Although the high school basketball season is young, Whiteland junior swingman Tom Purdie sees a change in the Warriors.
“Last year’s team, we sometimes kind of relaxed on offense and defense,” Purdie said. “This year we’ve worked hard to keep our game up the whole time. We didn’t beat Plainfield last year, and we did this year.
“We’re proud of our effort to stop them. It’s nice to get that first win in the Mid-State.”
The 6-4 Purdie scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead host Whiteland to a 64-46 romp against Plainfield on Friday night in the Mid-State Conference opener for both teams.
Purdie scored 11 points in the second quarter as the Warriors led 31-21 at halftime.
“My teammates got me the ball,” said Purdie, who hit six of nine shots. “When I shot the ball, they crashed and got offensive boards and putbacks. We just hustled on the offensive end to get rebounds.
“On the defensive end, we hustled to get turnovers and push it in transition.”
Whiteland was in control most of the way. The Quakers (0-3) had closed the deficit to 48-38 with 4:16 left in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors (2-1) pulled away for good with a 7-0 run.
Junior guard Terr’e Moss scored seven of his 14 points in the fourth quarter as Whiteland held a 24-13 edge.
“Everybody on our team can step up at any time and score,” Purdie said. “We just try to move the ball around and get it to everybody.”
Purdie said the team did a good job holding down Nathan Mills (12 points) and Max Kurkowski (nine points).”
“They’re really good players,” Purdie said. “They’ll get their shots and points. But we just tried to limit them as much as possible. For the most part I think we did a pretty good job on the defensive end.”
Defense was the difference in the game, Whiteland coach Matt Wadsworth said.
“Going into the game, I felt they had three double-figure scorers,” Wadsworth said. “Nathan Mills is a really good sophomore player and Kurkowski is a proven junior player. I thought we had to stop them. Our kids had a tremendous defensive effort.
“It wasn’t just one guy guarding them. It was a team effort.”
Wadsworth liked the job the Warriors did on the offensive boards.
“Second-chance opportunities are important,” Wadsworth said. “As the game went on, I felt we were able to wear them down around the basket.”
The Warriors will play at Roncalli next Friday night.
“As a coach you want the team to enjoy their success and starting off 1-0 in the Mid-State,” Wadsworth said. “At the same time, we got to stay humble and hungry. When we come back Monday, we have to get ready to go to Roncalli.
“I think they are a really good team this year.”