Warsaw Cruises To Season-Opening Win Over North Side

November 1, 2023 at 10:05 p.m.
Junior Brooke Winchester of Warsaw takes a hard foul while working under the basket in the first quarter. Photo by Gary Nieter
Junior Brooke Winchester of Warsaw takes a hard foul while working under the basket in the first quarter. Photo by Gary Nieter (Gary Nieter)

By Connor McCann

Back like it never left, high school girls basketball returned to Kosciusko County on Wednesday night at the Tiger Den as Warsaw hosted Fort Wayne North Side to tip off the 2023-24 season. It was a terrific performance by the young Lady Tiger team, as Warsaw got off to an early lead and never looked back, cruising to a 68-28 win to start the year at 1-0.
“I thought our effort and intensity was great, I loved what I saw tonight,” head coach Lenny Krebs said after the game. “We almost bordered on out of control at times but we were able to figure it out and walk that line. We want to find that middle ground of playing fast and under control.”
Lady Tiger fans didn’t have to wait long to see a welcome and familiar sight, as the game’s first points were scored by the sharp shooting Brooke Zartman on a three ball. The first shot of the game finding the bottom of the net set the tone both for Warsaw and for Zartman, who dazzled spectators with her ability to score from anywhere on the court at any given time. 

    Warsaw sophomore Brooke Zartman hits a three-pointer in the first quarter of Wednesday night's home opener against Fort Wayne North Side. Photo by Gary Nieter


Another key to the Lady Tigers’ early success was the strong defensive pressure the home side was getting from all five players on the court at any given time. Ball handlers for North Side were dealt with physically, with driving room sparse for any player getting the ball at the perimeter. Warsaw was also doing extremely well rotating its defenders around, using the constant motion to throw off the Lady Legends and come away with a ton of steals.
“I’m a defensive guy,” Lenny Krebs said. “I love holding opponents to under 40, we harp on it so much. The pace of play that we play at can cause a lot of fatigue and all of our kids have worked really hard at getting better defensively.”
Outside of a couple of outside shots by Zartman, the Lady Tiger offense struggled to get going in the early game, but thanks to some quality defense and timely rebounding, it wouldn’t take long for the home side to figure it out.
“When we are playing well offensively, we are capable of putting points on the board quickly,” Krebs said. “You saw tonight that when we get rolling, we can put together an 8-10 point run in the blink of an eye.”
Zartman wasn’t the only Brooke getting it done in the Tiger Den on Wednesday night. Junior and Ball State commit Brooke Winchester was the second Warsaw player to find some rhythm offensively, burning North Side from the outside and the paint, while also dominating the glass to hold the Lady Legends to just one shot on their side of the court while getting her teammates additional looks on their side of the floor.
“Brooke is a matchup nightmare to deal with. You can put a bigger girl on her and she’ll beat you at the perimeter. You can put a smaller defender on her and she’ll bully you in the paint,” Krebs said. “She wants nothing more than to be the best she can be and is so committed to doing whatever it takes to win.”
Leading by 20 going into the second quarter, the Lady Tigers were able to use the same recipe to continue to extend their lead. Winchester joined Zartman by getting into double figures early in the second. Also coming alive to hit a couple of jumpers off the bench was sophomore Kelsey Wrenn, who added five points of her own in the second set of eight minutes. Joslyn Bricker, who was a revelation for Warsaw off the bench as a freshman last year, did well as the team’s starting point guard in the opener, moving the ball around crisply while also not being afraid to find a look for herself. A dominant first half by Warsaw saw the Lady Tigers heading into the locker room with a 50-15 lead.
Even with the running clock already in motion to begin the second half, Warsaw didn’t let its foot off of the gas. Alexis Neely, who had five points in the first half, more than doubled her scoring total by nailing two threes in the first few minutes to give the Lady Tigers their third player in double figures. Moments later, Bricker would hit a layup to become the fourth.
After three quarters the Warsaw lead had grown to 43, leading to some extended playing time for reserves in the fourth. Wrenn made her second three of the night during this final period while freshman Lucy Andrews got onto the scoreboard as well. The action that was once lightning-quick to begin the game slowed down significantly as the Lady Tigers cruised to victory.
Zartman led all scorers with 20 points. Winchester ended the night with a double-double, putting up 14 points and ten rebounds. Neely finished with eleven points while Bricker ended the night with 10. Both players had six rebounds. Wrenn rounded out the top five with eight points.
Warsaw will take on Norwell at home on Saturday evening.
“We got off to a good start tonight but we are not satisfied,” Krebs said. “I’m not interested in being a well-oiled machine in November or December. I’m interested in being a well-oiled machine at the end of January when it counts. We play a lot of good teams this year, so there’s a lot of opportunities to get better.”

