MIDDLEBURY — A newly-renovated Warsaw team took the court with a singular defensive goal in mind Tuesday, Feb. 11.
Minimize Khadijah Moore's impact on the game.
And for most of the Tigers' 59-24 rout in the first round of the Northridge 4A sectional, they did just that.
Moore, Memorial's top scorer, tried early and often to get the ball rolling for the 6-11 Chargers. But lock-down defense from Nikki Grose and Brooklyn Harrison kept Moore off-balance for most of the contest. When Moore did shoot, Warsaw banged the boards to make sure Memorial's athletic guards wouldn't sneak away with the offensive rebound.
"We wanted to take her out of the game because we knew if we could frustrate her that would help us in the long run," Warsaw coach Michelle Harter said. "Our main thing was not letting Khadijah get a shot or letting the other four girls getting the offensive board because that's really where they have been successful."
On the backs of Grose and Harrison, both of whom recently returned to the team after missing most of the season, Warsaw systematically locked down every attack Memorial threw its way.
"It was their night. It was not our night." Memorial coach Steve Scott said. "I saw (Grose and Harrison) on film and they never played like that on film. They're both solid players, but I would have hoped we put up a better fight."
Moore still did her share of damage, finishing with a team-high 10 points and five rebounds, but it was Grose who dominated the post with 20 points and 10 boards.
"The girls just did an excellent job focusing on what they need to do tonight," Harter said.
Because of the cancellations spawned from severe weather this winter, the schools agreed to have the opening round of the sectional also count as their Northern Lakes Conference meeting. The Tigers finish 5-2 in the NLC, while Memorial falls to 2-5.
Warsaw will move on to face Northridge (16-4) in the semifinal at 6 p.m. Friday.