MISHAWAKA — Warsaw found itself a measuring stick at Penn, a stick that the top-ranked Kingsmen wielded without mercy.

Led by reigning Northern Indiana Conference MVP Trinity Clinton pouring in 22 points and grabbing three steals, and Ohio State recruit Kaitlyn Costner flirting with a double-double, Penn rolled to a 61-30 victory in an early-season showdown of girls high school basketball unbeatens Tuesday night.

“This one caught me off guard,” Tiger coach Lenny Krebs confessed. “Penn’s got a nice, nice ball club, take nothing away from them — definitely improved in some areas from when we saw them last year — but I didn’t think we competed the way I thought we could.

“I’m not talking about how hard we ran up and down the floor, but just the process that got us here,” Krebs continued. “I’m the leader of the group, so I’m going to take the blame. This one is on me.”

Warsaw (4-1) will attempt to bounce back quickly. The Tigers play Saturday afternoon at No. 8-ranked Fishers (6-1).

Facing the Kingsmen’s blend of trapping defenses, Warsaw coughed up 22 turnovers to just eight for the hosts. Penn (5-0) frequently converted the takeaways into baskets.

The Tigers grabbed their only lead of the night at 9-8 on Kendall Wayne’s 3-pointer to start the second quarter, but the Kingsmen outscored the visitors 19-3 over the rest of the period for a 27-12 halftime advantage and were never threatened.

“After a quarter, I thought we were in good shape, but it seemed the bottom dropped out after that,” Krebs said, “and that’s where we lost a bit of our composure, the mental toughness that has to kick in at that point, but we’ll definitely get it fixed.”

Penn had narrowly escaped against host Warsaw in last year’s sectional championship, falling 45-44, but in the rematch, the Kingsmen sent the Tigers to their most lopsided defeat since a 64-33 to none other than the Kingsmen as well in a 2016 sectional final.

“That’s a tough question,” Penn coach Kristi Ulrich said of why the last meeting was decided by one point and this one by 31. “Obviously, there are some differences in the personnel and it’s early in the season. I know they’ve been missing some kids. We’ve been missing some kids, too, so it’s hard for anybody to get a flow right now.”

That said, “I thought our kids collectively played a great game offensively and defensively tonight,” Ulrich added. “They shared the ball well, were very unselfish, so I’m really proud of their effort.”

“They’ve got a great team,” Krebs said of the Kingsmen. “We would love another opportunity to play them come sectional time. Whether we get there or not remains to be seen.”

Both teams will be in the Class 4A sectional at Goshen in February.

The Tigers were unable to put a scorer in double figures Tuesday, with freshman Ava Wetzel bouncing off the bench to wind up their leader at seven points, all in the fourth quarter, including 3-of-3 shooting from the field.

Wayne and Abby Sanner grabbed seven rebounds each for Warsaw, with Wayne tallying five points, Audrey Grimm five and Abby Sanner four.

Jordyn Smith scored 11 points and made two steals for Penn to complement Clinton’s performance. Costner scored eight points and grabbed nine rebounds to go with four assists, while Grace Adams chipped in seven points, six boards and four steals.

As a team, the Kingsmen made nine steals to just one for the Tigers.

Warsaw, which has not had its full varsity roster for any game this season, played without Kacilyn Krebs, who is nursing inflammation in her knee.

“She could’ve played, but it’s not worth the risk,” said Lenny Krebs, her father as well as her coach. “Her kneecap is doing things it shouldn’t be doing. We’ll try to get her healthy by the conference opener (Dec. 1 at NorthWood).”



Manchester girls top Wawasee on road

The Manchester Lady Squires pulled off a close road win at Wawasee for their first victory of the season.

After falling beind early, the Lady Squires put together a strong effort to close the third quarter on a 15-0 run and held on for the 54-49 win over the Lady Warriors.