Myers leads Warriors past Cocalico, 52-42
By: TODD RUTH Record Staff email@example.com, Staff Writer
Warwick’s biggest problem through its first four games has been getting its engine started. The Warriors have fallen behind repeatedly, and because of it have been in fight and claw mode to get back in games.
Monday night in Denver, against a smaller but very athletic Cocalico team, Warrior Coach Jeff Landis saw the perfect opportunity to change things up to get an early spark.
He inserted Austin Myers, a quicker player, into the starting lineup, and the Warriors reaped the rewards. Warwick did enjoy a better start, and eventually took the lead for good in the second quarter. And although the Warriors couldn’t extend the lead much beyond six until the final minute, that start keyed an eventual 52-42 win.
"We tried to get the blood flowing a little quicker, and I think it paid dividends," Landis said following the win.
All Myers did was score a season-high 17 points to lead the Warriors (1-1 Section One, 2-3 overall), and helped his team be more productive and efficient at the offensive end with a more patient approach.
"We’ve really been struggling to score the basketball," Landis said. "We were 13 for 43 on Friday night (in a 42-39 loss to Lebanon). We talked about poise and patience tonight. If you be patient, the shot will find you. Cocalico does an excellent job of preparing, and they sagged way off Austin, who hasn’t made too many shots outside of two feet this year. But Austin is a good shooter. The kid is playing with pins in each of his hands from football, and he’s starting to get the feel of it. He had a tremendous game tonight."
While Warwick shot over 50 percent from the field (20 for 38), Cocalico struggled for large stretches to convert at the offensive end. The Eagles, who made just 13 of 37 attempts from the field, particularly had trouble in the half court, oftentimes settling for outside shots when the drive was there.
"We did force some things," Cocalico Coach Travis Wealand said after the loss. "I think we hit a lull in the game where we just had trouble scoring, instead of just playing together. We talked about it afterwards about making good decisions. And if we iron out some of those decisions games can change quickly."
Cocalico’s sensational freshman Tucker Lescoe, who led his team with 14 points, nailed a three-pointer with 3:40 to go in the first half to give the Eagles a 16-14 lead. However, the Warriors went on an 8-0 run till the end of the quarter that was fueled by three-pointers from Myers, who scored eight in the quarter, and Jake Shillady (7 points), who sank his at the buzzer to give Warwick the momentum at the half and a six-point advantage (22-16).
That stretch proved vital in Wealand’s eyes.
"The end of the first half really hurt us," he said. "They knocked down shots that helped change the momentum. That put us behind and then pretty much you are fighting and clawing to get back in the game. (At that point) you got to get things to fall on your side, and it didn’t fall too well for us tonight."
Lescoe opened the third quarter with a three-pointer, and Oliver Denlinger (11 points) converted a layup to quickly cut the Eagles’ deficit to one (22-21). But that quickly, Warwick responded with a 7-0 run that was punctuated by a K’shawn Mickens (8 points) trey with 5:09 to play which ballooned the Warrior lead to 29-21.
Cocalico did cut into the lead once again after a pair of Spencer Moser steals led to a pair of Eagle baskets. However, Warwick still held a six-point lead heading to the fourth. In the final period, Cocalico’s Brock Gosling (9 points) hit a pair of free throws to make it a four-point game (39-35) with 3:45 to go. But Myers followed with a three-point play at the other end before the Warriors put it away at the foul line late, going 6-for-8 from the stripe in the final minute.
Asked what he hopes his team can take away from this game, Landis said, "I hope to continue to see the ball go through the hoop because we were fighting ourselves (in earlier games). We talked in general about staying positive tonight, no matter what happened, just stay positive. It’s not a trait that comes easily for some of us but we have to stay positive. They hustle and bust their butts every time they take the floor. It doesn’t always look pretty but you can’t fault their efforts. We were just glad to get a win and get out of here."
Wealand said his team will learn from this one as well.
"We take a lot of learning out of every game," he said. "Our guys are receptive to that and they listen and they’ll apply. After a game like that we just talk about what we knew Warwick would try to do and how we could be better to stop teams and their strengths. Our kids are receptive at that and they’ll come back and work and get ready for the next game."
Last Friday night, the Warriors found themselves facing an early 12-0 deficit to Lebanon, and although they rallied to take the lead in the fourth quarter, they couldn’t hold on as the Cedars pulled out a wild 42-39 win in a Section One-Two crossover in Lititz.
Warwick had cut its deficit to 24-22 after three, and then two three-pointers by guard Tyler Stief early in the fourth, sandwiched around a steal and layup by Mickens, put the Warriors in the driver’s seat 30-24 with 5:42 to go in the final stanza.
But Lebanon’s Drey Murray scored seven of his game-high 14 points in the fourth quarter, and when he made the front end of a 1-and-1 with :28 to go, the Cedars led 40-36.
Engle’s 3-pointer with :10 left cut Warwick’s deficit to 40-39, but free throws by Josh Spaulding and Murray made it a three-point game and then Engle’s desperation shot from beyond half-court fell short.
Stief had 10 of his team-high 12 points in the fourth to pace the Warriors.
"They battled all night," Landis said. "That’s what they do."
In other action last Wednesday, Mickens scored 15 points in a losing cause to lead the Warriors, who suffered a 69-41 non-league setback to Section Three contender Lampeter-Strasburg. More WARRIORS, page B-5