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Warriors top Bulldogs in Tip-Off consis
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Trailing by 21 points in the first quarter against Donegal in Friday’s opening round of the Indians’ Tip-Off Tournament, the Warwick boys could’ve gone one of two ways.
Start thinking about West York in the consis or continue to fight.
They did the latter, and although Warwick eventually fell 62-44, they actually outscored Donegal 31-25 in the second half.
Besides closing the gap versus the Indians, the Warriors also created some momentum for themselves heading into their showdown with the Bulldogs on Saturday night. This time, it was Warwick that got the quick start, and then after West York came back to take a seven-point lead late in the fourth, Colby Weit’s 3-pointer with 10 seconds to go proved to be the game-winner in a 43-42 victory in Mount Joy.
"(West York coach Bill Ackerman) said he sat behind our bench Friday night and he said, ‘You ran into a buzzsaw, but you’ve got to be happy with the way your kids fought all night and never quit,’" Warwick boss Jeff Landis recalled. "That’s the way I felt and I think it carried into (Saturday) night’s game … We came out aggressive and played much better out of the shoot."
That aggressiveness by the Warriors led to multiple turnovers for West York and easy buckets in transition. Although K’shawn Mickens was 0-for-4 from beyond the arc, Warwick’s senior guard finished with a team-high 17 points to lead the way.
"West York had trouble getting anything in their offense," Landis said. "I think all five spots really pressured the ball well. The amount of deflections we had just tripled from the night before. We had very active hands and got a lot of steals which were turned into points."
The formula resulted in Warwick taking an early 14-1 lead. The Bulldogs got on track from 3-point land to close its deficit to 18-11 after one and then pull even 24-24 going to the locker room.
In the second half, West York sat in a zone defense and frustrated Warwick’s shooters, who were 0-for-13 at one point from downtown, as the Bulldogs took a slim 34-33 advantage at the end of three.
"They weren’t forced, they were open shots," Landis said, "but I couldn’t get too upset because we were getting good looks. No one tries to miss."
West York’s lead grew to seven with just three minutes left in the game, but then Matt Engle’s steal and assist setting up Mickens on a layup started the Warriors’ comeback.
""I thought our guards all night were the difference," Landis said. "They just pressured the heck out of the ball and turned (West York) over a tremendous amount."
Finally, with less than a minute left and West York still leading by two, the Bulldogs missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Tyler Stief grabbed the rebound, pushed the ball to the other end and got the ball to Mickens, who then fed Weit in the corner. Weit’s triple with just :10 left capped a night where he finished with nine points, putting Warwick up one 43-42.
Moments later, Engle deflected West York’s inbounds pass off of a Bulldog player, getting the ball back for the Warriors. West York still had two fouls to give, and they finally got the second of those with :1.9 to go, but not before Engle ran six seconds off the clock.
At the foul line, Engle’s foul shot missed, but West York barely had enough time for a desperation heave, which fell well short.
"I didn’t want to tell Matt to miss because then you’re afraid he’ll airball it or something like that," Landis said. "But missing was the perfect thing to do there. I just hate to put that thought in his head because then you try to hit the rim without making it and you don’t hit it and they get the ball side out. It worked out for us that way."
Last Friday, Warwick opened the game shooting just 0-for-12 from the field and Donegal’s Martin Dietrich nailed two of his four treys to help the Indians go up 24-2, leading them to the 62-44 in the debut of their new gymnasium.
Dietrich’s 16 points led a balanced Donegal offense, as Matt Foltz and Dylan Houseal added 15 and 12 points, respectively. Overall, Donegal was 4-for-5 from downtown in the first quarter and 6-of-14 for the game.
"They’re good. They’re a very good team," Landis said of Donegal. "I’ll give them some credit for that slow start. Obviously, it’s the first night and there’s probably some nerves. We hadn’t quite faced that length in our scrimmages. They’re very long and they’re physical. They did a good job of taking us out of stuff."
Plus, it didn’t help the Warriors’ cause that they were missing 6-foot-4 senior forward Tyler Morris, who is currently sidelined with a fractured ankle.
"I don’t know if it was in their heads (not having Tyler)," Landis said. "It’s not an excuse. We got kicked in the gut tonight by a good team and I don’t care who’s on the floor … there’s just no excuses."
The Warriors finally ended their drought from the floor when Weit nailed a trey with 6:34 left in the second quarter, but Donegal still led by 26 points, 39-13, at the half.
"The way they shot the ball in the first half, I mean, pick your poison," Landis said. "They can all shoot."
"I thought our defense right from the get-go was really good," Indians’ coach Ryan Butt said. "We rebounded well and limited them to just one shot and we were able to get out and run a little bit … We knew Warwick was going to be tough and I was glad for us to come out and play well."
Jake Shillady’s 3-pointer with 2:33 left in the fourth brought the Warriors within 15 points, 57-42, but Donegal was able to finish it out. Stief led Warwick with 12 points, while Engle and Weit each finished with 10 points.
"It’s a marathon, not a sprint," Landis said. "It stinks to lose, but I’ll tip my hat to them. They played very well and we’ll come back it (against West York)." More WARRIORS, page B-4