Warriors let one get away against Township
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
The Warwick boys had little room for error.
Manheim Township had even less.
With the curtain coming down on the Lancaster-Lebanon League’s regular season on Tuesday night, the Warriors entered action as the 15th ranked team in the District Three Quad-A power rankings. The Blue Streaks had the 20th — and final — spot.
Township (9-7 L-L, 11-10 overall), though, helped its cause by outscoring Warwick 20-12 in the fourth quarter and pulling out a 47-38 Section One win in Neffsville.
The Warwick boys, after ending the regular season with a 9-7 league record (11-11 overall), found themselves playing a waiting game.
"I told the kids Thursday morning when (the final District rankings) come out, I’ll let them know if we made it or not," Warwick coach Jeff Landis said. "I still think we made it, but I can’t be sure until it’s out. Next Friday night would be a play-in game and we’ll see what we’re made of because this was bad. Give Township credit, but it was bad."
It didn’t start out that way for the Warriors, as they shot 4-of-9 from the field in the first quarter and senior guard Matt Engle dropped in seven of his game-high 15 points, helping Warwick end the opening quarter tied 13-all.
Then when Damian Soto drilled a ‘three’ with just 19 seconds elapsed in the second quarter and Jake Shillady followed with a putback, the Warriors had their biggest lead of the half, 18-13. Colby Weit had a team-high six rebounds as the Warriors built a 15-11 edge on the boards in the first half.
But Warwick wouldn’t score from the field the rest of the quarter, finishing the period 2-for-11. Fortunately for the Warriors, though, the Blue Streaks shot only 1-for-7 in the stanza and the visitors maintained a 21-17 lead going to the locker room.
"We got some good looks and missed early and then we just started taking bad shots," Landis said. "We’re a senior-laden team. We’ve got to be able to get to the basket and get something to drop. But when we struggle, we try to do too much sometimes individually with the dribble and stuff. I wasn’t very pleased."
It didn’t get any better for Warwick in the third quarter and the Streaks cut the Warriors’ lead to 23-22 on a triple by Galen Arbogast and two free throws by Tyler Karpinski with 5:20 left in the period. It remained a one-point deficit going to the fourth, 27-26, following a putback by Seth Brewer, who led the Streaks with 12 points.
Then Township started the final stanza on an 8-0 run, taking a lead it never relinquished, and Arbogast’s layup with 4:15 left made the score 34-27. Arbogast finished with 11 points.
Later, when Alex Ready made the front end of a 1-and-1 with 1:32 to go, the Blue Streaks took a 41-33 advantage. But Engle answered with a layup, and then after Arbogast missed two free throws, K’shawn Mickens drilled a 3-pointer with 1:10 to go to get the Warriors within three, 41-38.
Things were looking even more positive for Warwick as Karpinski missed back-to-back freebies with 51.8 seconds remaining. But the Warriors couldn’t capitalize, as they had a quick possession at the other end and Tyler Stief’s 3-point attempt was off the mark. Making matters worse, it was Blue Streaks’ marksman Brewer who got fouled, and his two free throws pushed the lead to 43-38.
Then after Engle missed a 3-point attempt, Brewer sank two more with 23 seconds to go, making it 45-38, and that was the game.
"We came down and settled for a long one and then fouled the best foul shooter in the league immediately … it’s the one kid on the floor we said, ‘Do not foul,’" Landis said. "We have a week and a half to get better at practice."
On Friday in Section 1 action, Jake Shillady led Warwick with a season-high 11 points, including back-to-back clutch 3-pointers to spark a 17-2 run in the second half, as the Warriors knocked off Penn Manor 37-25 in their final home game of the regular season.
K’shawn Mickens chipped in with two treys and 10 points in the win.
In a low-scoring battle in the first half, Penn Manor’s David Carmichael and Micah Brown scored four points apiece, helping the Comets take a 13-12 lead to the locker room. Carmichael and Tim Harris finished with six points apiece to lead Penn Manor.
The Comets still led 15-12 with 7:29 left in the third after Taylor Skelly sank two free throws. But Mickens answered with a game-tying triple and then Shillady buried two straight 3-pointers to give the Warwick boys a lead they never relinquished.
"(Jake) got a little more time tonight and got in a rhythm and that’s what he’s capable of doing," Landis said. "He’s a good shooter. Percentage-wise, his stats might not show it yet, but Jake is a good shooter. He worked on his game a lot this summer."
Shillady also helped to fill the void left when Tyler Morris suffered an injury in Warwick’s loss to Cedar Crest last Tuesday, Jan. 29.
"Coming off two tough losses and I thought emotionally when you lose one of your leaders like Tyler Morris and it’s been such a rough season for Tyler and the way we played the second quarter, they could have hung their head," Landis said. "But I thought they came in here and did a fantastic job of gutting it out in the second half."
Matt Engle’s layup with 6:42 remaining in the fourth pushed Warwick’s lead to 29-17, and then Penn Manor got back as close as eight, 29-21, on Harris’ 3-pointer with 5:50 to go in the game. But Tyler Stief scored on a layup and hit both ends of a 1-and-1 in the final 44 seconds to seal it for the Warriors.
"(Penn Manor) was doing a good job of keeping us from scoring (in the first half), but I would say they weren’t guarding us. They packed it in and said, ‘Beat us from the outside,’" Landis said. "Then as soon as we got up eight, they had to come out and try to guard us and our guards are a little too quick for theirs, I thought. Once we got the lead in a game like this, an eight-point lead is like a 16-point lead. But I thought the kids kept their composure." More WARRIORS, page B-6