So long, Solanco

By on December 17, 2014
Senior Adam Wagaman (right) goes to work in the post against a Solanco defender in the Warriors’ 61-54 victory on Tuesday night. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Senior Adam Wagaman (right) goes to work in the post against a Solanco defender in the Warriors’ 61-54 victory on Tuesday night. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

For the first time this season, the Warwick boys faced some adversity.

They passed the test with flying colors.

Coming off their first loss of the season, the Warriors got back on track Monday night, riding a 21-point night from Nate Miller to earn a 61-54 win over Solanco in a Section One-Two crossover game in Lititz.

Damian Soto chipped in with 10 points for the Warwick boys (2-0 L-L, 4-1 overall), who took a commanding 37-14 lead at the half.

Desmond Kreider finished with a team-high 15 points for the Golden Mules, including one of several second-half three-pointers as Solanco cut into its deficit.

The Warriors, though, still led 46-29 heading to the final stanza and held on for the victory. Miller finished with three of Warwick’s seven treys.

Last Saturday, Exeter’s Taylor Trojanowski buried a three-pointer from the left elbow with just :3.5 left to snap a 53-53 tie and the Eagles dealt Warwick its first loss of the season, earning a 56-53 non-league win in Lititz.

The clutch shot from Trojanowski spoiled a valiant comeback effort from the Warriors, who rallied from an eight-point deficit, 51-43, in the final 1:20 to pull even on James Willis’ driving layup with :24 remaining. Exeter, with no timeouts left, managed to inbound the ball and get it to Trojanowski, who delivered the dagger.

“We tried to get a five-second call (on the inbound),” Warrior coach Jeff Landis recalled. “We said once they get it in though, take a step back and make them beat us from the outside. They got in our gut a lot in the second half and we didn’t want them to do that. (Our strategy was) if they’re going to beat us, they’re going to beat us from 19. Well, they beat us from 22. It was deep. But we knew when it left his hands it was going in. We had a perfect view and he made a nice play.”

Exeter’s 6-foot-5, 250-pound Michael Menet was a big reason Exeter was able to get in the Warwick’s gut and he led four Eagle players in double figures with 14 points. Drew Churchill added 13 points, while Trojanowski and Luis Arndt chipped in with 12 and 10, respectively.

Warwick’s Nate Miller shared game-high scoring honors with 14 points. Damian Soto and Willis finished with 13 points apiece. But the Warriors’ struggles at the foul line &tstr; shooting just 9-of-19 (47 percent) &tstr; cost them dearly.

“They defended really well against our foul shooting,” Landis quipped. “Every time we went to the line, they seemed to make us miss … Under 50 percent, you’re not going to win many. We’re going to be in a lot of close games and we just have to get better shooting foul shots. It’s just a confidence matter. We’re going to step up and make big ones to win a game and hopefully that changes things.”

Despite shooting just 2-of-6 from the stripe in the opening minutes of the second quarter, the WHS boys put together a 9-0 run, capped by Miller’s slam and then a fastbreak layup to push their lead to 23-13 with 4:48 remaining in the half. It was still 27-17 after Miller sank both ends of a 1-and-1 just over a minute later, but then Trojanowski nailed a pair of treys in a 10-2 run by Exeter to close the half, cutting its deficit to 29-27.

The Warriors still led 35-34 following Willis’ triple with 3:16 left in the third, only to see Menet answer with a layup and then Churchill get back-to-back buckets inside to boost the Eagles, who claimed a 41-36 edge heading to the final stanza.

“It’s not a bad basketball team we lost to &tstr; they won the Manheim Township tournament last weekend,” Landis said. “I thought really for the first time this year, people got in our gut, they got past our guards at certain spots. Dan did a pretty good job on No. 3 (Arndt), but at other spots, they were able to get into our lane.”

Things might have been worse for Warwick without the presence of Adam Wagaman (6-foot-3, 230), who saw his most minutes since returning from an injury suffered during football season.

“Adam’s just rounding into shape,” Landis said. “Obviously his size against that big kid (Menet) was nice. Not many people present a 6-5, 250-pound (obstacle) … I don’t know if (Menet)’s 6-5 but he’s a legitimate 250.”

Menet capitalized on that size to score on a putback with 1:20 left in the fourth, as the Eagles equaled their biggest lead by going in front 51-43.

End of the line for Warwick? Not so fast.

After Miller buried a ‘three’ from the left corner, Exeter converted just two of its next six foul shots. In the meantime, Warwick’s Kyle Weaver dropped in a baseline runner, Soto buried a trey – his fourth of the game – and Willis’ drive to the basket knotted things at 53-all.

Moments later, Trojanowski gave the Eagles a lead they never relinquished.

With time running out, Miller’s half-court prayer went unanswered and the Eagles held on.

“We’ve got to put it behind us real quick and come back Monday,” said Landis, whose squad lost senior Jordan Cipalla to an ankle injury with 4:54 left. “I just said in the locker room to the players, ‘The nice thing about basketball is it resembles baseball and you can’t think about it too long. You’ve got to go right back at it Monday, unlike football where you have the week to prepare for it.’ So we’ll come out Monday and hopefully have a good crowd and play with a lot of energy and get back on track.”

The Warriors were also in action on Friday night, riding a 16-point night from Cipalla to a 62-37 crossover win over Garden Spot in New Holland in both teams’ league opener. On a night when Section One finished a perfect 6-0 against their Section Two brethren, Miller chipped in with 13 points for the winners, while Grant Zimmerman and Soto added nine apiece.

In a tough non-league match-up at Lampeter-Strasburg last Wednesday, Dec. 11, Miller dropped in a career-high 21 points and Willis finished with 11, leading the Warriors to a 48-44 hard-fought win over the Pioneers. Ben Sandberg paced L-S with 16 points.

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