Warsaw's Russell Winchester
Warsaw's Russell Winchester
MISHAWAKA — With Warsaw’s junior scoring ace out of the game and Penn’s junior scoring ace at the top of his game, the Kingsmen jumped in front early early and maintained double-digit spreads most of the way while downing the Tigers 71-59 in boys high school basketball Tuesday night at the Palace.

Slick and quick Markus Burton, who went into the night averaging 26.9, poured in 36 as overall No. 14-ranked Penn improved to 9-1.

Jaxson Gould, averaging 26 over his last seven games for Warsaw, was withheld from the contest due to injury, according to a school spokesperson.

It was not immediately known if Gould would be available when the Tigers (7-4) host Goshen in Northern Lakes Conference play Friday.

The Kingsmen bolted to a 10-1 lead in the opening two minutes, five of those points coming from Burton, and led 24-13 by the end of the opening quarter, 13 of those points coming from Burton.

He also led all rebounders on the night with nine to go with three assists and a game-high three steals. Burton hit 15-of-23 from the field with a pair of triples. He was 4-of-7 at the line.

Joey Garwood added 16 points for Penn, while fellow junior Joe Smith notched 11 points and a game-high five assists.

Junior Drew Heckaman led Warsaw with 15 points. Senior Judah Simfukwe added 14.

Theo Katris delivered a spark off the bench with 12 points on 5-of-6 from the field and 2-of-3 at the line, while fellow junior Russ Winchester chipped in nine points along with team highs of six rebounds and three assists.

The Kingsmen led 40-31 at the half.

The Tigers got as close at 41-34 in the second minute of the third quarter, but Penn kept at least a 10-point lead throughout the final quarter upon Burton getting the opening bucket of that period on a putback.

Al Rhodes, who spent the first 22 years of his Hall of Fame coaching career guiding Warsaw, defeated his former school for the second time in five tries all-time and for the second year in a row.

Rhodes notched his 650th career win against 316 losses. He was 405-133 in his days heading up the Tigers with 14 sectional, eight regional and four semistate crowns to go with the 1984 state title.

The Kingsmen were coming off their lone loss of the season, 74-73 on Saturday at overall No. 9 Valparaiso, when they relinquished an 11-point lead over the final four minutes.

The Tigers resume an absurdly brutal week in terms of opponent records when they host the Red Hawks (9-1) on Friday. That will be followed by a trip Saturday to Peru, which stands 11-0 heading into its Friday game against Maconaquah.

Warsaw hit 21-of-41 field goals against Penn with a pair of treys, but was just 15-of-24 at the line. The Tigers also committed 11 turnovers to the home team’s eight.

The Kingsmen closed at 26-of-48 from the field with five 3-pointers and 14-of-19 at the line. They took the rebounding battle 28-20.

Penn also won the junior varsity game, 46-34. Elijah Benson paced the JV Kingsmen (8-1) with 12 points. The JV Tigers (4-5) were led by Austin Polk with 11 and Brandt Martin with seven.