Warsaw senior Judah Simfukwe has a rough time getting his shot off under the basket as Tippecanoe Valley's Dawson Perkins denies an easy two points.
Warsaw senior Judah Simfukwe has a rough time getting his shot off under the basket as Tippecanoe Valley's Dawson Perkins denies an easy two points.
AKRON –  Isaiah 11:6 reads, “…and a little child shall lead them.” Warsaw freshman Carson Gould, the team’s backup point guard, was challenged by Tiger head coach Matt Moore to assemble a team to start the second half determined to reverse their fortunes. Gould the Younger had one quarter of eligibility left due to the periods he was used in the junior varsity game.

Trailing 31-25 at halftime, the lineup Gould the Younger selected resulted in Warsaw putting the cuffs on Valley with a 16-2 third quarter, vanquishing the Vikings 56-40 in the host team’s final home game in Akron last night.

“At halftime I challenged them,” Moore said, “‘If you wanna play the rest of the season you’re gonna have to guard. Otherwise, I’m gonna play the guys who wanna put in the effort.’ I told Carson Gould he has one quarter left to play, and to pick the four guys he wants to play with... They came out and did a tremendous job setting the tone, and that made the difference.”

Judah Simfukwe, Jaxson Gould – each held to four first half points – and Drew Heckaman combined for 14 of Warsaw’s 16 third quarter points in the turnaround frame. It took them a little more than two minutes to knot the score at 31, and they continued to roll until they closed the period ahead 41-33.

Valley finally broke their third frame schneid on Tayde Kiser’s bucket with 1:37 left in the quarter. Kiser finished the night with 14 points for the Vikings.

It was a sharp contrast to the first half, where Tippecanoe Valley shot 65% from the field, and Warsaw, conversely, hit 36% of their 22 field goal attempts. Valley lead 17-10 after one quarter, and 31-25 at halftime behind Nolan Cumberland’s 18 points.

Cumberland was open for only one third quarter shot, and three shots in the final period, but the 6’3” Viking junior did not score in the second half. His 18 points were still sufficient for a game-high scoring performance. Tippecanoe Valley shot 20% on 4 of 20 from the field in the second half.

“They just picked up their defensive pressure in the second half, and we just went one-on-one,” Viking head coach Chad Patrick said. “We didn’t play team basketball like we did in the first half. We’re a really good team but we’re not gonna beat teams going one-on-one.

“I didn’t think we fought very hard in the second half… we just kind of lost our minds a little bit. We didn’t maintain our composure. It was frustrating because we really played a great first half.”

Warsaw, on the other hand, turned up the heat and played more physical second half basketball.

“Sometimes we can overcomplicate it as coaches,” Moore said. “We’re trapping, we’re playing some zone… we have some guys who are athletic and competitive, and you saw that in the second half.”

Simfukwe (15 points), Heckaman (14 points, 3 assists), and Jaxson Gould (11 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, 1 blocked shot) led the Tigers offensively.

Each team closes its regular season on the road Friday night. Warsaw (15-7) travels to Carroll, and Valley (13-8) will visit Wawasee, the site of their Class 3A sectional.

The Tigers junior varsity trailed 21-18 entering the final period and used a 19-8 surge to capture the early game 37-29. Brandt Martin (13 points, 6 rebounds) and Andrew Potter (10 points) led the victors. Carson Gould dished out 5 assists. Nathan Parker (8 points), Cooper Walls (7 points), and Kyler Johnson (5 points, 9 rebounds) led the Vikings’ offense.