Five straight: Warriors improve to 5-1

By on December 21, 2016
While being guarded by Ephrata’s Dilyn Becker, Warwick’s Bryan Rottkamp protects the ball and looks to pass the ball to a teammate in the Warriors’ 47-45 win last Wednesday. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

While being guarded by Ephrata’s Dilyn Becker, Warwick’s Bryan Rottkamp protects the ball and looks to pass the ball to a teammate in the Warriors’ 47-45 win last Wednesday. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

The Warwick boys had two streaks on the line last Friday night.

One they wanted.

The other they didn’t.

Extending through all of last year, the Warriors had dropped 11 straight Section One games.

But it didn’t take them long to snap it this season.

Hosting Penn Manor in its L-L opener last Friday, Warwick got a balanced scoring effort — led by senior guard Alex Lalovic’s team-high 20 points — and pulled out a 56-47 win in Lititz.

In the process, they won their third game in a row.

Tyler Trimarchi and Ethan Price added 17 and 11 points, respectively, as the Warriors earned their first Section One victory since Jan. 30, 2015, when they beat Cedar Crest 60-57.

It’s huge,” Warwick coach Chris Christensen said. “It’s huge for us because last year we didn’t win a section One game … To get off to that start, these guys are just building confidence. So we’ve just got to stay grounded and stick to our principles and keep doing what we’re supposed to be doing. Any win against anybody, we’ll take it. Good for them, (Penn Manor) is a good team.”

That confidence continued to build Monday night, as the Warriors won their fifth straight and improved to 2-0 L-L (5-1 overall) with a 61-56 Section One victory over Cedar Crest in Lititz.

Lalovic drained a game-high 18 points, helping the Warriors overcome a 17-8 first-quarter deficit. Fueld by a 15-4 run in the second quarter, Warwick grabbed the lead at the break, then held on in the second half. Trimarchi helped out with 15 points and Nate Martin added 13 in the win.

Last Friday, a tough Comet lineup which included sniper Cameron Lovett, who hit three treys and scored a game-high 23 points, also welcomed back point guard Michael Hreben from a two-game health-related absence.

“They’re a different team with (Hreben),” Christensen said.

The 5-foot-9 QB scored five of his 10 points in the first quarter, and then Lovett’s fastbreak layup with 6:02 left in the half put PM up 13-10.

Shooting just 4-of-12 from the field in the opening stanza, the Warriors picked up the pace in the second. Trimarchi’s ‘three’ tied the game 13-all and started a 14-2 Warwick run, in which Lalovic netted eight points, to make it 24-15.

“I just jumped on them to start running,” Christensen said. “When we get up and down the floor and find open guys, that’s when good things happen … I thought our offense was stagnant in the almost the whole first half. But once guys started cutting hard through the paint and sharing the ball, we did a much better job.”

In addition to Lalovic’s offensive contributions, he also did an admirable job with his quickness not allowing Lovett to overtake the game. Although the PM senior guard/forward cut Warwick’s lead to 24-18 at the half on a buzzer-beating triple, Lalovic received a lot of credit from his head coach.

“Alex had a tough job,” Christensen said. “He was in a full denial of Lovett and he did a pretty good job … (Lovett)’s a very good player. He’s their guy. He still had a bunch, but I give him credit. Having somebody face-guard you the entire time gets old real fast, and he kept his head, he kept playing and did a good job.”

The Comets continued to hang around following the break, getting within three points, 32-29, on an inside bucket from Josiah Edwards and then again on Lovett’s trey, before Ethan Price beat the buzzer in transition to put Warwick up 37-32 heading to the fourth quarter.

Nate Martin helped the Warriors take a 20-10 rebounding edge in the second half, but they also committed eight of their 12 turnovers in that time.

“Because we’re undersized,” Christensen said, “everybody’s got to go to the boards. The one thing I don’t think we did well was once we got them, we turned the ball over too much trying to get an outlet pass or put our head down and dribbled. We’ll get better with that. I’m telling them to push the tempo, so it’s going to happen, but we need to limit how many times it happens.”

With 4:22 left, Warwick took its biggest lead since late in the second quarter after Trimarchi hit a ‘three’ from the left corner and then Martin scored inside, making it 47-39. Lovett then hit the front end of a 1-and-1 and Hreben buried a trey, cutting the Comets’ deficit to 47-43 with 2:44 left.

But that would be Penn Manor’s final field goal of the night, and Trimarchi scored six points — two of those buckets on nice drive-and-kick assists from Lalovic — in a game-ending 9-4 run to clinch it.

“Just good stuff,” Christensen said. “Hopefully we get out (Saturday against Exeter Township) and have a really good week because it’s not going to get any easier.”

Describing their game against the Eagles as a “gut check,” playing their fourth game in seven days, Christensen’s Warriors rose to the challenge, rallying from a 13-point first-half deficit to earn a thrilling 57-54 non-league win in Lititz.

Lalovic scored 10 of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Warwick boys complete their comeback. In all, four players scored in double figures for the Warriors, with Trimarchi chipping in 12, and Bryan Rottkamp and Price adding 11 and 10 points, respectively. Rottkamp also helped out with nine rebounds.

Exeter guard Devon Jackson had eight of his game-high 18 points in the first quarter, as the Eagles took a 15-9 lead after one, then extended it to 22-9 with 5:41 left in the half on an inside bucket from big man Gabe Schapell (15 points).

But Price’s triple ignited Warwick on a 13-3 run, capped by Trimarchi’s transition bucket to make it 25-22. Exeter’s Spencer Murray ended the half with a deuce, extending their lead to 27-22 at the break.

In the third, Price’s steal and layup gave Warwick its first lead, 37-35, since the opening quarter and Jackson tied it 39-all heading to the fourth.

There, Rottkamp scored inside to put Warwick in front 54-48 with 1:49 remaining, but Exeter clawed back to 55-54 on a putback by Jackson. Will Mobley and Lalovic went a combined 2-for-4 on back-to-back trips to the foul line, and Exeter’s three-point attempt in the final seconds was off the mark, and the Warriors had their fourth straight win.

Last Wednesday, Dec. 14, Trimarchi had 17 points, including a pair of treys, and Lalovic added 13, leading Warwick to a 47-45 non-league \\win at back-yard rival Ephrata in a back-and-forth duel.

Micah Krauter finished with 14 points to lead the Mounts, who led 36-35 after three. But Warwick outscored Ephrata 12-9 in the fourth to pull it out.

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