Skyline Boys, El Dorado Girls Win Warsaw Tournament

Adam Dean Howe
Enterprise Staff
Like every year around this time, last week was a local basketball fan’s dream as the Warsaw Invitational Basketball Tournament tipped off at Warsaw High School. It was the 87th annual event for the boy’s bracket and the 32nd year for the girl’s tournament.  
Things got underway on Monday when the girl’s teams were all in town.  The first game saw the Skyline Lady Tigers, the 5-time defending champions and number one seed, take an easy win over the number eight seed Knob Noster Lady Panthers by a convincing score of 62-20.  
In the following game, number five seed Clinton used a second-half surge to take a 44-25 win in the tournament’s first upset over the number four seed Cole Camp Lady Bluebirds.  Destiny Kestner had 6 points for Cole Camp and Sara Harms had 5.  
The number two seed El Dorado Springs Lady Bulldogs took a lopsided victory over the number seven seed Lincoln Lady Cardinals, 67-18 in the third game of the night. Chloe Reese was the leading scorer for Lincoln with 8 points. 
In the nightcap, the number six Warsaw Lady Wildcats gave it all they had, but the number three seed Butler Lady Bears survived the scare and escaped town with a 53-49 win.  Aubrie McRoberts led all scorers with 35 points for Warsaw and Taylor Howe chipped in 7.  
On Tuesday, the boy’s teams arrived and after two blowouts in the early games, the night finished with two competitive ball games.  
In the first game of the night, the number one seed Skyline Tigers handled the number eight seed Lincoln Cardinals by a score of 89-26.  It should be noted, however, that due to the Cardinals football team still practicing for the state championship, coach Tyler Burke was playing with a roster of just five junior varsity players. Bradyn Porter had 24 points for the Tigers and Dax Beem dropped in 23. Caden Smallwood had 10 points for the Cardinals and Kaleb Mundy was right behind him with 9.   
The second game of the night featured the host team and the number five seed Warsaw Wildcats, but they were taken advantage of by a much more experienced squad in the number four seed Clinton Cardinals, 89-55.  The game was 37-32 at halftime, but the Cardinals used a 51-32 advantage in the second to torch their way to the win.  Zach Chapman led Warsaw with 13 points and Trey Palmer had 12. Tristen Reynolds was also in double digits with 10 points.  
The third game of the evening was a little more competitive one as the number three seed Cole Camp Bluebirds took on the number six seed El Dorado Springs Bulldogs and came away with a 67-57 win.  Kaden Harms poured in 21 points for the Bluebirds.  Landon Baalman had 13 for Cole Camp and Ruvim Garbuzov had 11.  
The last game of the night was, perhaps, the best of the event thus far as the number seven seed Butler Bears led the entire game, but the number two seed Knob Noster Panthers used a last second basket to steal a 65-64 win.  
The girls were back on Wednesday and, in the first game, the Warsaw Lady Wildcats would pick up their first “W” of the season with a 53-25 win over Lincoln, advancing them to the consolation final and eliminating the Lady Cardinals.  McRoberts had 12 for the Lady Cats and Karlie Jones followed closely behind with 11, her best output of the young season. For the Lady Cardinals, Jordan Young had 10 points and Jenna Vandaveer finished with 9.  
Behind Reese Schaaf’s 27 points, El Dorado Springs propelled themselves to the championship game with a 55-45 win over the Butler Lady Bears.  
The next game would provide the other contender for the championship of the girl’s tournament and that’s where Skyline defeated the Lady Cardinals of Clinton by a score of 54-29.  
On the other side of the bracket, Cole Camp held a first half lead, but was eliminated by the Knob Noster Lady Panthers by a final of 41-36.  Jenna Harms had 9 points for Cole Camp and 9 each were contributed by Kestner and Ashley Schear.  With the win, Knob Noster advanced to face Warsaw in the consolation final.  
Thursday’s games welcomed back the boys and the first game saw the Butler Bears defeat El Dorado Springs by a slim margin of just 53-51.  The Bears’ win advanced them to the consolation final and eliminated the Bulldogs.  
In the next contest, Cole Camp downed Knob Noster by way of a 63-54 final, knocking off the number two seed and advancing themselves to Saturday’s championship.  Baalman heated up the nets for 29 points for the Bluebirds. Harms inched closer to 1,000 career points with 13 and Dayton Oelrichs had 10 points.  
Skyline took out the defending champion Clinton Cardinals in dominating fashion with a 94-48 win in the third game of the night.  Beem lit things up again with 20 points, Chris Logan dropped 17 and Porter added 14.  
In the final game of the night, Warsaw notched their first win of the season and advanced to the consolation final with a 53-26 win over the Lincoln Cardinals. Palmer had another 12 points for the Wildcats and Chapman contributed 10 in the victory. For the Cardinals, Smallwood and Mundy each had 12 points, but Lincoln was ultimately eliminated with the loss.  
Trophy games for the girls were hosted on Friday night and the first one was a consolation final between the host Lady Wildcats of Warsaw and Knob Noster.  The Lady Cats put together what might have been their most complete game of the season as they took the trophy with a 54-37 win.  McRoberts dropped 28 on the Lady Panthers and Howe had a career-best 17 points for Warsaw.
Butler claimed the third place trophy with a 49-38 win over the Clinton Lady Cardinals.  
The championship game pitted the two best teams of the tournament against one another in Skyline and El Dorado Springs and they did not disappoint the crowd that stayed late to see if Skyline could make it six in a row. However, that would not be the case this year as the Lady Bulldogs would not be denied.  Behind Schaaf’s 31 points, El Dorado Springs would take the 68-61 victory and end the Lady Tigers’ championship run, taking their first title since 2013.  Alexa Mays also had 26 points for the Lady Bulldogs in the win.  
Schaaf would also take home the Most Valuable Player award for the tournament and it was a clean sweep for the Lady Bulldogs.  
The boys returned on Saturday for their trophy games and, with the exception of the third place game, unfortunately none were as close as basketball fans would hope for on the final day of any tournament.  
In the consolation final, the Warsaw Wildcats had trouble with the Butler press and they were doomed again by turnovers in a 69-44 loss.  The Wildcats would slip away from the tournament without any hardware after battling their way to the championship game just a year ago. Palmer led the way once again with 19 points and Lane Bates had 11 for Warsaw.  
Knob Noster might have proved to be the most exciting team in this year’s tournament as they took things down to the wire again and took a 67-65 buzzer beater win over the Clinton Cardinals to claim third place.  
In the championship game, the Skyline Tigers just proved to be too much for any team to handle this year as they cruised to a 74-40 win over the Cole Camp Bluebirds. Harms had 12 points for the Bluebirds and Ethan Ives had 8.  Dax Beem had another 16 points for the Tigers on his way to being named the MVP of the tournament.
22 games later, that’s a wrap for the Warsaw Invitational Basketball Tournament.  The event will return next year for it’s 88th and 33rd years, respectively.  
Many thanks to many volunteers for making this year’s tournament a success, including:  Hawthorn Bank, WHS faculty and staff, Wildcats parents, Lady Cats parents, WHS Athletic Booster Club, McDonald’s of Warsaw, Subway, Sonic Drive-In, the WHS kitchen staff, JD’s Smokin’ Hott BBQ and all other volunteers and help.