DUNLAP – It was an opening conference and the atmosphere was electric.

“It was a tough environment to play, but it’s Indiana high school basketball,” Wawasee coach Matt Carpenter said after his Warriors lost 47-41 in a game Northern Lakes Conference women’s basketball roundtrip at McCuen Gym. “Our daughters are eager to take on this challenge.”

Minutemen’s 140-member animation group made sure it would be loud and difficult for the two teams to talk to each other.

“They are doing a fabulous job,” said Concord’s coach of musicians. “We are calling the Sixth Man here and we are fortunate to have them.”

Aliyah Hershberger (14 points – nine in the first half), Ashlyn Fish (12 – nine in the second half) and Bailei Mayo (10 with four free throws in the fourth quarter) dominated the Minutemen scorers.

Lindsay Doss (14 points – all before half-time), Kennedy White (13 with eight in the second half) and Jada Carter (8 – all in the second half) guided Wawasee’s attack.

“I relied a lot on our elders to be able to communicate with each other,” Carpenter said.

Concord (3-1, 1-0) trailed 39-37 on a 3-point Carter with 5:40 to go. A few moments later, the Minutemen regain the advantage and retain the best Wawasee (4-2, 0-1).

“It’s a pretty straightforward game when you are able to get (defensive) saves,” Carpenter said. “We can turn that into a transition attack and come out onto the open court and we’re definitely scoring at a higher clip.

“When things were going well, we would mix up those quick break points.”

The Minutemen limited those chances and dominated the visitors 27-18 in the second half.

“We preach on toughness,” Cepeda said of Concord’s ability to finish strong. “We responded after a brutal loss to Elkhart. It wasn’t who we are and who we are.”

Nine of Wawasee’s 19 turnovers came in the second half.

“We have returned the ball far too many times,” said Carpenter. “Sometimes we rushed a little too much in the half court.”

Many of the Warriors’ interior trials were performed by Kendal Taylor of Concord.

“Give a 6ft 2in pole a lot of credit,” Carpenter said.

Eleven of Concord’s 19 gifts were in the last two quarters.

The Warriors were leading 23-20 at halftime.

A 9-2 run at Concord put the hosts at 21-20 with 1:45 remaining in the second quarter.

Wawasee took a 15-7 lead in the second period. After Concord took a 5-2 advantage in the opening 90 seconds, the Warriors took advantage of an eight-point lead at the end of the quarter.

Both teams took 11 shots on the ground in the first period, Wawasee took six and the Minutemen two.

In the junior varsity game, Abbi Burelison (11 points), Mackenzie Hackleman (11) and Kylie Perkins (9) led Wawasse to a 31-17 victory over Concord, which was punctuated by Mareiona Mason (8).

Concord heads to South Bend Riley (JV at 1 p.m.) and Triton visits Wawasee (JV at 6 p.m.) on Saturday, November 20.