Warwick boys shock the first-place Bears, 61-36
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Even as Tyler Morris missed the first 10 games of the season with his injured foot in a protective boot, he spent a lot of time practicing his shot.
It showed on Tuesday night.
The Warwick senior forward drilled five triples and scored a season-high 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor against unbeaten Section Two-leading Elizabethtown.
Make that previously unbeaten.
The Warriors, sparked by Morris and a tenacious defensive effort on Bears’ leading scorers Tyler Koser and Lucas Jewell, led wire-to-wire, jumping to a 13-5 lead after the first quarter and never looking back on their way to a convincing 61-36 win over the Bears in a Section One-Two boys basketball crossover game in Lititz.
"It feels great," Warwick coach Jeff Landis said. "We’ll enjoy this tonight and then get back to work tomorrow."
That work has certainly been paying off lately, as the Warriors are now 4-1 in their past five games. With the win, they improved to 6-4 in Section One (7-8 overall) and remained tied with Manheim Township (6-4 L-L), one game behind Hempfield (7-3 L-L) in the Section race. The Bears (9-1 Section Two, 11-4 overall), meanwhile, suffered their first league loss of the season heading into their showdown with Section One-leader McCaskey this Friday.
"We’re not going anywhere," Landis said. "We’re still one game behind Hempfield … I’m assuming they won tonight. We play them all again, so we are 4-1 in our last five games, it’s something to build off of. But like I said, (Wednesday) we’ve got to bet back after it."
They got after it on Tuesday against the Bears, a team averaging 62.4 points per game in their previous five outing. Warwick’s defense held them to 2-of-9 shooting in the opening quarter and 15-of-45 from the field for the game, led by Morris and Matt Engle, who contained Koser (19.6 ppg) and Jewell (15.2) below their season averages. Jewell managed 14 points and Koser chipped in 11.
"(E-town) didn’t shoot the ball very well tonight because I thought we did a good job defensively," Landis said. "We’re pretty good defensively. I mean, that’s been a staple all year. It doesn’t stand out when you’re scoring 32 points yourself, but defense is our trademark. Tyler Morris is a good match-up for Koser and Matt Engle is pretty much a good match-up for anyone. And you know what really made it special tonight is Colby (Weit) and Tyler Stief, the guys that didn’t have the tough match-ups were helping and they were very aware of their surroundings. I just thought we played a super team game."
Those deflections and loose ball scrambles on defense helped force nine E-town turnovers in the first half, and Chris Devlin, who finished with nine points and four rebounds off the bench, scored back-to-back deuces — one on a putback, one on a fastbreak layup — to push the Warriors’ lead back to seven, 20-13, with 5:30 left in the half after E-town had cut it to three on Koser’s triple.
"The bench is doing a great job," Landis said. "Devlin was huge tonight. He scored nine, he contested, he got rebounds."
Overall, Morris grabbed nine boards to barely miss a double-double, but Warwick had a 35-23 edge on the boards and often limited the Bears to just one shot per trip.
The Warriors, though, weren’t missing a lot of shots in the third quarter, responding to Kirby Breault’s deuce which cut the lead to 29:25 with 7:13 to go in the third with a 17-2 run. And when Weit nailed the second of his two treys with 1:28 left in the period, the Warriors had a 46-27 lead.
They still led 46-31 early in the fourth, when Devlin dropped in a layup, then Morris hit back-to-back triples, followed by a free throw, and it was turn off the lights time with the Warriors leading 55-31 with 3:28 to go.
"I don’t know what he ended up with … but he was a monster tonight," Landis said.
As a result, the Warriors came away with a monster victory.
"(E-town)’s got the big game on Friday, so they thought, and their coaching staff does a great job — they’ll be ready for that," Landis said. "But I just thought it was a great night to catch them. We’re healthy now, we’ve started to roll a little bit, we’re starting to believe in each other."
Last Friday, Engle scored a team-high 12 points and Warwick belted host Solanco 65-37 in a Section One-Two crossover in Quarryville.
The Warriors grabbed command in the first half with a 35-18 lead and cruised to the win.
The Warriors were also in action last Wednesday, Jan. 9, suffering a 60-53 OT loss in a Section One game in Lititz. The Streaks broke a 47-47 tie at the end of regulation by shooting 13-of-14 from the foul line. Engle led the way with 16 points, while K’shawn Mickens and Stief added 11 apiece. More WARRIORS, page B-4