42), and she’s a mature kid who loves that pressure.”

For Northridge — which has suffered all of its seven losses to teams that are 8-3 or better — junior Julia Mantyla scored a career-high 16 points and was 6-of-8 from the field with four 3-pointers. Senior Jaci Walker added nine points.

Warsaw, led by freshman Ava Wetzel’s eight points and 10 rebounds, also won the junior varsity game, 26-22. Lauren Grose added seven points.


WARSAW: Abby Sanner 4-12 1-1 9, Audrey Grimm 3-7 1-6 7, Kendall Wayne 0-2 1-2 1, Kacliyn Krebs 2-10 2-2 8, Kensie Ryman 1-6 6-6 9, Bailie Stephens 1-3 0-0 3. Totals: 11-40 (.275) 11-17 (.647) 37.

NORTHRIDGE: Jaci Walker 4-14 0-0 9, Makena Knepp 1-7 0-0 2, Brylee Froman 0-1 0-0 0, Julia Mantyla 6-8 0-0 16, Eva Fisher 2-10 0-0 4, Colleen Miller 0-1 2-2 2, Madyson Gorball 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-41 (.317) 2-2 (1.000) 33.



3-point goals: Warsaw (4-15) — Krebs 2-7, Stephens 1-2, Ryman 1-4; Northridge (5-18) — Mantyla 4-5, Walker 1-6. Rebounds: Warsaw (34) — Sanner 15, Grimm 7; Northridge (26) — Knepp 6, Walker 5. Assists: Warsaw (10) — Wayne 3, Ryman 3; Northridge (7) — Knepp 3. Steals: Warsaw (3) — Grimm 3; Northridge (4) — Knepp, Manytyla, Fisher, Miller 1 each. Total fouls: Warsaw 11, Northridge 13. Fouled out — none. Turnovers: Warsaw 12, Northridge 10.