Junior Austin Miller of Wawasee performs a levitating act before driving to the basket during Friday night's home game against Warsaw. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Junior Austin Miller of Wawasee performs a levitating act before driving to the basket during Friday night's home game against Warsaw. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
SYRACUSE – A much different feeling than this time last year.

That’s how Warsaw boys basketball coach Doug Ogle summed up Friday night’s Northern Lakes Conference opener at Wawasee, a game the Tigers led from start to finish and won 50-39.

A year ago the rivals met in the Tiger Den, with a 30-28 Wawasee victory ending Warsaw’s 21-game conference win streak, as well as the Warriors’ 42-game NLC skid.

Friday night at the Hardwood Teepee in Syracuse was nothing like last year at all.

Improving to 4-2 overall, the Tigers led 15-4 after one quarter of play, 26-11 at halftime and 37-24 heading into the final frame.

Warsaw had three players score in double figures, and the Tigers shot 61 percent from the field as a team.

Just about the only hiccups were some ballhandling issues that led to second-half turnovers, and a 12-2 Wawasee rally that trimmed a 29-11 Warsaw lead to 31-23.

The Warriors, who fell to 1-5 overall, got no closer than eight points of the Tigers after trailing by 11 at the end of the first quarter.

“I liked how we played in the first half, to build a 15-point lead,” said Ogle, whose team improved Warsaw’s record to 58-15 in the all-time series with Wawasee.

“Then things got a little crazy in the second half and we didn’t execute nearly as well. But, once they got it down to eight, we stretched it back out again to 15 or 16.

“This was a good start for us in NLC Round 1. I thought (Tyler) Metzinger was pretty assertive, I liked that. Our defense on (Bennett) Hoffert, he was averaging 13 points a game, and I thought we did a good job. He did end up making a couple 3s. He took three 3s, and he’s been taking around six. We cut that in half. Had we done a better job handling the ball in the second half we could have really stretched it out.

“Wawasee continued to fight, they just would not quit. (Austin) Miller kept diving in and stealing the ball from us, but overall, our rebounding was good, shooting was good, we got to the free throw line 19 times which was the most this season so that’s a positive. They only got six, that’s the difference in the game, really.”

Senior point guard Nolan Groninger was 6 of 7 from the field and finished with 16 points, four rebounds and four assists for Warsaw.

Metzinger, also a senior, tallied 13 points, seven boards and four blocked shots.

Junior Wyatt Amiss, who scored the first five points of the game, made both three-pointers he attempted and finished with 13 points and four rebounds.

While Warsaw made 17 of 28 shot attempts, the host Warriors were 5 of 19 in the first half and 16 of 47 overall.

“To get behind 15 against a good program and a good coach like Doug Ogle it makes it really difficult ... 15 feels like 30,” said Wawasee coach Jon Everingham.

“I thought we had the possessions in the game to kind of sneak back in it, and I told the guys ‘let’s try to get it to 10, maybe single digits’ and it got loud in here. There was a key possession, I thought we had them rattled a little bit, and Coach Ogle had to use a couple key timeouts to kind of settle his team down.

“It’s a good sign for us ... I thought we played really hard. We’d like to put the ball in the basket just a little more. Half of the game we shot 26 percent. It’s hard to recover from that, and we did, and we actually got Warsaw thinking here they come, and they had to take some timeouts. It’s a credit to our guys that they believe in the gameplan, they believe in their coach, and they believe in each other. We just kept scrapping and clawing”

Junior Austin Miller scored a game-high 18 points for Wawasee, a performance that Everingham said would open some eyes.

Hoffert scored six points in the loss, and Marshal Miller and Aaron Evans chipped in with five points each.

With 11 points from Bishop Walters and 10 from Brock Poe, Warsaw won the JV game 46-35.

Jaydon Boyer led the Wawasee JV squad with 12 points.

The Tigers are in action again tonight with a game at Crown Point.

Wawasee travels to Columbia City Tuesday.


War    15    11    11    13    –    50

Waw    4    7    13    15    –    39

Warsaw – Nolan Groninger 6-7 4-4 16, Blake Marsh 2-3 0-0 4, Wyatt Amiss 2-4 7-8 13, Trevor Rumple 1-2 0-0 2, Conor Lennox 0-0 0-0 0, Jaylen Coon 0-1 0-0 0, Keagan Larsh 0-1 0-0 0, Tyler Metzinger 5-7 3-5 13, Jaylen Reese 1-3 0-0 2, Luke Adamiec 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 17-28 14-19 50.

Wawasee – Kameron Salazar 0-0 0-0 0, Marshal Miller 2-4 0-0 5, Bennett Hoffert 2-4 0-0 6, Ethan Carey 0-0 0-0 0, Austin Miller 8-16 1-4 18, Aaron Evans 2-10 1-2 5, Josh Slabaugh 1-8 0-0 2, Michael Hammer 0-0 0-0 0, Ethan Hardy 1-5 0-0 3. Totals 16-47 2-6 39.

Three-pointers – Warsaw 2 (Amiss 2), Wawasee 5 (Hoffert 2, M. Miller, A. Miller, Hardy); Rebounds – Warsaw 32 (Metzinger 7), Wawasee 16 (Hardy 6); Turnovers – Warsaw 13, Wawasee 5; Fouls – Warsaw 12, Wawasee 18; Fouled out – none; Records: Warsaw 4-2 (1-0 NLC), Wawasee 1-5 (0-1 NLC)

JV – Warsaw 46, Wawasee 35

Warsaw – Bishop Walters 11, Brock Poe 10, Jackson Dawson 9, Caleb Sands 6, Mason Martz 4, Graydon Brath 2, Ben Bergen 2, Landon Stanger 2

Wawasee – Jaydon Boyer 12, Keaton Dukes 6, Ethan Carey 6, Evan Dippon 3, Michael Hammer 3, Jackson Stover 2, Grant Brooks 2, Niles Hodges 1