Lady Warriors edge E-town on Weidemoyer’s free throws
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org, Staff Writer
Perhaps it was fitting that Warwick ended up at the foul line last Thursday with the game hanging in the balance.
The Warwick girls, after shooting just 13-of-21 at the free throw line in a loss to Cocalico, focused on foul shots at Wednesday’s practice.
The extra work must have helped.
With just :5.0 seconds remaining and the Lady Warriors trailing by one point against Elizabethtown, junior forward Greta Weidemoyer stepped to the line and knocked down both shots.
The E-town girls and 6-foot-2 Division-I recruit Sarah Fairbanks still had one possession left, but they couldn’t get a shot off on time against Warwick’s pressure defense, and the Lady Warriors held on to win 33-32 in a Section One-Two crossover in Lititz.
"We’re very honest with (the players) and they know where our weaknesses are and we said, ‘We need to practice offense and we need to practice foul shooting right now,’" Warwick coach Amy Derr said. "This was a good win for the girls because they knew the Fairbanks sisters (Sarah and Jennifer) … they are known in the league and they’re good ball players. So it was fun."
Sarah Fairbanks, a senior, was averaging 21 ppg in the Lady Bears’ first five games, including 27 points against in a win over Penn Manor. But Warwick held the St. Joe’s University recruit to a season-low 12 points, including just four in the second half. Her younger sister Jennifer, a sophomore, also finished with 12 points to lead E-town.
"I thought Bethany did an amazing job tonight on Fairbanks. An amazing job," Derr said. "It was a whole team effort and we did what we needed to do. We needed to keep up the intensity and never let down … Both Greta and (Bethany) are volleyball players, so I know they have decent jumping ability and I thought if (E-town) tries to lob it in, at least we have Bethany in front and I told Greta, ‘You need to be her shadow in the back and let’s cage her in. If she does get the ball, cage it."
The Warwick girls did a good job when they got the ball in the game’s final 4:00, battling back from a 29-24 deficit. Zimmerman, who paced the Lady Warriors with 11 points, scored on a layup with 3:30 left, and then after Jennifer Fairbanks buried a long-range ‘J,’ Madi Derr hit both ends of a 1-and-1 to close the gap to 31-28 with 2:28 left.
Shortly later, E-town’s Erin Sollenberger missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and Weidemoyer grabbed the rebound. Then with 1:59 to go, Zimmerman made one of two free throws to cut the Lady Bears’ lead to 31-29.
"We can’t be forcing shots and it’s one of those things — when they’re down, they think, ‘Let’s try to make them,’ and sometimes they get forced," Derr remarked. "We’re really focusing on, ‘Let’s work our offense and wait. We need to be patient and wait.’ And at the end, I thought they did some good things too as far as playing good D and us not getting into foul trouble."
When Zimmerman dropped in a layup with :48 remaining, Warwick got within one, 32-31, and then the Bears turned it over on their next possession — one of 24 E-town turnovers.
Although Sarah Fairbanks stole a pass from Macaulay Soto, she couldn’t hold onto it and the Lady Warriors retained the ball. That set the stage for an inbounds play on the base line, where Weidemoyer grabbed the ball and was fouled under the basket with :5.0 left.
"We had both the bigs coming to the basket, and we kinda knew (Bethany) would be covered," Derr said. "I have all the confidence in the world that Greta will continue to come. Actually, we had Megan kicked out on the side as well. So we try to design our plays that it’s not just one option. You try to have at least two, if not three, and they’re doing a nice job with hitting that open person."
For Weidemoyer, those were her only two foul shots of the night, but she made them count while putting Warwick up 33-32. And when the Lady Bears were unable to beat the clock on their final possession, the Warwick girls had their third win of the season.
Earlier, the two teams were tied 6-6 following a low-scoring first quarter, but the Fairbanks sisters combined for 10 points in the second to put E-town ahead 18-12 at the break.
In the third quarter, Madi Derr’s trey with 3:14 left on the clock gave Warwick its first lead since the opening stanza, 20-18. Sarah Fairbanks’ putback tied it, but Zimmerman hit two free throws to put the Lady Warriors in front 22-20 going to the fourth.
The Lady Bears regained the lead with a 9-2 run to start the final stanza, capped by Sollenberger’s jumper with 4:03 left to make the score 29-24.
But it didn’t last, as the Warwick girls rallied and went into the Christmas break with the hard-earned victory.
"That was the best Christmas present our team could have. It really was," Derr said.
Asked if this win could her team on track following an up-and-down start, Derr said, "Absolutely. I talk to the other coaches that we’ve played against and it just seems like there’s not that one person or that one team that seems to be it. Everybody seems to be having some up and down nights. This was close. This wasn’t really an up night for us. This was as close as it gets." More LADY WARRIORS, page B-3