For the Daily Journal
Whiteland boys basketball coach Matt Wadsworth has been looking for his team to put together a complete game on both ends of the floor.
On Tuesday night, the Warriors got it done.
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Whiteland came through in the fourth quarter to secure its first win of the season, 59-55, at Seymour on Tuesday.
In the first quarter, the Warriors (1-5) missed their first 10 shots from the field, and the Owls took advantage of the cold shooting by opening the game on a 15-0 run.
A layup and 3-pointer by Brennan Neal snapped the Owls’ streak, but Seymour still led 20-8 after the first quarter.
The hot shooting hands reversed in the second quarter, as the Warriors went on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 24-17. Following a pair of free throws by Alan Perry, Whiteland scored eight more unanswered points to pull within one with 2:31 left in the half.
The Warriors then took the lead for the first time, 28-27, on a basket from Carter Crowe with 1:43 left in the half. They still led by one, 33-32, at the break.
“Once we got a shot to fall, the guys got some confidence,” Wadsworth said. “A big emphasis for us has been to take shots if there’s a good look. I think we were reluctant to do that the past two games. We want them to take those shots, and they did that tonight.”
The Warriors outscored the Owls 12-7 in a low-scoring third quarter to lead 45-39.
The Owls (3-4) climbed back by tallying nine straight points in the fourth, pulling ahead 54-52 with 2:45 left. But the Warriors retook the lead for good at 55-54 on a 3-pointer from Neal with 1:33 remaining.
With 30 seconds left, Neal pulled down an offensive rebound off a missed Warriors free throw and was fouled. He made four free throws down the stretch to seal it.
“That was a big offensive rebound (by Neal),” Wadsworth said. “The thing we talked about in the last couple timeouts was to make one more play than them. Basketball is a game where you’re going to make a mistake, but as long as you have the mentality that you’re going to make the last play, you can put yourself in a position to win.”
Neal led all scorers with 25 points for Whiteland, which was outscored by 15 at the line but made up that difference by committing just five turnovers to Seymour’s 14.
“The first three games of the season were really good offensive games, and the last two were good defensive games,” Wadsworth said. “ I thought tonight we put it together on both ends of the floor.”