Back like it never left, high school girls basketball returned to Kosciusko County on Wednesday night at the Tiger Den as Warsaw hosted Fort Wayne North Side to tip off the 2023-24 season. It was a terrific performance by the young Lady Tiger team, as Warsaw got off to an early lead and never looked back, cruising to a 68-28 win to start the year at 1-0.
“I thought our effort and intensity was great, I loved what I saw tonight,” head coach Lenny Krebs said after the game. “We almost bordered on out of control at times but we were able to figure it out and walk that line. We want to find that middle ground of playing fast and under control.”
Lady Tiger fans didn’t have to wait long to see a welcome and familiar sight, as the game’s first points were scored by the sharp shooting Brooke Zartman on a three ball. The first shot of the game finding the bottom of the net set the tone both for Warsaw and for Zartman, who dazzled spectators with her ability to score from anywhere on the court at any given time. 

    Warsaw sophomore Brooke Zartman hits a three-pointer in the first quarter of Wednesday night's home opener against Fort Wayne North Side. Photo by Gary Nieter


Another key to the Lady Tigers’ early success was the strong defensive pressure the home side was getting from all five players on the court at any given time. Ball handlers for North Side were dealt with physically, with driving room sparse for any player getting the ball at the perimeter. Warsaw was also doing extremely well rotating its defenders around, using the constant motion to throw off the Lady Legends and come away with a ton of steals.
“I’m a defensive guy,” Lenny Krebs said. “I love holding opponents to under 40, we harp on it so much. The pace of play that we play at can cause a lot of fatigue and all of our kids have worked really hard at getting better defensively.”
Outside of a couple of outside shots by Zartman, the Lady Tiger offense struggled to get going in the early game, but thanks to some quality defense and timely rebounding, it wouldn’t take long for the home side to figure it out.
“When we are playing well offensively, we are capable of putting points on the board quickly,” Krebs said. “You saw tonight that when we get rolling, we can put together an 8-10 point run in the blink of an eye.”
Zartman wasn’t the only Brooke getting it done in the Tiger Den on Wednesday night. Junior and Ball State commit Brooke Winchester was the second Warsaw player to find some rhythm offensively, burning North Side from the outside and the paint, while also dominating the glass to hold the Lady Legends to just one shot on their side of the court while getting her teammates additional looks on their side of the floor.
“Brooke is a matchup nightmare to deal with. You can put a bigger girl on her and she’ll beat you at the perimeter. You can put a smaller defender on her and she’ll bully you in the paint,” Krebs said. “She wants nothing more than to be the best she can be and is so committed to doing whatever it takes to win.”
Leading by 20 going into the second quarter, the Lady Tigers were able to use the same recipe to continue to extend their lead. Winchester joined Zartman by getting into double figures early in the second. Also coming alive to hit a couple of jumpers off the bench was sophomore Kelsey Wrenn, who added five points of her own in the second set of eight minutes. Joslyn Bricker, who was a revelation for Warsaw off the bench as a freshman last year, did well as the team’s starting point guard in the opener, moving the ball around crisply while also not being afraid to find a look for herself. A dominant first half by Warsaw saw the Lady Tigers heading into the locker room with a 50-15 lead.
Even with the running clock already in motion to begin the second half, Warsaw didn’t let its foot off of the gas. Alexis Neely, who had five points in the first half, more than doubled her scoring total by nailing two threes in the first few minutes to give the Lady Tigers their third player in double figures. Moments later, Bricker would hit a layup to become the fourth.
After three quarters the Warsaw lead had grown to 43, leading to some extended playing time for reserves in the fourth. Wrenn made her second three of the night during this final period while freshman Lucy Andrews got onto the scoreboard as well. The action that was once lightning-quick to begin the game slowed down significantly as the Lady Tigers cruised to victory.
Zartman led all scorers with 20 points. Winchester ended the night with a double-double, putting up 14 points and ten rebounds. Neely finished with eleven points while Bricker ended the night with 10. Both players had six rebounds. Wrenn rounded out the top five with eight points.
Warsaw will take on Norwell at home on Saturday evening.
“We got off to a good start tonight but we are not satisfied,” Krebs said. “I’m not interested in being a well-oiled machine in November or December. I’m interested in being a well-oiled machine at the end of January when it counts. We play a lot of good teams this year, so there’s a lot of opportunities to get better.”

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