Chargers win close one, gain share of conference title

The Chargers sneak past Warsaw 48-45. Chargers will now share the NLC conference title with the Tigers, both ending with a conference record of 6-1.


Brian Ketchum/GENESIS

Junior Brackton Miller caps off his big night by knocking down a big free throw in crunch time. The Chargers edged out the Warsaw Tigers 48-45.

Brian Ketchum, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Elkhart Memorial entered Tuesday nights game with a little more at stake than just any regular season game.

Not only was it the last conference game of the season for the Chargers, and a sneak peek at the first round of the Elkhart sectional, but more importantly, this game would determine whether or not Memorial would gain a share of the NLC Conference championship.

It was definitely something we wanted to compete for as we talked at the beginning of the year,” said head coach Kyle Sears. “The guys worked hard and it is no small feat to share the conference championship. The conference is tough and the teams know each other well, so we were excited to share the title.”

Kellen Hartman
Senior Jai-Veon Qaiyim rises up for a tough layup in the first half of the Chargers game. Elkhart Memorial won 48-45.

Now after Tuesday night, you can call your very own Elkhart Memorial Chargers conference champions.

In a game that was close from start to end, both squads really played well.

The Chargers started quick and outplayed the Tigers in the first half, racking up a 27-22 lead at the intermission.

But Warsaw wouldn’t quit that easy.

Tigers came out swinging in the third quarter, and really got the crowd going with a 17-9 third quarter, which would give the Tigers a three point edge heading into the final quarter.

And that is where the game got interesting.

The fourth quarter was pretty much the equivalent to a free throw shootout between both teams, and it wasn’t pretty to watch.

Each team fell short of a par performance from the charity stripe, as the Chargers shot 6/15, barely edging the Tigers who only made five of 14 free throws.

The free throw game is what would ultimately decide the winner in this one. When it came down to the clutch moments, one team stepped up and one team fell back.

Photo Courtesy of Cary Anderson
Junior Brackton Miller being interviewed after having a big night in the Chargers win. Miller finished with 18 points.

The Chargers stepped up.

After missing free throws all game long, the Tigers would head to the line again one last time with a chance to tie the game at 47, with nine seconds to go.

Junior Blake Marsh missed them both.

Junior Brackton Miller pulled down the rebound, which added one more stat to his clutch performance.

After hitting one of the two free throws, Miller would finish with 18 points and a total of five threes.

“The only thing going through my head was to just keep the lead and try to win the game,” said Miller. “We wanted to win the conference.”

But the game wasn’t quite over. With the Chargers leading 48-45 and eight seconds remaining, the Tigers dribbled down the court and threw up a desperation three in hopes of tying the game. The shot fell off the backboard as time expired, giving Elkhart Memorial the victory.

Miller was joined by Senior Hank Smith as the team’s leading scorers. Smith would end with 13 points.

Moving forward, the Chargers will travel to East Noble to face the Knights in their last regular season game.

The Chargers will then rematch the Warsaw Tigers next Tuesday, Feb. 26, in Northside Gym. This is the opening game to the 2019 sectional tournament.