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Hempfield holds off Warwick
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Back to basics.
That was the message Warwick girls basketball coach Amy Derr and her assistants had for their players following a 34-24 non-league loss to Palmyra last Friday in Lititz.
You can understand why.
Warwick shot just 30 percent from the floor, while missing a number of easy layups.
They finished 2-for-8 from the foul line.
They were outrebounded 38-29.
And, gulp, they committed 28 turnovers, to the Lady Cougars’ 20.
"We told (the players) that missing the easy shots is crucial," Derr said. "We can’t do that in a game, especially when (Section play) is right around the corner. Our foul shooting … They outplayed us. (We asked them), ‘Can we rise to the occasion and show what Warwick is really about?’ And we’re thinking we can. Everyone agrees with what the problems were and we had a really rough first half, I thought, with not rebounding. And that was key."
Warwick returned to Section One play on Tuesday night at Hempfield, and they showed solid improvement, but suffered a hard-fought 30-29 loss to the Lady Knights in Landisville.
The loss dropped the Warwick girls to 2-2 in L-L play (4-5 overall), while Hempfield raised their record to 3-1 in league play.
In a hard-fought battle the whole way, the Lady Warriors trailed only 17-13 at the half, and then made it a three-point game going to the final stanza. Warwick senior Megan Hunt nailed four treys and led all scorers with 12 points.
Hempfield shot just 5-of-12 from the foul line and Warwick nearly capitalized while outscoring the Lady Knights 8-6 in the fourth. But Hempfield, led by Brianna Neal’s nine points. held on for the one-point victory.
Last Friday, it was Warwick senior Bethany Zimmerman who led all scorers with 13 points, while Katie Dembroski paced Palmyra with 10 points.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well, however. Although Warwick opened the game 0-for-5, the Lady Cougars were 4-for-18 in the first quarter, but they took a 6-0 lead on putbacks by Madison Good and Kristen Smoluk.
"We were definitely getting outrebounded — I was very frustrated," Derr acknowledged, "especially when I was telling them that from yesterday about how aggressive (Palmyra) is. I feel like sometimes you’ve got to back to basics and just talk them about every time a shot goes up, offensively and defensively, you’ve got to know where that ball is at, you’ve got to gain position. Sometimes you do sound like a broken record, and I told them I probably am sounding like a broken record."
Greta Weidemoyer’s layup finally got Warwick on the scoreboard with 1:12 left in the first, but Smoluk, who scored five of her seven points in the first quarter, hit one of two free throws and then Kaitlyn Carmo scored on a putback with :1.5 left in the quarter to make the score 9-2 after one.
Then early in the second Palmyra took its biggest lead of the half, 13-2 when Carly Richardson knocked down two free throws. For the game, the Lady Cougars finished 11-for-19 from the foul line.
Warwick scored the next five points, starting with a layup by Zimmerman and a runner by Meredith Michel, to close the gap to 13-7, but Carmo’s layup with 1:13 left in the half, following a Warwick turnover, put Palmyra in front 15-7 at the break. The Lady Warriors had 16 turnovers in the first half against Palmyra’s pressure man-to-man defense.
"Too many turnovers," Derr said. "I felt like we were not looking to the open holes and the girls need to do that. They weren’t moving to where they needed to move to. Macaulay (Soto) can normally handle the ball through any type of defense, and in some of their traps, I felt like the other guards needed to do their part with helping her out."
Chelsea Ebersole’s 3-pointer gave Palmyra its biggest lead of the night, 20-7, with 6:12 to go in the third quarter, and then Warwick answered with a 7-3 run, capped by Megan Hunt’s steal and fastbreak layup with 3:11 left in the quarter to close the Lady Cougars’ lead to 23-14. Later, Soto’s layup with :19 left in the stanza cut Palmyra’s advantage to 27-16 heading to the fourth quarter.
Ebersole is Palmyra’s leading scorer at 12.6 ppg, including 17 ‘threes’ in seven games, and although the Lady Cougars’ senior led her team with seven points in the third quarter, she finished the night with just eight points on 2-of-9 shooting from the floor.
"I felt like in the second half that Bethany definitely came out and really was doing her job rebounding in there," Derr said. "I think (one of the coaches) said we only lost that second half by two points, overall. So we definitely made more of a valiant effort in the second half than in the first."
In the fourth quarter, the Lady Warriors twice cut their deficit to seven points, both times on layups by Zimmerman, who made the score 29-22 with 3:53 remaining. In between, however, Warwick missed four straight shots from the foul line.
"We felt like we had life a couple of times," Derr said, "but we just couldn’t do it. (Palmyra) was getting some easy buckets or on the foul line making their foul shots when they needed to and we weren’t."
With Palmyra still leading by seven, they went into a delay game and then Carmo sank both ends of a 1-and-1 with 2:34 left to push the advantage to 31-22.
Although the Palmyra girls shot only 50 percent from the stripe (3-for-6) the rest of the way, it was enough to seal the win, as Warwick managed just one more bucket — that on a jumper by Hunt with :54 remaining to complete the scoring.
"It was a tough loss," Derr said. "We need to make those easy shots. That’s the bottom line."
Last Thursday, Dec. 29, Zimmerman and Weidemoyer shared team-high scoring honors with 10 points apiece and the Warwick girls defeated Chambersburg 37-27 in non-league action in Lititz.
Hunt scored five of her eight points in the first quarter, including a trey, as Warwick took a 9-4 lead after one and a 20-8 advantage at the break. The Lady Trojans closed the gap to 26-19 after three, but the Warwick girls outscored Chambersburg 11-8 in the fourth to clinch it. In the final stanza, Zimmerman scored a pair of deuces, Hunt sank a 3-pointer and Kate Mobley was 2-for-2 at the foul line.
"We did some good things and I felt like we executed well," Derr said. "I think some of the girls are still a little bit hesitant offensively and I need by bigs to look all the time and to possibly take shots when they’re open or make something happen. We’re on them about trying it and doing it." More LADY WARRIORS, page B-3