WHS girls top Central, but drop next twoLady Barons answer with win vs. Eagles
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org, Staff Writer
Greta Weidemoyer had the green light to drive with the ball if she had it.
And the Warwick junior took advantage of the opportunity.
With the Warwick girls leading by just one in the late stages of their non-league opener against back-yard rival Manheim Central last Friday night, Weidemoyer scored on a layup with just 18 seconds left to help clinch a 27-25 win for the Lady Warriors in Manheim.
"It was huge," Warwick coach Amy Derr said. "It was a play that we’ve practiced. Actually, it wasn’t the way that it was supposed to go, but she made it work."
Given that it was the first of three games in a five-day stretch for the Lady Warriors — all on the road — that was certainly huge to get the team started on a winning note. Warwick suffered losses in their next two games, falling 48-35 to Muhlenberg on Monday and 38-31 to Section Three favorite Lampeter-Strasburg in non-league action.
The Lady Warriors also had their backs to the wall on Friday while committing 30 turnovers against the Central girls. They trailed by as many as five points in the third quarter, but outscored Manheim Central 6-1 down the stretch to pull it out.
Warwick’s 2-3 zone defense contributed to MC’s struggles in the fourth quarter, as the Lady Barons shot 0-for-15 from the floor over the final eight minutes.
"Credit to Warwick," Manheim Central coach Tom McCabe remarked. "They played a really good zone. We knew it was coming … We were stagnant at times."
Down 24-19, Warwick cut its deficit to three on a jumper by Meredith Michel with just :03 left in the third quarter. That was Michel’s only bucket of the night, but she came off the bench to grab a number of key rebounds in the second half, as Warwick finished with a 32-27 edge on the glass.
"It’s whatever is going to work for us on a particular night," coach Derr said of Michel stepping in for Madi Derr. "Whoever has it, has it and Meredith did a great job defensively. Hopefully those players that you put in are going to do the job that needs to be done."
Bethany Zimmerman’s layup with 6:07 left cut MC’s lead to one, and then Weidemoyer hit a jumper with 5:01 to go to make it 25-24, giving Warwick its first lead since early in the third. Weidemoyer and Megan Hunt each finished with eight points for Warwick to share game-high scoring honors with Manheim Central seniors Renee Wiegand and Breanna Barber.
"We were up five," McCabe said, "and at times, we struggle finding people in transition from offense to defense and we knew Hunt could stroke it and it just seemed like (Warwick) found the right person in transition. They’re always tough inside."
Throughout the game, Warwick and Manheim Central struggled to find an offensive rhythm and both squads never got on track with their outside shooting game. Hunt nailed both of Warwick’s ‘threes,’ while Morgan Mummau and Maddy Novak each hit one for Central, but the Lady Barons were 0-for-5 beyond the arc in the fourth quarter.
"Watching them last year, I felt they were definitely a big ‘three’ shooting team," Derr said. "We didn’t have a chance to see them before this game, and we said we’re going to go with the flow and if we need to change it up, we will. But why change something if it’s working and in that fourth quarter, I felt like if we held tight and really tried to be in their faces even in a big zone, we should be OK."
The Warwick girls maintained their one-point lead as the clock ticked into the final minute. Then with Central just one team foul away from sending Warwick to the line in a 1-and-1 situation, Weidemoyer drove through the left side of the lane for a layup to put Warwick in front 27-24.
"The idea of scoring again was definitely in the picture," Derr said, "because it’s nice to have a little bit more of a lead than what we had. Basically, I wanted the kids to drive. Whoever had it, I wanted them to drive and try to force a foul. Some dropped for us tonight and some didn’t … It’s game one, it’s a long season. It was ugly, but it’s a win. So I’ll take it."
Novak went to the stripe with :08 left and sank the front end of a 1-and-1 for Central, making the score 27-25. She missed her second shot, however, and Weidemoyer grabbed the rebound and was fouled with :04 remaining.
Weidemoyer then missed her first shot, and the Lady Barons had one last-ditch opportunity, but Novak’s desperation ‘three’ from just inside half court was off the mark and Warwick held on for the victory.
"We battled," McCabe said. "I’m proud of the kids, I really am. I don’t know how good Section One is and we talked about knocking off a Section One rival. Credit to Warwick — they did a nice job in their zone and it was a tough battle."
The Central girls certainly battled in the first quarter after Novak went to the bench with her second foul with 2:11 elapsed. After Warwick took a 7-2 lead on Hunt’s triple, the Lady Barons finished the quarter on a 7-0 spurt on Wiegand’s putback, Mummau’s trey and Wiegand’s layup.
"We weathered the storm," McCabe said. "I told her, ‘I’m not really a gambling guy depending on the game.’ We played fine without her for awhile and when she came back, she came back with two and played well … I thought Kristen Robeson recognized some things. She played really, really well. I thought that she controlled the offense and made good decisions."
That spurt by Central became a 13-2 run as they stretched their lead to 15-9 with 3:09 to go in the half with Warwick mired in a scoring drought in which they mustered just two points over a span of more than 11 minutes.
"I felt like we never got into a nice run and that is a concern," Derr said. "Tomorrow (in practice) is passing and offense, it really is. That’s exactly what (coach) Allie (Butler) and I just talked about. We want to just go over it and we want to fine tune it."
Warwick continued to battle, though, and it answered with a 6-0 run of its own to close the second quarter, capped by Weidemoyer’s turnaround ‘J’ to tie it 25-all at the buzzer.
In the third, Barber scored seven of her eight points, including a putback and a three-point play to put the Central girls up 24-19.
"(Renee) worked hard at the foul line (at the top of Warwick’s zone)," McCabe said, "and we were trying to run cutters through the zone to pinch the seams and that seemed to work because we got some inside looks to Breanna and some outside looks for Morgan."
Little did Central know, however, but Barber’s putback with 1:33 to go in the third would be their final points from the field, as the Lady Warriors came from behind.
That, too, was the start of a busy opening stretch for the Lady Barons, with four games in eight days to start their season.
"We’ll be fine," McCabe said. "We’ll get back on the horse. We’ve got three big ones next week. We have, I’m sure, three good teams — Cocalico, CV and Lancaster Mennonite."
The Lady Barons passed the first of those tests on Tuesday, defeating Cocalico 41-33 in Manheim. Trailing by three, 17-14. at the half, Central outscored the Lady Eagles 27-16 in the second to notch their first victory.
Barber was a big weapon inside for the Lady Barons with a game-high 15 points.
Warwick, meanwhile, could never fully recover from a 13-4 first-quarter deficit against L-S on Tuesday, suffering a six-point loss.
Bethany Zimmerman led Warwick with nine points.
In Monday’s defeat at Muhlenberg, Hunt scored a season-high 12 points to lead the Lady Warriors in a losing cause. More GIRLS HOOPS, page B-8