Ephrata girls hold on to beat Warwick, 38-37

By on January 9, 2019
Warwick sophomore forward Elise Balmer (right) looks to deny Ephrata’s Carly Holochuck on a drive to the basket during second-half action in Tuesday night’s game. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

Warwick sophomore forward Elise Balmer (right) looks to deny Ephrata’s Carly Holochuck on a drive to the basket during second-half action in Tuesday night’s game. Photo by Kirk Neidermyer

The Ephrata girls can’t change the fact that they’ve had a tough start out of the blocks.

Truth is, the Lady Mounts won just one of their first four league games.

And it didn’t figure to get any easier Tuesday night against a Warwick team coming off a big 46-42 come-from-behind victory at Elizabethtown to pull into a first place tie atop Section Two.

But the message from first-year Ephrata coach Brian Cerullo was still the same.

“We told the girls that despite the slow start we’ve had, the Section is still there,” he said.

That certainly came into clearer focus with their down-to-the-wire 38-37 Section Two victory over host Warwick, in which Lady Mounts’ junior guard Jocelyn Umana delivered a double-double with a game-high 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Ephrata led by as many as six in the fourth, only to see Warwick climb back within one, 32-31 with 2:59 left on a bucket by Lauren Pyle, and although Ephrata shot only 6-of-11 from the foul line in the final 55.2 seconds, it was enough.

The victory evened the Ephrata girls with Warwick in a second-place tie, both at 3-3 L-L — one game behind Elizabethtown (4-2 L-L).

“I’m not sure they completely believed us (about the Section race),” Cerullo said, “but hopefully after tonight, they do believe us.”

The Lady Warriors believe as well.

Coach Danny Cieniewicz was hoping to see his team build off of last Friday’s emotional game against the Lady Bears, but thought his team came out a little bit flat, which contributed to an early 10-0 first-quarter deficit.

“Bottom line is, with this Section, it’s still wide open,” Cieniewicz said. “At least, we control our own destiny. It’s not like anything has been lost or won tonight, not was it Friday. We understand that and I hope this (loss) is a good thing for us to help open our eyes a little bit and realize that there is no night off.”

As the Warwick girls (5-6 overall) came out of the gates shooting 0-for-13 from the floor in the first quarter, the Lady Mounts (4-8 overall) got five points apiece from Umana and Gabi Gerola-Hill in the first 3:10 to go up 10-0. Gerola-Hill went on to finish with 11 points.

“I think if we’re going to try to fix things or work on things that we shouldn’t have let happen,” Cieniewicz said, “it was, especially in the beginning, digging ourselves a 10-0 hole. That is, I think, what ultimately hurt us.”

Abby Rodgers, Reagan Longridge and Tanner Armstrong combined to go 5-of-6 at the foul line, but Ephrata still led 14-5 at period’s end.

The Lady Warriors eventually battled back in the second quarter, forcing eight EHS turnovers, and when Lailani Batty scored on a drive with 3:58 left in the half, Warwick was back within 16-13.

A ‘three’ by Ephrata’s Gerola-Hill made it a six-point game, but Warwick ended the half on a 6-0 run, capped by Longridge’s floater and a mid-range J by Haley Delgiacco, tying it 19-all at the half.

Longridge finished with a team-high 10 points, to go with seven rebounds, to lead Warwick.

“(Reagan) played well and she’s been playing well,” Cieniewicz said. “I think she’s a little bit more confident and a little bit more aggressive on offense, which we need from her.”

The back-and-forth seesaw continued in the second half, and Kandice Liebl’s putback, followed by two free throws from Hannah Plowmaker, gave Ephrata a 23-19 lead with 2:00 gone in the third.

“We told them coming into the game, ‘We knew it was going to be a dog fight and we knew we were going to have to play all 32 minutes,’” Cerullo said. “So even though we got up early, we knew they were going to make a run and we just had to withstand that run and keep going on our own and I think we did that.”

The Lady Warriors battled back to tie it 24-all at the end of the third, and then they took their first lead, 26-24, on Batty’s layup with 19 seconds elapsed in the fourth.

It didn’t last, however. Back-to-back layups by Carly Holochuck ignited Ephrata on a 8-0 run to put Ephrata in front 32-26 with 4:31 left.

Longridge then went 3-of-4 at the line and Pyle, who finished with nine points, scored on a J to cut Warwick’s deficit to 32-31 with 2:59 left.

But Warwick shot just 22 percent (12-of-54) from the floor in the game, and 2-of-20 from beyond the arc, and when Ephrata’s Brooke Ludwig buried two foul shots with :31.5 left, the Lady Mounts had a 37-31 lead.

“We got good looks,” Cieniewicz said. “I just think sometimes it’s a matter of putting it in the hole and tonight wasn’t our night.”

Pyle’s trey made it a three-point game, 37-34, with :18.8 to go, and then Umana sank one of two at the line to push Ephrata’s lead to 38-34. Longridge hit a buzzer-beating ‘three’ for Warwick, but Ephrata was able to hold on.

“The last made (free throw) was obviously huge,” Cerullo said. “Gabi Gerola-Hill and Kandice Liebl were out for different games, we had Maddie Groff who was out in the beginning of the year. So we just got a full team back recently during the Christmas Tournament. We’re still working to be the team we want to be, but this is a good step in the right direction.”


Last Friday, the Warwick girls pulled off a fourth-quarter comeback to beat Elizabethtown 46-42 and claim a share of the Section Two lead.

Trailing 40-30 with just 3:19 remaining, the Lady Warriors got a spark with back-to-back 3-pointers from Lailani Batty and Sydney Weismandel.

Later, Lauren Pyle’s two free throws with 2:02 left pulled Warwick to 40-38, and then Batty buried two freebies at the 1:43 mark to give the Lady Warriors a 42-40 advantage.

In all, Batty scored 11 of her team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter, while Pyle netted 10 of her 16 points in the second half to help lead the rally.

Pyle ended up going 9-of-11 from the stripe, including a pair of shots to make it 45-42 with just :22 left in the game.

Reagan Longridge chipped in with six points for Warwick, including a key fourth-quarter bucket.

Marena Lonardi paced the Lady Bears with 19 points and Sydney Pierson chipped in with eight.


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