Photo by Gary Nieter/Times-Union
Referee Brett Patrick keeps a close eye on the action as Warsaw senior Kendall Wayne steals the ball from Plymouth's Taylor Delp.
Photo by Gary Nieter/Times-Union Referee Brett Patrick keeps a close eye on the action as Warsaw senior Kendall Wayne steals the ball from Plymouth's Taylor Delp.

The Warsaw Lady Tigers came into last night’s game against Plymouth having won seven of their past eight games while averaging 53 points per game.

Make it eight of nine.

Now ranked 12th in John Harrell’s Class 4A standings and 30th overall in the Sagarin overall state ratings, Coach Lenny Krebs’ team is now 12-3 with their only losses coming against Penn, ranked 1st in the state coaches poll, 7th-ranked Fishers and Norwell, ranked one place ahead of the Lady Tigers.

With the expection of one shortlived scoring streak,    Plymouth’s Lady Pilgrims were outmatched from the outset, giving up five turnovers and allowing a 10-0 run by Warsaw in the first quarter. For the game, Plymouth committed 21 turnovers which Warsaw converted into 16  points.

“Our identity is starting to become our defense,” Krebs said. “It keeps us in games when we’re not shooting the ball that well. Finally something clicked in our man-to-man defense and that really helped us. We definitely need that going forward.”

Neither team was able to find the basket early on until Plymouth finally sank two free throws with 3:49 left in the first quarter. Bailie Stephens got Warsaw on the board with a basket as soon as she came into the game moments later. Stephens scored two free throws moments later to make it 4-2 Warsaw.

Two steals and a layup by Kendall Wayne put the Lady TIgers up 8-4. A basket by Audrey Grimm was followed immediately by a steal and a layup by Stephens that made the score 12-4 at the end of the first quarter.

Kacilyn Krebs drilled a three-pointer to extend the Lady Tigers’ run to 13-0 to begin the second quarter.

Plymouth finally scored again on a three-pointer, then went on a 10-0 run of their own, closing the margin to 15-14. Wayne drilled a three pointer to finally stop the comeback.

Both teams traded baskets to finish the quarter with Warsaw ahead by only five at 23-18 after having held a 13 point lead early in the second quarter.

Stephens got Warsaw going off the bench and led the Lady Tigers in scoring at halftime with eight points.

“Two people were a spark   for us tonight,” Krebs added. “Bailie Stephens is that super sub we have that gives us lots of energy.

“And I challenged Kendall Wayne to be aggressive on defense and from that her offensive confidence started to come.”

Down by five to begin the second half, Plymouth scored quickly to get within three but the Lady Tigers found their rhythm again and went on a 15-point run to push their lead to 37-22. Plymouth didn’t score again until  a minute to play in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter began with Warsaw ahead 39-26 largely because of the solid defense of Wayne, Sanner and Grimm. Wayne’s second three-pointer of the game followed by another jumper gave Warsaw an insurmountable 18-point lead.

The Lady Tigers allowed Plymouth only four more points and won 52-30, now having held their last three opponents to 32 or fewer points.

Warsaw was led in scoring by Wayne with a career-high 14 points. Audrey Grimm and Stephens both had 10 points as the Lady Tigers improved to 12-3 (3-0 NLC) on the season. No Lady Pilgrim scored more than eight points.

“Credit Plymouth, they’re a pretty darn good 5-7 team,” Krebs added. “And we’ll take that balanced scoring any day of the week versus a 25-point scorer. Bailie and Kendall really stepped up and off we were going. We need people to step up and give us that balanced scoring every single game.”

In JV action, Warsaw won 32-24 to go to 9-3 on the season.

Warsaw plays Northridge in an away contest on Saturday.