Warriors top the Buckskins, then fall to the Knights
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Tyler Morris was still sidelined with an injury.
Then K’shawn Mickens was hurt in last Wednesday’s game against Conestoga Valley and forced to leave early.
Others were battling illness.
As a team, however, the Warwick boys found a way to get it done against the Buckskins, as Matt Engle led all scorers with 24 points and the Warriors earned a 52-41 win in a Section One-Two crossover in Lititz. Tyler Stief also finished with double-figures, dropping in 11 points in the victory. Coupled with their 10-point conquest of Cocalico last Monday, Dec. 17, the Warriors won back-to-back games for the first time this season.
"There’s nothing going to be easy, especially when you’re down a player or two," Warwick coach Jeff Landis said. "You’ve got to grind it out and we did that."
Unfortunately for the Warriors, their hopes of winning three in a row fell a little bit short on Friday night, as they suffered a 49-36 loss to Hempfield in a Section One battle in Landisville on Friday night, dropping them to 2-2 in Section One (3-4 overall). With neither Mickens nor junior Austin Myers able to play, the Warwick boys had their lowest offensive output of the season, scoring nine points below their season average of 45.1 ppg through their first six outings.
They didn’t get a hot start in the first quarter against CV either, falling behind 11-6 after one, as Jon Perez scored five of his team-high 13 points in the period, including a 3-pointer, to lead the Buckskins.
"They fought through a sluggish start," Landis said.
Indeed, the Warriors started to show their fight in the second quarter, when Engle scored seven points in a 15-10 run to help the hosts pull even at the half, 21-21.
Following the break, they carried that momentum into the third quarter, outscoring the Bucks 17-6 to grab an 11-point advantage, 38-27, heading to the final stanza. Colby, who finished with eight points, knocked down back-to-back triples, while Stief and Engle added two deuces apiece.
"We made some plays offensively," Landis said. "We will always bring it defensively. We held another team to 40 points again tonight. But offensively, we found something that worked a little bit in the second half. We went to a lot of ball screening, which we don’t necessarily do often, but it worked. We got a layup out of it and then Colby rolled back and got two ‘threes’ in a row. Then all of a sudden, a tie went to nine pretty fast. And when you’re only giving up 10 points a quarter and you get a 10-point lead, it seems like 15."
To Conestoga Valley’s credit, though, they didn’t go quietly. They twice got within seven in the fourth quarter, the second of those when Perez nailed a trey. Then when Anthony Brown (12 points) sank a 3-pointer with 1:10 remaining, the Buckskins cut their deficit to six, 47-41.
"They made shots down the stretch," Landis said. "They didn’t go away and coach (Brad) Herr’s teams won’t. They’re going to play hard to the end."
The Warriors played hard to the end as well, and Engle and Stief combined to shoot 5-of-6 from the foul line in the final 49 seconds to wrap up the win. Overall, Engle scored nine of Warwick’s 14 points in the fourth quarter to lead the way.
"We went delay with, like, five and a half minutes to go … we went delay to score, though," Landis said. "We didn’t go delay to hold it for six minutes. We went to spread them out and when we did that, Matt was able to get to the basket and he finished, and then we had pretty good foul shooters down the stretch. I’m pretty confident when we go to the line that we’re going to knock them down."
Hempfield (3-1 L-L, 4-2 overall) did a pretty good job from the foul line in its own right on Friday night, outscoring the Warriors 18-6 in free throws in their 49-36 Section One win.
Zach Walter was a perfect 6-for-6 at the stripe while finishing with nine points for the Black Knights, and Hempfield’s Drew Johnson led all scorers with 19 points, including a pair of treys.
Many of Johnson’s points came in the second half, when the Knights broke open a 21-21 tie by outscoring the Warriors 28-15. Weit knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and led Warwick with 12 points in the losing cause. More WARRIORS, page B-3