Sunday, February 18, 2018
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Warriors top Mounts


As a young team, the Ephrata boys are well aware of their vulnerability late in games.

Last Friday, Warwick knew it too.

“We don’t have a lot of depth,” Mounts’ coach Jason Coletti said. “I’ve got to credit Warwick; they go after you and they wear you down.”

That was evident in that the Warriors forced six of Ephrata’s 20 turnovers in the final stanza, fueling them on a key 16-1 fourth-quarter run.

In the end, senior Nate Miller tied his career-high with 24 points, in addition to grabbing eight rebounds, as the Warwick boys earned their fourth-straight victory by defeating back-yard rival Ephrata 66-56 Friday in a Section One-Two crossover. James Willis chipped in with 13 points for the Warriors.

“(Ephrata) played hard all game and we were hoping to kinda wear them down, especially the two scorers (Matt McGillian and Nathan Zimmerman) that they have,” Warwick skipper Jeff Landis said. “That didn’t work with Zimmerman, he stayed hot all night … I think, like, the last five minutes, (our) guys really lock down and guard and really dig in. I know it’s hard to do that for 32 minutes, but we’ve got to do a better job of less breakdowns on defense. Give Ephrata credit. They ran their stuff really well.”

Zimmerman’s hot hand resulted in a game-high 25 points, including six treys, and his triple with 6:38 left in the fourth sliced Warwick’s lead to 46-45.

Miller, capitalizing on a side advantage inside, countered with eight points; including a couple of put-backs; in the Warriors’ ensuing burst which put them in front 62-46 with 1:47 left.

To Ephrata’s credit, though, they didn’t go away. Zimmerman’s inside deuce, followed by a layup by McGillian (16 points) got the Mounts within seven, 63-56, with 44 seconds remaining.

After a Warwick giveaway, Ephrata’s Sam Cable attempted a ‘three’ to narrow the gap even more. It didn’t fall, however, and Warwick’s James Willis pulled down the rebound, and then he and Grant Zimmerman went a combined 3-of-4 at the foul line in the final 31.2 ticks to put it away.

“We played well all the way up until (Zimmerman’s trey to make the score 46-45) and at, like, the four or five-minute mark, the turnover bug caught up to us,” Coletti remarked. “We had two or three bad possessions and they went down and capitalized and then you’re fighting that uphill battle again. Overall, I’m pleased with them, but we’ve just got to get through those couple of possessions there and I think it’s at least closer at the end.”

For Warwick, the win improved them to 8-3 L-L (11-6 overall). They are fourth in the Section One standings; two games behind second-place McCaskey (10-1 L-L) for an L-L playoff berth; and 13th in the District 3 Quad-A power ratings.

“We can’t lose because my parents went to Ephrata,” Landis quipped. “It’s a nice rivalry. The students get into it. It was one we needed. To get to where we want to, this is one we had to have.”