Warriors play spoiler in 49-48 upset of Cedar Crest

By on February 6, 2014

Warwick’s Jordan Cipalla nailed four treys and finished with a team-high 13 points in the Warriors’ 49-48 upset over Cedar Crest last Friday. Lititz Record file photo

Warwick’s Jordan Cipalla nailed four treys and finished with a team-high 13 points in the Warriors’ 49-48 upset over Cedar Crest last Friday. Lititz Record file photo

There have been no guarantees from the foul line this winter for the Warwick boys.

As a team, the Warriors have shot just 57 percent from the stripe.

Last Friday, however, with the red and black trying to complete an upset of Cedar Crest, junior Grant Zimmerman was money on two free throws with just :1.9 remaining.

“(Grant) didn’t hit the rim on either one,” Warwick coach Jeff Landis said. “He swished them both, which was big.”

When an 85-foot prayer by the Falcons went unanswered, the Warriors pulled off a 49-48 shocker over Cedar Crest in a Section One battle in Cornwall.

While improving to 6-8 in L-L play (7-12 overall), the Warwick boys also played the role of spoiler, knocking Cedar Crest (11-3 L-L) out of a three-way tie for first place in Section One with Hempfield and McCaskey, who are locked at 12-2 L-L. The Falcons are also the No. 3 team in the District Three Quad-A power ratings.

“That’s definitely our best win,” Landis remarked. “To go up there in that atmosphere against a team that’s in the middle of it and has a lot to play for, some of the pressure is squarely on their shoulders. And it looked like our kids enjoyed themselves. Sometimes when you’re not winning, it becomes a burden and it looked like they just played and had fun and played together.”

Outside shooting played a key role in the win for the Warriors, as they finished with nine triples – four of those by Jordan Cipalla, who had a team-high 13 points. Jake Shillady added 10, including a trey, while Damian Soto and James Willis chipped in with eight points apiece and a pair of 3-pointers.

“When we’re not trying to create on our own, when we’re letting someone else set us up and our feet are set, we have quite a few guys that can knock them down,” Landis said. “That’s what I thought the difference was – our ‘threes’ were really good looks this time around. Last time we played them, we were down one with six minutes to go and proceeded to shoot 11 straight ‘threes’ and I don’t think more than two or three of them were good shots off passes.”

Cedar Crest’s Evan Horn led all scorers with 15 points and Andrew Eudy added 10, but it was the Warriors who took a 28-19 advantage into the locker room.

“We really made the extra pass in the first half and knocked down like four ‘threes’ in a row,” Landis said. “Sometimes we settle, but this was making the extra pass and getting open guys and we had a bunch of people make shots.”

The Falcons cut it to three, 33-30, heading to the fourth and eventually pulled even in the final three minutes.

“They’re a very good team, they made a run and tied it up,” Landis said.

Cipalla’s four-point play put the Warriors back in front, but the game continued to go back-and-forth and Horn’s drive to the basket lifted Cedar Crest a one-point lead with just under two minutes remaining.

“Evan Horn really tried to take the game over for them and he’s tough,” Landis said, “but we did a pretty good job defensively on him. Jordan made him work for whatever he got.”

Two foul shots by Soto put Warwick up by one, and then Crest put the ball in Horn’s hands at the other end of the floor, but Austin Myers took a charge for the Warriors.

“We told Austin that his man hasn’t shot the ball outside of five feet all night and you have to be there for the help,” Landis said.

The Warriors capitalized on the turnover when Shillady drained two free throws, making it 47-44. The Falcons answered with a deuce, cutting their deficit to 47-46 with :25 left, and then they trapped Warwick, forced a turnover and got a bucket from Horn with :11 remaining to go ahead, 48-47.

“It was an unbelievably tough shot,” Landis said. “We defended it really well, he went up in the air and hung from six feet out … he’s a really good athlete and he banked it in.”

On Warwick’s final possession, the ball ended up in the hands of Zimmerman. The junior forward/guard took a dribble from the elbow, and although the ball got knocked away a little bit, Zimmerman was awarded with a foul call.

Despite their season-long struggles from the foul line, the Warriors were a solid 12-of-15 from the stripe on Friday night and Zimmerman (3-of-4) was a factor in that.

“We’ve been working on our free throws, but a lot of shooting is just mental and contagious,” Landis said. “When you’re not taking good shots and you’re not seeing the ball go in the hole, the foul shots become even harder. I think Grant stepped to the line with the confidence that he was going to make them both, and when he did, it didn’t surprise me, but it was probably fitting.”

Cedar Crest answered with a timeout, but their Hail Mary was well off the mark.

“They haven’t quit and it’s tough. This is the first time in the last six years that going into the last two weeks of the season, we weren’t at least fighting for a playoff spot,” Landis said. “I give the kids the credit.”

*****

The Warwick boys were back in action on Tuesday, when they suffered a 58-49 loss to Penn Manor in Millersville.

The Comets took a 28-20 lead at the break, and although Warwick outscored them 21-20 in the fourth, it wasn’t enough.

Micah Brown led Penn Manor with a game-high 17 points, while Shillady finished with a team-high 13 in the losing cause for Warwick.

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