Cocalico holds off Warwick

By on December 9, 2015


Cocalico’s Megan Gingrich (14) powers to the basket between Warwick defenders Samantha Earle (43) and Jamie Kolp during Monday’s season-opening win in Lititz. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Cocalico’s Megan Gingrich (14) powers to the basket between Warwick defenders Samantha Earle (43) and Jamie Kolp during Monday’s season-opening win in Lititz. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Cocalico girls basketball coach Tony DiMatteo knew it was only a matter of time.

Eventually, Warwick was going to start hitting shots in its home opener.

No way they could keep the same pace they did in the first half, when the Lady Warriors were just 7-of-25 from the floor.

Their struggles, combined with the rebounding of Cocalico, enabled the Lady Eagles to get out in transition and build a 34-23 lead at the half.

Finally, Warwick was a different team in the third quarter, when they rallied to pull even.

But senior center Megan Gingrich, playing with three fouls, scored six of her team-high 16 points in Cocalico’s go-ahead 12-2 run to start the fourth and the Lady Eagles pulled out a 60-48 non-league victory in Lititz on Monday night.

Gingrich led three Cocalico players in double figures in their season opener, with Lyndsay Engle and Emily White adding 15 and 14, respectively.

“It was a good game. (Warwick) got some confidence and got back in it,” DiMatteo said, “… We didn’t put our tail between our legs, we kept playing. So I thought both teams were really composed and did a nice job. Early in the season, they’ve only had three games, we’ve had one. So I saw a lot of good things tonight.”

Coming off a tough start, dropping back-to-back games last weekend in the Elizabethtown Tip-Off, Warwick (0-3) coach Janelle Garber, too, saw some good things from her squad. Junior Rylee Derr led all scorers with 25 points, including six treys, and senior Kate Martin chipped in with 13.

“They’re getting better,” Garber said. “I told them tonight, ‘I see you out there doing the things I’m asking you to do. If you guys keep doing that, wins will come our way.’ I was proud of them tonight. They worked really hard. They played hard.”

Cocalico, though, outworked Warwick on the glass in the opening quarter, building an 11-4 advantage in rebounds. Engle, who scored 13 of her 15 points in the first half while grabbing four boards, helped the Lady Eagles dart to an early 13-3 lead and a 19-10 edge at the end of one.

“Lyndsay Engle was unbelievable,” DiMatteo said. “She was amazing tonight.”

After Engle’s putback made it 23-10 with 6:17 left in the half, back-to-back treys by Derr kept the Warwick girls within 10 points, 23-13 and 26-16.

While Derr was 6-of-8 in the opening half, with five of her six triples, the rest of Warwick’s team was just 1-of-17 from the floor.

“Rylee played well tonight. She’s a great player and she has a nice shot and she plays hard,” Garber said. “But we can’t just rely on Rylee. It’s not the Rylee Derr show. It’s the Warwick girls basketball show. So we’ve got to have everyone step up and build around her and play basketball.”

Turnovers were a problem for the Warwick girls in the opening half as well, with 13 of their 20 giveaways coming in the first two quarters, and Cocalico capitalized, as White’s layup with 1:08 left in the half gave the Lady Eagles their biggest lead of the night, 32-17.

Warwick scored the next six points, capped by two free throws from Kasie Sheaffer, but Engle’s layup made it 34-23 at the break. All 34 of Cocalico’s first-half points were scored in the paint.

“They were missing and we were boarding, and when you get a lot of rebounds, especially, you can push the ball up the court and we did a good job on that,” DiMatteo said.

In the third quarter, Warwick switched to a zone defense, and the adjustment gave them a spark, as the Lady Warriors opened the half on a 9-0 run, with Martin’s steal and layup shaving the deficit to 34-32 with 4:51 left in the quarter.

Derr, Katie Hipple, Jamie Kolp, and Sam Earle played a key role in that turnaround with their commitment to the boards, where Warwick enjoyed an 8-4 advantage in the third.

“They boxed, they did a nice job,” DiMatteo said. “They’re undersized, but rebounding is heart, and they were showing it there in the third quarter.”

After picking up her third foul, Gingrich took a seat on the bench for the final five minutes of the period, but Madi Bock’s trey put Cocalico up 41-36 with 2:07 left in the quarter.

Undeterred, however, Warwick got a triple from Ross, followed by a steal and layup by Martin which tied things at 41-all at period’s end.

“We came out strong and they had confidence,” Garber said. “I was happy with what I saw and they were rebounding in the zone, which was great. (Cocalico) missed some of their shots, which gave us the opportunity to go for that run.”

Gingrich wasn’t missing to start the fourth, though. After converting the front end of a 1-and-1, her three-point play put the Lady Eagles up 45-41.

White and Martin traded deuces, but Gingrich got inside for two to make it 49-43 with 6:48 to go.

“She’s been through a lot of battles now,” DiMatteo said of Gingrich. “Her and Emily White have been up here for awhile and they’re playing with confidence now. So she’s one of our go-to’s and she knows what to do when she gets the ball and she’s taking it hard. It was a good momentum-starter for us to kick-start us again in the fourth.”

The Lady Warriors tried to get some of that momentum back when Martin buried a ‘three’ from the elbow with 3:47 left, cutting Cocalico’s lead to 53-46. But they would get no closer, as the Lady Eagles ended the game on a 7-2 run, with two free throws by Jasa Lorah setting the final margin.

With a showdown against back-yard rival Ephrata awaiting them Wednesday, it didn’t take long for the Lady Eagles to put Monday’s win behind them.

“I told my girls, ‘Every game, we come out focused,’” DiMatteo said. “I’m not looking anywhere else. Right now, I’m looking at practice tomorrow and we’ve got Ephrata on Wednesday. If you look ahead, you’re done in our Section and the L-L League. We’re just going to focus on every game and we’re going to learn from it. We’ll watch the video and huddle tomorrow and we’ll see what we did well and what we didn’t and we’ll work tomorrow.”


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