Cocalico pulls away late in win over Warwick
TODD RUTH Record Staff firstname.lastname@example.org
, Staff Writer
The "present" and the "future" were on full display Monday night in the Cocalico gym.
Veteran Cocalico, picked by many to not only win Section Two this year but also challenge for a possible L-L League title, squared off against a young Warwick team that is oozing with talent yet short on years with as many as four freshmen playing key roles for the Lady Warriors.
As expected, experience won out as the veteran Lady Eagles used a successful transition game to run past the Lady Warriors, 74-49, in the Section One-Two crossover game.
Cocalico, which landed four players in double figures, scored 32 fast-break points to eventually pull away from Warwick. Senior Marissa Gingrich led the way with 23 points on the night while sophomore Emily White had a double-double with 15 points and 12 boards. Natalie Sukanick chipped in with 13 points while Megan Gingrich added 12 for the Lady Eagles (4-1 overall, 1-1 league), who rebounded with a strong effort following their first loss of the season Friday at Manheim Township.
"We want to play uptempo and try to get easy buckets when we can," Cocalico Coach Tony DiMatteo said. "Obviously teams know about Marissa and Emily, but I want all my five players, whoever is out there, to be able to score in transition. We don’t score a lot of points in the half-court so that was definitely something we wanted to do."
Despite the loss, there were plenty of bright spots on the Warwick side as well. Freshman Rylee Derr followed up her 25-point game Friday night in a loss to Lebanon with another outstanding effort. She finished with a game-high 24 points. Fellow freshman Rene Ross chipped in with 11 points while sophomore Kate Martin added 10 for the Lady Warriors, who fell to 0-5 on the year (0-2 league).
"We have growing pains," Warwick Coach Amy Derr, mother of Rylee, said of her young squad. "We’re young. There are too many times where I’ll have a sophomore and four freshmen out on the court. This particular crew has only been together this year. I have the freshmen coming in, and two sophomores and two juniors…It’s just a matter of hopefully we can gel. I want them to keep their good attitudes and I don’t want them to play timid. And I want them to go after the ball. I’m just trying to make them individually see all their challenges and hopefully they are going to get better each game at something."
Cocalico jumped out to a quick 11-1 lead behind a strong start by Megan Gingrich (8 points in the period) before the Lady Warriors rallied to cut the deficit to five on a three-point play by Ross with 1:40 to go. However, Cocalico scored the final four points of the period to take a 19-10 lead into the second.
White extended the lead to 23-10 at the 4:52 mark of the second, cashing in on a pair of free throws. But Warwick wouldn’t go away as Derr scored four-straight points, and after a Lady Eagle turnover, Ross nailed a three to cap a quick 7-0 Warwick surge and cut the Cocalico lead to just six at 23-17.
A White coast-to-coast lay-up stopped the bleeding, and sparked a 13-2 Cocalico which ballooned the lead up to 36-19 at the break.
But Warwick cut into the deficit again, thanks to a 6-0 spurt to start the third and trailed just 35-25. Following a Cocalico time-out, a three-point play by White upped the lead back to 13. Then after a Warwick miss, Marissa Gingrich came down and nailed a trey, stole the ensuing inbounds pass and cashed in on a lay-up to suddenly up the Lady Eagle lead to 44-26 with 4:09 to go in the third.
"I called the time-out and I basically told those five girls who were out there that they had one minute," DiMatteo said. "That’s about all I said to them and they came out and they played."
Cocalico then took its biggest lead of the quarter with 13 seconds to go on a lay-up by Emily Fassnacht (4 points) to make it a 58-34 ballgame. But Warwick still had some fight left as Martin drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer to make it 58-37 after three.
Warwick then got it down to 18 early in the fourth on a jumper by Derr, but the Lady Eagles finally pulled away for good after an 8-2 run midway through the period.
Afterward, Coach Derr talked about her ever improving team. However, she feels a victory would go a long way in its growth.
"They are good kids and they have good attitudes," she said. "Nobody is getting mad about playing time. I told them, ‘I’ll try to play all of you.’ I think that way I’m trying to do my part as a coach, to keep them active in the game. So far, attitudes are good but it’s tough. We need a ‘W.’ I’m ready for a ‘W.’"
DiMatteo certainly sees a lot of wins in the Lady Warriors’ future.
"She’s got a nice future there," he said. "They are all young, and they all can play. And they are going to be together the next three or four years. You can’t teach knowing your teammates, and they are going to get that. Amy has done a really nice job with them. They are super aggressive, they come at you and make you make decisions. The Derr girl is a good player. She’s strong and can handle the ball, she can shoot…she’s going to be a great player. And some of the other girls too. Yeah, that’s a nice team. They are going to have some success in the future for sure."
In other action, Lebanon withstood a spirited comeback effort from the Warwick girls last Friday night and held on to win 53-48 in both teams’ league opener in Lititz.
Trailing by double digits, 48-37, with 4:44 left in the finals stanza, Rylee Derr’s trey ignited the Lady Warriors on an 11-1 run, capped by Kate Martin’s free throws, to cut their deficit to 49-48 with 1:45 left. Alexa Mohler also connected from beyond the arc in that surge.
But the Warwick girls were held scoreless the rest of the way, and although Lebanon shot just 4-of-8 down the stretch from the foul line, it was enough to seal the victory.
Derr paced Warwick with a season-high 25 points, while Martin and Mohler each finished with nine points. Junior guard Brittany Ulrich had a team-high 22 points to lead Lebanon.
"It was an all-out effort tonight," coach Derr said. "The attitudes are good and to me, that’s always the positive. There were a couple girls after last game that, when they don’t score, they were a little down. It’s got to be in their heads that whether they’re starting or they’re coming off the bench, they’ve got to give 100 percent and I gave them praises tonight saying that’s exactly what they did. Yes, we had turnovers at some critical times. It happens and obviously it went the other way."
Warwick trailed by as many as 16 points, 27-11, late in the first half. But Derr’s fastbreak layup sliced the Lady Cedars’ lead to 29-24 midway through the third. Back-to-back treys by Ulrich helped Lebanon go up 37-26 heading to the fourth, and then Warwick answered with one more run, but they fell a little bit short.
"I told them at halftime," Derr said, "we needed to step it up, we need everybody to step up and score, not just Rylee and Kate, and I felt that a lot of them were doing that."
Last Wednesday, Dec. 11, Warwick suffered a 56-30 loss at Lampeter-Strasburg. Martin and Derr combined to shoot 11-for-14 from the foul line and finished with 12 points apiece to lead the Lady Warriors.
More LADY WARRIORS, page B-8