Warriors suffer costly loss Boys Basketball
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
The bad news for the Warwick boys basketball team was two-fold Tuesday night.
Their 56-50 overtime loss to Cedar Crest in a battle for second place in Section One all but eliminated them the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoff picture with just two games left in the regular season.
Making matters worse for the Warriors was the dark cloud that hung over the defeat after senior star Tyler Morris left the game with 3:45 left in OT due to a right ankle injury. Morris missed 10 games to start the season with a left ankle injury sustained in the pre-season.
"He’s in a lot of pain. I don’t know the extent of it, but he did the same thing — stepped on somebody’s foot and rolled it to the outside," Warwick coach Jeff Landis said. "We’ll re-evaluate and then go from there."
Where Warwick as a team goes is back to preparations for its game against Penn Manor this Friday and Manheim Township next Tuesday. The loss dropped the Warriors (8-6 L-L, 10-10 overall) into a third-place with Township, who lost 71-48 to McCaskey, one game behind the Falcons (9-5 L-L).
"Pretty much now, we lose the tiebreaker with everyone (for the L-L playoffs)," Landis said. "We’ll see what they’re made of tomorrow (Wednesday) because we still have a chance to make Districts, but we’re going to have to win either one or two to get in. We can’t lose out."
Adding to the sting of Tuesday’s loss was that the Warriors held a big 16-2 lead following Matt Engle’s 3-pointer and Damian Soto’s layup to start the second quarter and couldn’t hold on.
Killian Klopp got a hot hand for the Falcons, knocking down back-to-back triples just 36 seconds apart to quickly cut Crest’s deficit to eight, 16-8, with 4:42 left in the half. Those were two of Klopp’s six treys for the game, as he led all scorers with 20 points.
"We took Matt (Engle) out for a minute, he had held Klopp down and we left him open two straight times," Landis said. "We talked about going over screens all night. Well, when a shooter gets started, look out. I thought (Klopp) willed them to victory tonight."
Engle led Warwick with 14 points, and his 3-pointer in the third led the Warriors on an 8-0 run which pushed their lead to 30-19 with 4:14 left in the period. But Klopp drilled two more triples in a quarter-ending 13-3 surge by the Falcons, and Andrew Eudy’s putback cut Warwick’s lead to 33-32 going to the fourth.
The Warriors built their lead back to 42-36 on Morris’ layup with 2:36 left. But Crest scored the next six points, and when Warwick was unable to corral a rebound, the result was a wild loose ball scramble and the ball eventually found Klopp, who made no mistake on a game-tying trey with 1:21 to go.
"We had the ball in our hands two or three times with the lead and we just dropped it on the rebounds," Landis said. "I told them the game would probably be won on who got the most rebounds down the stretch."
Klopp made both ends of a 1-and-1 with 30 seconds left, and then Tyler Stief, who finished with 12 points, dropped in a layup to tie it 44-all and force overtime.
There, Cedar Crest’s Evan Horn was 7-for-8 from the foul line, as the Falcons outscored Warwick 12-6 to complete the comeback.
"I don’t fault anyone’s effort," Landis said. "The kids all gave it what they had."
Last Thursday, the Warriors traveled to Lancaster to face Section One champion McCaskey and dropped a 72-55 loss. The Red Tornados’ Devonne Pinkard, who is averaging 19.9 points per game this winter, led all scorers with 24 points, as McCaskey remained unbeaten in league play with a 13-0 record. The Warwick boys, led by K’shawn Mickens’ team-high 21 points, were still within single digits in the first half, trailing 15-12 after one and 32-24 at the intermission. McCaskey, though, pulled away in the third quarter, going on a 21-10 run. More WARRIORS, page B-3