Weit’s trey boosts Warwick past MT Warriors qualify for Districts
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Things were pretty much black and white for the Warwick boys last Wednesday.
Win and the Warriors would punch their ticket to the District Three Quad-A playoffs.
Lose and they would not.
Making the task even more daunting for the Warwick boys in their regular-season finale was that they were playing Section One champion Manheim Township.
"Going in, we kinda knew that we had to win to extend our season," Warwick coach Jeff Landis remarked.
So that was the scenario as Colby Weit got a pass in the corner from K’shawn Mickens with the fourth-quarter clock expiring. And when Weit’s 3-pointer ripped the bottom of the net at the buzzer, lifting Warwick to a thrilling 51-48 Section One win over the Streaks in Lititz, it set off a big celebration for the Warriors and their fans.
For the fourth time this season — including at the conclusion of wins over Solanco, Hempfield and Cedar Crest — Warwick’s student section rushed the floor to mob their players.
"If you’ve seen it once this year, you’ve seen it about 15 times," Landis chuckled. "It was a great game. Believe it or not, the student section was bigger than it’s even been before … I’m just glad no one was seriously injured."
The victory improved Warwick to 11-11 overall and 10-6 in Section One, good for third place — three games behind runner-up McCaskey (13-3). Remarkably, it also raised their record to 6-1 in league home games.
Actually, in a worse-case scenario, Warwick had a small safety net for the District playoffs. They also would have qualified if Lower Dauphin and Garden Spot had both lost. LD did, in fact, drop a 54-46 decision to Susquehanna Twp., but GS upset co-Section Three leader Donegal, 51-43.
It didn’t matter, though.
Early on against the Streaks, the Warriors might have had their fingers crossed for Susquehanna Twp. and Donegal, after falling into a 9-2 hole. Jomar Guerrerro paced Manheim Township with 17 points.
But Warwick got within three by outscoring MT 14-10 in the second quarter and then they pulled ahead, 40-39, going to the fourth. Mickens, Shields and Tyler Morris finished with two treys apiece, and Shields poured in a team-high 17 points, while Mickens chipped in with 12 points.
Incidentally, the red and black also led through three quarters in Township’s gym on Jan. 17 before suffering a 53-50 loss. This time would be different, however.
"The guys were talking on Tuesday (at practice) and they know Township is a great team … (but) they had convinced themselves, without any help from me, that they could win," Landis said.
Blue Streaks’ player Cory Stoltz had a team-high 16 points against Warwick last month, but Warrior guard Matt Engle held him to just eight in their second meeting, and Warwick opened up a five-point lead in the fourth. Engle also added nine points at the offensive end.
Township battled back to tie it, and they had the ball in the final minute while playing for the last shot. But MT guard Nike Veronis, facing pressure from Mickens, turned the ball over, giving Warwick possession with :30 left.
At that point, the Blue Streaks still had two fouls to give, and they took the second of those with :05 remaining. From there, Warwick ran an inbounds play and the rest is history.
"Looking at matchups, we thought K’shawn had the most favorable matchup," Landis said. "We got him the ball and told him to go to the basket and he went by his man and Colby’s man came over to help. I think K’shawn made the right play and passed it to Colby, who was wide open in the corner, and he left it go with about a second left on the clock."
The 19th-seeded Warriors will play a District play-in game this Friday, Feb. 17 at 14th-seeded Central Dauphin East at 7 p.m.
"I think it’s been a good season so far," Landis said. "That being said, we’re .500. It’s exactly where we were last year. We got there a different way, we’ve had some big wins, but hopefully (going to Districts) does carry over because as good as it felt Wednesday night, it’d be nice for the last game of the season to be about winning a Section and not trying to qualify for Districts." More WARRIORS, page B-3