Balanced scoring helps Warwick beat Exeter

By on December 9, 2015

 

Warriors, Christensen notch

Warwick senior Kyle Weaver, shown driving to the basket against Governor Mifflin, has scored 26 points in the Warriors’ first two games. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Warwick senior Kyle Weaver, shown driving to the basket against Governor Mifflin, has scored 26 points in the Warriors’ first two games. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

first win

Better shots led to better results for the Warwick boys basketball team on Monday night.

Compared to last Friday night, when they dropped their season opener to Governor Mifflin, the Warriors showed big improvement at the offensive end of the floor.

In the end, senior Kyle Weaver scored 18 points to lead three Warwick players in double figures, as the Warriors earned their first win of the season with a 60-50 non-league victory over host Exeter. Colin Gibble and Alex Lalovic added 17 and 11 points, respectively, and Jeremy Armstrong had nine.

“We played with energy,” Warwick coach Chris Christensen said. “The biggest thing is we had shots falling. It’s kinda like what I’ve been saying from the beginning … when we’re making shots, we’ll play with anybody, and when we’re not, we’re not going to be in good shape by the end of the game.”

It also marked the first win of Christensen’s coaching career.

“Monkey off the back,” he quipped.

At the break, Warwick led by just the slimmest of margins, 29-28. Gabe Schappell led the Exeter boys with a game-high 21 points.

It was still just a three-point game, 40-37, with one quarter left to play, but the Warriors got the Eagles in foul trouble and took care of business at the charity stripe.

For the game, Warwick attempted 30 free throws and converted on 21 of those, led by Gibble (6-of-6), Lalovic (6-of-8) and Weaver (6-of-9).

With two minutes to go in the third, Warwick was already shooting 1-and-1’s.

“They got pretty aggressive on us defensively,” Christensen said. “By staying aggressive and keeping attacking, just not settling for shots, we allowed ourselves to get them in foul trouble and get to the line, so that was big.”

Even with their improved shot selection, Warwick knocked down seven treys in the game.

“They were much better shots in terms of getting the ball inside, relocating, kicking it out, and getting set shots, rather than us coming down, realizing we don’t have anything and just jacking up a shot,” Christensen said.

*****

Pardon the Warwick boys if they had a few nerves last Friday night.

Given the lack of varsity minutes they had entering this season, there was bound to be some anxiousness for the Warriors’ season opener against Governor Mifflin.

“We’re going to get past that,” Christensen said. “It’s game one. We’ll get there.”

The nerves probably explained the fact that Warwick shot just 4-for-22 from the floor in the opening half.

In the meantime, the Mustangs rode a fast start from big man Zachary Smith and guard Jared Peters to a commanding 29-11 advantage at the half and cruised to a 51-28 non-league victory in Shillington in Christensen’s coaching debut.

Smith finished with a game-high 14 points, while Peters added 11 to lead the Mifflin boys.

“It would have been nice to get off to a good start. Obviously, when we shoot the ball well, we generate energy, which helps us on the defensive end,” Christensen said. “But like I said before, when we don’t shoot well, we’re in trouble.”

Smith was shooting well early for the Mustangs, going 4-of-5 both inside and outside while scoring nine of his points in the opening quarter.

“Smith did a nice job,” Christensen said. “Watching him on tape before, we didn’t really see that outside aspect. So that kinda shocked us a little bit … But he’s a very good player.”

Junior Alex Lalovic, who paced Warwick with 12 points, buried the first of his four three-pointers with 5:36 left in the first to cut the Warriors’ deficit to 7-3, but Mifflin ended the quarter on a 9-0 surge.

Smith also grabbed six boards in the opening quarter, leading a 12-10 Mifflin edge on the glass.

“I thought we were taking some quick shots, not making enough passes,” Christensen said. “We gave up a ton of offensive rebounds … I mean, that’s not acceptable. I thought our defense in the first half wasn’t great.”

A mini-run by Warwick to start the second, capped by Nate Martin’s layup and Kyle Weaver’s triple, shaved the deficit to 18-10. Weaver finished with eight points for the Warriors.

But Peters found the hot hand, dropping in seven points in a 11-1 spurt to put the Mustangs in front 29-11 going to the locker room.

“He’s their guy. He did a nice job,” Christensen said. “We let him get in a little more on screens than I wanted to, so again, that’s something we’ve just got to work on and know who we need to slow down and just be more prepared in terms of that.”

It was still an 18-point deficit in the fourth quarter, as Lalovic knocked down three straight treys and then Martin made one of two from the foul line, making it 43-25 with 2:19 remaining.

But Mifflin outscored the Warriors 8-3 the rest of the way.

“I thought the second half, we played much better,” Christensen said. “So the nerves were there. It’s our first game, we’ve got 21 more to go. So hopefully we got the nerves out of us and the next game we’ll be more ready to go for the tip than waiting until the second half to decide to play.”

Christensen is confident that their shortcomings against the Mustangs are all fixable.

“It’s kinda like some of the stuff we saw in the first scrimmage,” he said. “We worked on it and it was better the second scrimmage. We kinda resorted back to what we were doing before. We’ve got to go to work. That’s the bottom line.”

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