Photo by Gary Nieter/Times-Union
Warsaw senior Ben Bergen tosses up a shot while driving down the lane during the second quarter of Tuesday night's home game against Penn.
Photo by Gary Nieter/Times-Union Warsaw senior Ben Bergen tosses up a shot while driving down the lane during the second quarter of Tuesday night's home game against Penn.
The Warsaw Tigers led the Penn Kingsmen almost the entire second half, but late turnovers and foul trouble resulted in a home loss at the hands of Penn 51-48 in the Tiger Den last night.

Penn sophomore guard Markus Burton, one of the area’s elite players, scored 19 second half points, and 28 for the night, to keep the guests close enough to sneak up and capture the win, but it was physical, defense-oriented forward Casey Schultz’s surprise three-point bucket that gave the Kingsmen their first lead of the second half, 49-48, with 26 seconds remaining in the contest. Burton added two free throws after being fouled on a steal from Tiger guard Judah Simfukwe to punctuate the visitors’ win.

Tiger head coach Matt Moore said, “Sometimes on good teams it’s the other guys that hurt you, and that’s what he did. That’s what players do. When you have the shot you make the shot. Credit to them for finding him.”

The Tigers’ starting backcourt committed seven of the team’s thirteen turnovers, and late foul trouble along with ball security issues contributed to the erosion of the host’s lead.

There were opportunities to seal Penn’s fate throughout the fourth quarter, but Moore cited lack of leadership as one the issues that prevent the Warsaw from holdng onto the lead.

“We don’t have leadership right now,” Moore said. “We don’t have a voice. We don’t have anyone in the locker room who’s gonna take a stand and say, ‘this is what we need to do, and this is how we’re gonna do it.’ It’s not gonna be me, but if it’s gonna be me we’re gonna continue to be the 6-6 basketball team you see tonight.”

There were seven lead changes and three ties in the first half. The Tigers sprinted to a 7-0 lead at 4:58, then led 12-11 after the first frame. Three first half three-point buckets by sophomore guard Markus Burton kept the Kingsmen in the contest and the two teams headed to the locker room tied 22-all.

Jackson Dawson quicky broke the halftime tie with an inside bucket, and all the Tigers points came from the charity stripe for the remainder of the period as Penn fouled their way into the bonus late in the third quarter and the Tigers held onto their lead outscoring the Kingsmen 9-5 for a 31-27 lead.

Burton’s 15 fourth quarter points helped Penn rack up 24 final period tallies to the Tigers 17 to close out the ballgame. The 5’10” guard also grabbed 5 boards for his team.

The Tigers held another opponent below 40%, with the Kingsmen hitting 18 for 47 (38%) shooting for the night including 4 of 13 beyond the arc for 31%.

Warsaw was led by Jackson Gould’s 16 points, and Ben Bergen had his second straight double figure game with 11 tallies. Simfukwe and Bishop Walters (6 points each), Dawson (4 points, 5 rebounds), Russ Winchester (3 points), and Graydon Brath rounded out the scoring for the hosts.

The JV Tigers scored 23 points in the third frame to pull away from Penn and clinch their 7th win of the season 56-38. Drew Heckaman scored 19 points, while only playing 12 minutes for the entire contest. Kyle Dawson added 14 points, and freshman Grady Nolin grabbed six boards for the victors.

Warsaw (6-6, 2-0) will travel to Goshen (4-5, 1-0) to resume Northern Lakes Conference action Friday night. JV tip-off will be 6:15 p.m.