Warriors pound PM, then give Streaks a scare
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Warwick’s sixth man Tyler Stief was already sidelined with a concussion.
Starting forward Colby Weit had been questionable with an ankle injury sustained in practice the previous night.
Then starting guard K’shawn Mickens left midway through the third quarter of Friday’s game with a head injury.
Yet somehow, the Warrior boys not only held their own, but managed to earn a key 61-43 victory over Penn Manor in a Section One battle in Lititz. Senior Derrick Shields led all scorers with 19 points, as Warwick rallied from a seven-point first-half deficit for the win.
"We talked before the game about taking advantage of the opportunities you’re going to get tonight," Warwick coach Jeff Landis remarked. "We told some guys that haven’t gotten in, ‘You’re going to have to get in tonight.’ It’s a process and they’ve been gradually coming along as the season progresses. They’re getting better."
That was evident on Tuesday night, as the Warwick boys knocked down nine triples and threatened to upset first-place Manheim Township. In fact, the Warriors sprinted to an 18-10 lead after one and a 26-22 advantage at the break. But the Blue Streaks rallied in the second half and pulled off a 53-50 victory in a Section One clash in Neffsville.
The tough three-point loss dropped the Warriors to 5-3 in Section One (6-7 overall), two games behind the Streaks (7-1 L-L) and one behind McCaskey (6-2), a winner over Hempfield on Tuesday night.
Asked if his squad is paying attention to the standings, Landis said, "There’s things we discuss in there that we don’t always bring out here. But we discuss it. I don’t have to worry about this group with that. They embrace the challenge and they’re not going to get much respect around the league. There’s nobody that was out there last year. Tyler Morris played a little, but that’s it. Everyone’s like, ‘Well, they lost nine guys.’ Yes we did, and they were very special people and important to the program. But these guys won a lot of basketball games last year in JV’s and they played a lot of minutes."
Warwick showed that chemistry early on against Penn Manor, jumping to an early 11-3 lead. Shields, who scored 12 of his 19 points in the opening half, buried a triple and scored the final seven in that early run.
"Not everyone would be willing to do what Derrick Shields did (last year)," Landis said. "Derrick was a junior and, as you can see out here, he can play. And he sat last year and never complained because Vince (Soto) and Deron (Thompson) and some other kids were in front of him. Penn Manor’s coach asked, ‘Where did 13 (Shields) come from?’ He’s a great kid and he works extremely hard."
Penn Manor, though, has a couple of great kids of its own in Marc Summy, Dalton Parmer and Landon Alecxih, and all three found their stroke in a 20-2 run by the Comets which put them ahead 26-19 with 6:40 left in the half. Parmer nailed two of his three treys to start the surge, and Summy, who paced Penn Manor with 14 points, added seven, including a three-point play. Parmer and Alecxih finished with 13 and 12, respectively.
Overall, the Comets shot 11-for-24 (46 percent) from the field in the opening half.
A putback by Morris, who grabbed 14 boards and blocked six shots, cut the Comets’ lead to 26-22 with 5:43 left in the half. For the game, Warwick built a 36-26 edge on the glass.
"I thought Tyler Morris was outstanding on the boards tonight," Landis said.
After Parmer hit another ‘three’ to make it 29-22, the Warriors ended the half on a 10-0 run, led by Mickens’ four points, to go to the locker room with a 32-29 advantage.
"We talked at halftime about, ‘You’re up three, you weathered their storm,’" Landis said. "Forty (points) is our goal (defensively) and we didn’t quite get there, but we talked before the game about limiting Summy and Alecxih to a total of 30 and limiting the team to a total of 40. That sounds odd, but they score 75 percent of their points. So when (number) 10 (Parmer) came out and made those shots, we just reminded them not to panic, that it won’t continue all night and I think the kids did a great job."
Mickens scored five of his 11 points in the third, including a 3-pointer. But his night ended with 2:19 left in the the quarter following a spill on a drive to the basket, resulting in stitches to close a gash on his head.
"(K’shawn) was just starting to feel his stroke," Landis said. "He is really improving and he plays with confidence and it’s hard to keep him in front of you. When he went down, we pulled together and said, ‘We’re going to do this for him.’ We are a team. Whether Derrick leads us in scoring or Tyler leads us in rebounding, we are a team."
Shields’ jumper closed out a 9-0 spurt by the Warriors to make it 44-35 and then PM’s Adam Hess scored on a putback to close the Comets’ deficit to deficit to seven, 44-37, heading to the final stanza. But Warwick shot 11-for-15 from the stripe in the fourth, led by Shields and Engle who both went 3-for-4, as they sealed their third win in their last four Section One games.
"Penn Manor’s a very well-coached team, they have two exceptional players, so it’s just like what we talked about when we beat Hempfield, that ‘It’s one game,’" Landis said. "It’s nice, it feels good now, but tomorrow at 8:30 a.m., it’s forgotten. We have to prepare for the number one team in the league on Tuesday night." More WARRIORS, page B-8