WARSAW — Following up an emotional last second win over rival Whitko to open the season, Columbia City (1-1) was on the road for the first time Saturday night.
The Eagles faced the big claws of class 4A’s state runner-up and No. 3 ranked team in Warsaw (2-0).
Behind its size and senior leadership, Warsaw handed Columbia City its first loss of the season 49-31.
The Tigers had three starters at six-foot-three-inches or more standing over a smaller Columbia City squad.
From the outset, the Tigers hit the boards with six-foot-five-inch junior Lucas Grose scoring Warsaw’s first three baskets in the paint. Grose collected a double-double scoring 10 and grabbing 13 rebounds.
“We just didn’t give ourselves a chance by keeping them off the boards,” Columbia City head coach Chris Benedict said. “Out of those 49 (points) half are off offensive put backs or something like that.
“Without giving yourself a chance to compete on the backboards, you have to shoot the ball particularly well. Tonight we didn’t shoot particularly well.”
A 31-15 advantage in rebounds for Warsaw was helped along by a poor shooting night for the Eagles.
Hitting only one field goal in the first quarter, Columbia City shot 29 percent in the first half trailing 22-13 at the break.
The struggles continued for the Eagles in the second half going 28 percent for the game and 0-for-13 from three-point range.
After surrendering four points to the Eagles to end the first half, Warsaw put the game away at the start of the third quarter going on a 9-2 run to open the second half.
Warsaw found some offense from senior guard Nic Moore. Seven of his his game-high 21 points helped the Tiger lead grow to as much as 20 points in the final two periods.
“Our team is a team that has a good basketball IQ and they’ll learn from this,” Benedict stated. “It doesn’t get much better than Warsaw coming off a state run last year. At the same time, we’ve got to get to a position where we’re able to withstand our game plan for longer periods of time. The more you play together, the more that’s able to happen.”