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WHS girls get defensive in win over Cedar Crest
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org, Staff Writer
A year ago, the Warwick girls lost to Hempfield early in the league season and it sent them into a tailspin which cost them a berth in the playoffs.
Last Tuesday, Jan. 3, Warwick returned to Hempfield and dropped a one-point loss.
But this time, they have bounced back.
The Lady Warriors have not only won both of the Section One battles that they’ve played since then, including a lopsided 43-22 victory over Cedar Crest on Tuesday night in Lititz, but their average margin of victory in those two games is 17.5 points.
"They’re not getting down, they’re playing together, they’re really talking and those are the things that we need to continue to do," Warwick coach Amy Derr said.
With the win, Warwick improved to 4-2 in L-L play (6-5 overall) and kept pace with Penn Manor in second place in the Section standings, two games behind Township (6-0). The Lady Warriors will play Penn Manor this Friday for sole possession of second.
"I’m pleased that we’re continuing to improve," Derr remarked. "We talked to the girls about we’re climbing a mountain and we have to keep our heads and we have to keep focused. We’re thrilled that they’re playing four quarters."
On Tuesday against Cedar Crest, they played four quarters of solid defense, showing the Lady Falcons multiple looks in both zone and man-to-man. In fact, the Crest girls shot a lowly 3-for-21 (14 percent) from the field in the opening two stanzas when Warwick jumped to a commanding 22-8 lead and they finished the game converting only 8-for-42.
"We said at the beginning of the season that any time we’re playing against a team that we don’t have a height disadvantage, we definitely want to try as many defenses as we have," Derr said. "And we pretty much tried every defense that we had tonight … We knew we needed to key in on (Astin Toms and Taylor Ford). So when you sit back in a zone, obviously the girl who is playing on that side needs to key in and they did an excellent job tonight of doing that."
Ford, who scored 18 points in Crest’s win vs. Hempfield last Friday, was held to just 11 points, while Warwick senior Bethany Zimmerman paced all scorers with 13 points.
Macaulay Soto did an excellent job in her own right in the first quarter, scoring all five of her points, including a trey, and then Vicki Smith’s putback stretched the Warwick girls’ lead to 11-5 at period’s end.
Smith came off the bench to provide a boost for her team, finishing with four points and four rebounds, as Warwick built a 35-30 advantage on the boards.
"Vicki did super," Derr said. "We’re giving an award after every game, we’re calling it the P-I-G award, and it’s about perseverance and intensity and grit. And I think Vicki is getting that award tomorrow. We were impressed with her all the way around tonight."
Megan Hunt, who finished with nine points, showed some perseverance of her own, as she missed her first couple of shots, but nailed a ‘three’ to start Warwick on a 9-1 surge early in the second quarter which pushed their advantage to to 20-6 with 3:38 left in the half when Kate Mobley drained a pull-up J. Overall, the Lady Warriors’ defense deflected a number of Cedar Crest passes and forced seven of the Lady Falcons’ 19 turnovers in that quarter, and Zimmerman connected for back-to-back deuces on a layup and a putback in Warwick’s run. Zimmerman finished with seven rebounds to go with her 13 points.
"We talked to Bethany and Greta (Weidemoyer) in the beginning of the season when we really struggled with Muhlenberg and L-S," Derr remarked, "and I said to both of them, ‘Let’s have a goal in mind for the two of you. If I can get 15 points out of both of you combined, that’s decent.’ And they’re listening to that, they’re working together."
With 5:33 left in the third quarter, the Crest girls got their deficit down to 10 points, 24-14, following a short jumper and two free throws by Ford. But the Lady Warriors, who shot 16-for-42 (38 percent) from the field for the game, finished the period on a 10-0 run, capped by Hunt’s ‘three’ and Madi Derr’s jumper, to make it 34-14 going to the final stanza, and it was never close down the stretch.
"I feel that these kids are extremely unselfish and that helps," Derr said. "We don’t have the drama, we don’t have the attitudes. We have kids that all want to play, they’re happy to play when they get in, and I couldn’t ask for anything more than that right now."
Last Friday, Jan. 6, Warwick held McCaskey to just nine points in the second half and defeated the Red Tornados 45-31 in a Section One battle in Lititz.
The two teams were locked in a tight battle in the first half, with Warwick leading just 23-22 going to the break. But the Lady Warriors put together a 22-9 surge in the second half to notch their fourth league victory.
Zimmerman netted 12 points to lead a balanced attack for the Lady Warriors. Hunt added 10 points and Greta Weidemoyer finished with nine points. McCaskey was led by Khadijah Williams, who poured in a game-high 13 points. More LADY WARRIORS, page B-3