Defender girls are now 9-2
TURBOTVILLE — Warrior Run produced 12 first-half field goals and 10 included an assist. Six players scored during that time and the Defenders efficiently carved up the defense.
Opponents are putting so much energy into stopping elite center Megan Zimmerman, but Warrior Run showed again Saturday against South Williamsport why it is a complete team. And 11 games into the season the Defenders are a mighty good team.
Zimmerman scored 22 points, but every player coach Jason McCormick used also made a nice impact as the Defenders won, 45-25. Taylor Coup dealt eight assists, Avery Bieber grabbed seven rebounds and freshman Sydney Hoffman added seven points as Warrior Run (9-2, 3-2 HAC-III) built a 26-2 second-quarter lead and capped its first-half schedule in impressive fashion.
“Having those extra scorers and having other kids who want to get to the basket and who want to take the shot is what we’re looking for,” McCormick said. “We’re really working hard on our offense. We’re trying to get some outside shooting and trying to get teams to move outside from Megan in the paint.”
Coup did that early, hitting two foul-line extended jumpers in the first three minutes as Warrior Run went on a 14-0 run and built an 18-2 lead. Five players scored during that first quarter as the Defenders skillfully worked the ball around against South’s zone defense and set each other up for good shots.
“Everyone was doing their part and making contributions. That’s the kind of win that you like to play in,” Zimmerman said. “Everyone really stepped up. It happens game in and game out. My teammates are playing really well and are helping me. They’re giving me confidence because they’re hitting their shots and I’m getting to do my part.”
Even when Zimmerman missed seven minutes of the second quarter in foul trouble, Warrior Run kept humming. Coup twice found Divers and Hoffman fed Bieber for baskets as Warrior Run opened its 26-2 lead with three minutes remaining in the first half.
Coup is one of the area’s premier defenders but also is settling in at point guard. The junior was outstanding Saturday, repeatedly finding the open player and setting up baskets after hitting her two early shots. South cut that 24-point deficit to 14 in the fourth quarter, but Coup came up big on the ensuing inbounds pass, hitting Zimmerman with a baseball bass that ignited a game-clinching 7-0 run.
“Taylor is pretty much everybody you want to have on that team,” McCormick said. “She leads both the offense and defense and she puts in a hard day’s work for us.”
A night after the Warrior Run boys team rallied from a 27-point second-quarter deficit and won in overtime, South tried flipping the script against the Defender girls. The Mounties closed the first half with five quick points to make it a 19-point game and pulled within 15 early in the third quarter. Each time South made a move, though, Zimmerman usually slammed the door. She scored four straight points after the Mounties cut it to 15 in third and 14 in the fourth.
Warrior Run is one of the area’s top defensive teams, but South executed fairly well against it. The Mounties simply struggled finishing plays and missed several layups and/or close-range shots. South (6-6, 1-5) went 12 minutes without scoring between the first and second quarters and its frustration continued in the fourth as it produced only five points despite working for good looks.
“We came out with a little more energy in the second half, but we had dug ourselves a pretty big hole,” South coach Justin Marnon said. “When you get to that point you need so many consecutive stops and when you have a player that dominates inside like Zimmerman it’s sometimes difficult to string those stops that you need to get back in a game like this.”
Megan Weber scored all eight of her points in the second half and her second 3-pointer cut the deficit to 37-23. Haley Neidig and Jaela House helped ignite the comeback and each made three steals. Neidig also scored seven points, dealt three assists and grabbed three rebounds. House was all over the court and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds while adding three assists.
“We emphasize fast starts and if we don’t get off to that fast start we have to realize it’s a four-quarter game and they did battle back,” Marnon said. “We had more energy in the second half but we were just a little too far behind.”
Zimmerman is having a tremendous senior season and is averaging 18 points per game despite constant double-teaming and/or junk defenses. Her teammates steady contributions Saturday loosened up the defense and Zimmerman scored 12 second-half points while grabbing eight of her nine rebounds. Zimmerman frequently was a reason South was one shot and done throughout the second half and went 9 of 15 from the field while making all four free throw attempts.
This also was the 11th straight game Zimmerman scored in double digits. Just as important, Warrior Run is developing some other weapons and is looking like a solid District 4 Class AAA title contender once again.
“We work great together,” Zimmerman said. “We’re really on an incline right now. We keep getting better every game.”
Megan Weber 3 0-0 8, Alyssa Johnson 2 0-2 4, Haley Neidig 3 0-2 7, Jaela House 2 0-2 4, Julie Anthony 1 0-0 2, Sydney Bachman 0 0-0 0, Sarah Bennett 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 0-6 25.
WARRIOR RUN (45)
Megan Zimmerman 9 4-4 22, Sydney Hoffman 3 1-2 7, Hayden Divers 2 0-0 4, Taylor Coup 2 0-0 4, Avery Bieber 2 0-0 4, Lydia Swanson 0 2-2 2, Jordan Hartman 1 0-0 2, Katie Watkins 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 7-8 45.
South 2 5 13 5–25
W. Run 18 8 10 9–45
3-pointers: South 3 (Weber 2, Neidig).
Records: Warrior Run 9-2, 3-2 HAC-III. South 6-6, 1-5.
JV Score: South 36-32.