Warriors hold off Governor Mifflin

By on December 10, 2014

 

Warwick senior Nate Miller (11) takes the ball inside against Governor Mifflin’s Jacob Klahr last Friday night.

Warwick senior Nate Miller (11) takes the ball inside against Governor
Mifflin’s Jacob Klahr last Friday night.

With 4:18 left in the first half last Friday night, Warwick’s Nate Miller stole the ball from a Governor Mifflin ball handler, went the distance of the floor and slammed home a dunk with authority.

“(Nate)’s an athlete and the more he plays, the more confidence he gets,” Warrior coach Jeff Landis said.

As much of a highlight as that was for the Warwick boys, the senior center/forward delivered even bigger with just 10.7 seconds remaining.

After watching Governor Mifflin trim its 18-point deficit to just two in the fourth quarter, the Warriors got two free throws from Miller to ice a 51-47 non-league victory over the Mustangs in their opener in Lititz.

It was a reprieve for Miller after he missed two foul shots less than 30 seconds earlier.

“I just said (to Nate), ‘Six a.m,’” Landis recalled. “Nate was one of the four or five guys who showed up at 6 a.m. two, three times a week to work out with myself and coach Dean Melchioni. I said, ‘Take yourself to a good spot. You worked too hard to think about the two you just missed.’”

The Warriors, in fact, worked too hard to let this one get away. Led by a career-high 16 points and 13 rebounds by Miller, Warwick led wire-to-wire against the Berks Division One contenders.

Senior Grant Zimmerman chipped in with 10 points in the win.

“I thought it was a good character win,” Landis said, “because they’re supposed to be a good team, and I believe they are. And we dominated them for three quarters, I thought, and they tested us and it wasn’t pretty, but at the end it was a victory. So it’s a good start, but it’s one game.”

The Warriors couldn’t have asked for a better start, as Damian Soto and Jordan Cipalla knocked down treys in a game-opening 12-0 run. Mifflin, meanwhile, was 0-for-11 from the field in the opening eight minutes and didn’t score until Isiah Tisdale hit two free throws with 41 seconds left in the first.

“They missed some easy ones,” Landis said of the Mustangs, “but they have a very good player in No. 1 (Trystan Ovid), he took over the second half, and No. 11 (Reid Hoff) is a very nice player &tstr; very good passer. And I thought Jordan Cipalla did a great job on him. He hurt us a little bit on his passing, but he didn’t have that many. Jordan made him work for everything he got.”

With Colin Gibble and Adam Wagaman sidelined due to injury, the Warwick boys went just seven or eight deep. But junior Kyle Weaver, who led the Warrior JV team in scoring last year, came off the bench to score four of his seven points in a half-ending 12-5 run by Warwick which stretched its lead to 32-15.

“Kyle is very talented,” Landis said. “He carried our JV’s last year in the scoring department. He’s a shooter, he’s lanky. We didn’t have a deep bench tonight. We got Alex (Lalovic) in a little, Grant Forney came in and when he did come in, he did some good things. And Kyle Weaver also. But they’re very much part of it when they’re on the bench too. They’re 16, 17 year old kids and that doesn’t always happen. That’s why I really respect this group and cherish that part about them. They pull for each other.”

Miller and Soto combined for nine of Warwick’s 11 points in the third, helping their team maintain a 43-31 advantage going to the final stanza.

There, the Mustangs served notice that they were not going away. Capitalizing on a 1-3-1 zone, GM held Warwick to just one field goal in the fourth &tstr; a 3-pointer from Weaver in the middle of a 11-3 run which cut the Warriors’ lead to 46-42 following a three-point play in the post by Jevon Willet with 4:33 remaining on the clock.

Brandon Rodriguez, who led Mifflin with 12 points, shot 4-of-6 from the foul line in the fourth. Ovid added 11 for the Mustangs.

“We had to go against the 1-3-1,” Landis said, “and I should have done a better job of having them in spots they needed to get to. I thought we got there at times, but we weren’t aggressive enough with it. We maybe tried to protect our lead as opposed to continuing to attack.”

Governor Mifflin got as close as two, 49-47, with 2:27 remaining after Ovid scored on a putback.

From there, Warwick left the door open by going 0-for-5 at the foul line over the next minute or so. Overall, the Warriors were just 5-of-11 from the stripe in the fourth and 14-of-27 for the game.

Fortunately, however, the Mustangs had their own struggles at the stripe, shooting 11-of-23 in a game in which an eye-popping 49 fouls were called.

“The way it looks like the game is going to be called this year, foul shooting will be important,” Landis said. “We’ll need to tidy that up. If you put your hands on someone, there’s a third guy out there … it seems to me it’s going to be a foul. I think it’s a point of emphasis this year, so we’ve got to adjust.”

Miller adjusted quite nicely when he got a second chance at the foul line with 10.7 seconds remaining. He was true on both and that was the game.

“He had the kind of night I expect from Nate,” Landis said. “He’s an athlete.”

The Warriors were looking for more of the same last night (Wednesday) when they traveled to face L-L Section Three contender Lampeter-Strasburg.

“(The win) is very important to our confidence, I think, but we must understand that we go back to work tomorrow morning because Wednesday is going to be tough,” Landis said. “We have three good days of practice and it’s probably the last time we have three good days of practice for awhile.”

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