Clutch shots by Williamson, Pyle boost the Warwick girls

By on December 19, 2018
Warwick’s Lauren Pyle (left) looks around Manheim Central’s Leah Minnich to try to pass the ball to a teammate. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Warwick’s Lauren Pyle (left) looks around Manheim Central’s Leah Minnich to try to pass the ball to a teammate. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Lady Warriors improve to 3-2 overall

It was just like practice for Lauren Pyle.

Or, at least, that’s what the Warwick sophomore guard was thinking at the moment.

“I was telling myself, ‘Just relax,’” she said.

With the score tied at 33-all, Pyle stepped to the foul line for two shots with just :1.9 left in OT.

The first attempt spun out, but heeding her counsel to relax, Pyle buried the next one, and the Warwick girls went on to beat Hempfield 34-33 in Landisville in a Section One-Two crossover Monday night.

“I tried not to get in my head too much, and then I threw the second one up and I knew it was in,” said Pyle, who shared game-high scoring honors with teammate Abby Rodgers, each with 11 points. “Last season we struggled, so each win we get is important.”

The win improved Warwick to 1-1 in Section Two (3-2 overall) heading into games against McCaskey and Cedar Crest to close out the week.

“Really, for us, finding a way to win is important,” Warwick coach Danny Cieniewicz said, “especially late in a game. To be able to execute and make just enough plays the way that they did, that’s a sign of a maturing team and I think we’re getting there.”

If not for a huge shot from Warwick sophomore Jessica Williamson with just :01 left in regulation, the game never would have gone to OT.

Trailing 31-28, the Lady Warriors got the ball at the left elbow to Williamson, who pump-faked a defender and then launched the game-tying ‘three.’

It was the biggest make of Williamson’s career.

“That was unbelievable,” she said. “I felt her coming so I wasn’t sure if she was going to bump me and foul me but I just took a step and then shot.”

“Jess has proven she can hit the outside shot,” Cieniewicz said. “You can’t coach clutch and she just stepped up and did what she had to do and made a big-time shot.”

From there, Williamson knocked down a floater with 2:27 left in the extra session to put the Warwick girls up 33-31.

A short time later, Molly McGarry — who led Hempfield with nine points — missed two free throws, but then knocked down a mid-range J with 1:22 remaining to tie it, 33-33.

The Lady Warriors eventually called a timeout with :48.3 to go, held for the final shot, and then Pyle took care of business.

“(Lauren)’s a very good foul shooter and she’s proven it in practice,” Cieniewicz said. “The first one was right there and we believed in her to hit the second shot and she just stepped up. But then from there, again we didn’t want any type of foul to put them at the line and give them a chance.”

Earlier, a low-scoring first half ended with the Lady Knights leading 12-11.

But Warwick started the third on a 9-0 run, as Julia Forsythe (7 points) scored on the post, then hit one of two free throws, and Rodgers and Pyle nailed back-to-back treys, making it 20-12.

Hempfield, though, responded. Executing a tenacious pressure defense, the Lady Knights forced nine of Warwick’s 14 turnovers in the second half. That helped them score the final nine points of the third quarter, capped by Lindsey Durkota’s three-point play, giving Hempfield a 21-20 advantage going to the fourth.

“Take nothing away from Hempfield,” Cieniewicz said. “They’re very deliberate on offense, they pack it in defensively, kinda like we do. I thought it was going to be a good match-up of two very similar teams and they did a good job slowing us down and causing some turnovers.”

In the final stanza, Rodgers and Pyle again connected from beyond the arc, and then Pyle’s layup with 5:12 left on the clock put Warwick in front 28-21.

McGarry’s triple tied it, 28-all, with 3:56 left and Durkota’s left-handed layup put Hempfield up 30-28 with 1:22 remaining. But the Lady Knights shot just 1-of-4 from the stripe in the final :52.7 — and 5-of-16 for the game — and Warwick made them pay when Williamson stepped up in the clutch.

“Like I said, we were able to make just enough plays,” Cieniewicz said. “But that was a good team that we beat and we’re happy with the win.”

Last Friday night in Lititz, Manheim Township’s Katie Bushong led all scorers with 25 points, as the Lady Blue Streaks defeated Warwick 52-39 in both teams’ league opener.

The score was tied 16-16 at the half, but MT went on an 18-8 third-quarter run to take the lead.

Pyle finished with 16 points to lead the Lady Warriors and Rodgers helped out with 10.

Alijiah Bonano chipped with 13 points for Manheim Township.

In a non-league game last Wednesday, Dec. 12, Pyle scored on a nicely-executed inbounds play with just :14 to go, and Warwick held on to beat Manheim Central 33-32 in Lititz.

Neither team led in the game by more than six points and the score was knotted 23-23 after three.

Laura Good’s layup with 5:34 left in the fourth put the Lady Barons up 29-27, and then after Forsythe and Reagan Longridge answered to put Warwick in front 31-29 with 2:33 to go, Good drained one of two free throws and Kassidy Michael’s layup gave MC a 32-31 lead with :56 remaining.

But Pyle’s layup in the final seconds proved to be the game-winner for the Lady Warriors. Pyle and Rodgers had 11 and 10 points, respectively, to lead the Warwick girls.

 

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