CROWN POINT - The Warsaw Tigers boys basketball squad experienced early trouble on the road Saturday.

The host  Crown Point Bulldogs launched a 10-0 run at the game’s outset, which proved to be valuable toward their 68-55 finish.

The Tigers finished 1-1 for the weekend versus their two Duneland Athletic Conference foes to move their early season record to 3-3.

Tiger head coach Matt Moore commented on the weekend saying, “It's a weekend that you can get a lot from. That's why we play (almost) the whole Duneland Conference.”

Warsaw has a crack at three more Duneland foes: Portage next Saturday (at Grace College), a trip to Valparaiso on December 23, and a trip to LaPorte on January 23.

Kyle Dawson broke the schneid from Crown Point’s 10-0 run with an inside bucket and a free throw at the 4:05 first quarter mark. The Tigers had a run of their own, 8-4, to close the first period trailing 15-11.

Warsaw’s defensive success continued into the second stanza. They took their only lead of the game, 22-20, with 2:36 remaining in the half with a fadeaway jumper by junior guard Judah Simfukwe. The 6-foot junior guard scored eight of his team high 19 points in the second period. The guest’s lead slipped away 63 seconds later when Bulldog point guard Drew Adzia hit his first three-point basket for the night, putting the Tigers behind 25-24 at the half.

Adzia apparently was just warming up.

Crown Point’s 5’9 point guard, who had scored 19 points in his two previous games, ripped the nets for 19 points in the second half, including three treys and 7 of 7 free throw shooting. The Bulldogs’ floor leader finished with a game high 26 points.

Moore, regarding Adzia’s performance, said, “He knows what's going on, he makes open shots, he makes free throws, he doesn't get sped up. That's a point guard. That's a kid that knows how to run his team.”

Bishop Walters tied the ballgame at 31 with a three-point bucket with less than five minutes remaining in the third stanza, but Adzia and senior teammate Ty Smith tag-teamed to lead a 37-24 Crown Point run, clinching the host’s 68-55 victory. The Bulldog duo also sank 12 of their team’s 18 second-half free throws. The hosts were 20-22 overall, including a perfect 18-18 in the second half.

Moore summed up the foul issue by saying “I think our inability to defend the basketball right now is our first problem. Again, the trend is that we get fatigued, and it affects our ability to stand in front of the ball. We break down, and then we get 23 fouls while trying to block shots.”

The back-to-back games with a near two-hour bus ride thrown into the mix was a good test for the Tigers; strong Class 4A opposition, and a taste of the rigorous state tournament run.

Moore continued, “You don't get a bye to the sectional final. You're gonna play Friday night, then play Saturday.  We’re just not tough enough yet to be able to do that.”

There were some favorable takeaways as well. Moore commented on some of those instances

The Warsaw mentor said, “I like what Jackson Dawson did on the boards tonight. I thought Kyle (Dawson) gave us good minutes. Caleb (Sands), his voice has been good.”

Moore continued with some forward-moving thoughts, “We've got to find a group that's willing to continue to kind of hold each other accountable and encourage one another in the areas that that we are not consistently being held to standard.”

Crown Point’s other contributors to Adzia’s effort included Smith (16 points, 5 assists), Jake Oostman (11 points, 6 boards). Darren Roach led his team in rebounds grabbing 7 off the rim and glass.

Simfukwe’s 19-point effort for Warsaw was complimented by Jaxon Gould (8 points, 3 assists), Jackson Dawson (8 points, 6 caroms, 2 feeds), Luke Adamiec (5 points, 6 rebounds, 3 dishes), and Caleb Sands (4 points). Bishop Walters, Russ Winchester, and Kyle Dawson added three tallies apiece. Ben Bergen added 2 points.

The JV Tigers also came away with a loss, their hosts erased a 38-32 deficit with a 24-11 fourth quarter run to win 56-49. Drew Heckaman and Kyle Dawson scored 19 and 14 points, respectively. The Warsaw duo grabbed 6 boards apiece.

The Tigers will return to the hardwood to open conference play hosting the Wawasee Warriors Friday December 18th at (JV tip-off 6:15 p.m.). They’ll finish the weekend in the Grace College Champions of Character Tournament Saturday versus the Portage Indians (varsity tip-off 6:00 p.m.).