Best start for Warwick in 12 years

By on December 10, 2014

Derr named Most Valuable Player in Elizabethtown Tip-Off

Warwick sophomore Rylee Derr (right) wrestles the ball away from Susquehannock’s Kelsey McCullough in last Saturday’s Elizabethtown Tip-Off Tournament championship game.

Warwick sophomore Rylee Derr (right) wrestles the ball away from Susquehannock’s Kelsey McCullough in last Saturday’s Elizabethtown
Tip-Off Tournament championship game.

The Warwick girls had options.

They had different ways they could go with the ball while trailing by one in the final minute of OT.

Rylee Derr was one of those options.

And when the Lady Warriors’ sophomore leading scorer got the ball on a bounce pass from teammate Rene Ross near the foul line with about 10 seconds remaining, she made no mistake, driving a few steps and then delivering in the clutch.

“It was in the spur of the moment,” Derr recalled. “I don’t even think it was supposed to go that way. I saw an open lane and two (Susquehannock) girls were guarding me down below, so I just took a quick jumper.”

Derr’s shot hit all net with 5.1 ticks to go on the clock and it proved to be the game-winner in Warwick’s 48-47 OT win over Susquehannock in the Elizabethtown Tip-Off Tournament championship game on Saturday night.

Derr, who finished with a game-high 26 points, was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player and Ross, a sophomore point guard, was selected to the All-Tournament Team.

Combined with the WHS girls’ 46-31 victory over host E-town in Friday’s opening round, it marked the first time since the 2002-03 season that they have won their first two games of the season.

“It’s a great start to the season,” said senior co-captain Alexa Mohler, who added 10 points in the winning cause. “I was really looking forward to playing the championship game, obviously, winning (Friday), so that was exciting. I’m real excited for the season starting out 2-0.”

That unbeaten start, though, was no sure thing with Warwick leading only 19-15 at the half. In the opening two stanzas, the Lady Warriors shot 4-of-11 from the foul line, while converting just 23 percent of their attempts from the field (5-of-22), mostly from the perimeter.

It was a far cry from how the Warwick girls began their game against the Lady Bears on Friday, seizing control with a 17-4 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

“We went out (against E-town) and had such a banging first quarter and I said to the kids, ‘We have to do that all the time,’” Warwick coach Amy Derr said. “This was a different approach because (Susquehannock) was a bigger team. I knew that 32 (Ashley Stone) was definitely their player to watch. She could shoot the ‘three,’ as well as play a really good inside game. Trying to contain her was obviously a priority for us.”

Stone, whose 13 points led three Susquehannock players in double figures, buried a couple of ‘J’s while book-ending a 10-0 run by the Lady Warriors to start the third, giving her team a 25-19 lead. Taylor Tannura added 12 points and Tyler Williams chipped in with 10.

Taylor Gonzalez’s two free throws put Warwick back in front 30-29, then Williams answered with a deuce for Susquehannock and Derr’s layup boosted the WHS to a 32-31 edge at period’s end.

Kate Martin scored on a fastbreak layup and then nailed both ends of a 1-and-1, igniting Warwick on a 11-4 spurt to start the fourth as they took their biggest lead of the night, 43-35, with 3:57 left.

It didn’t last, though.

Stone’s layup, followed by a triple from the top of the key, got Susquehannock within one, and then Mya Gibbs hit the second of two foul shots with 1:12 to go, tying things at 43-all.

After the fourth of Warwick’s four turnovers in the final stanza, Susquehannock held for the final shot.

“I’m pretty sure we were all nervous,” Derr laughed. “I looked over at the bench and they were all jittery and smiling. It was crazy.”

Playing a box-and-1, with guards Gonzales and Ross double-teaming Stone and Gibbs, the WHS girls braced for a final Susquehannock shot.

“We knew that the ball was probably going to go to number 32 (Stone), so we had to key in on her,” Mohler said.

“Taylor really stood up tonight,” Derr said. “She’s one of the fastest girls, so she was on 32 and she did a really amazing job.”

Sure enough, it was Stone who launched the final shot from the left elbow in the finals seconds, but it was off the mark and the game went to OT.

“Taylor’s a quick kid,” coach Derr said, “and I told her, ‘Whatever you do, just don’t foul. We want to close out, but try not to let her shoot and just box out really good.’”

In the extra session, Tannura &tstr; who finished 8-of-12 from the stripe &tstr; buried two freebies with 1:49 left to put the Lady Warriors up 45-43. Mohler then made one of two foul shots, and following a Susquehannock turnover, her putback gave the Warwick girls a 46-45 lead with 1:20 to go.

“I had just come off of missing a real important foul shot,” Mohler said, “so I was a little bit nervous, but I tried to bust the boards to make sure that we got a rebound in case Rylee missed and thankfully made my putback.”

Still, there were some anxious moments left for Warwick as Tannura sank both ends of a 1-and-1 with 1:14 left, putting Susquehannock up 47-46.

From there, the Lady Warriors played for the final shot and Derr was money.

“We have a play at the end that is always a good go-to play,” coach Derr said. “Actually, there a lot of options with it. I didn’t want to take it down to the last second. Whoever it was that was going to take the last shot, I told Rylee that if she can drive, go ahead and drive. But then I also wanted to have a little time in case there was a miss and a rebound and maybe hopefully a putback because Alexa knows she needs to be in place for that. So it worked in our favor … thank God.”

Things also worked in Warwick’s favor against Elizabethtown in Friday’s opener, as Derr finished with 17 points and Martin chipped in with 12 in the Lady Warriors’ 46-31 victory.

They stretched the advantage to 32-14 going to the locker room and then maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second half for the win.


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