WR’s Zimmerman hits 1,000 points in defeat
TURBOTVILLE — The Warrior Run clocks moved at the speed a sloth would appreciate Friday morning and afternoon. At least it felt that way as Megan Zimmerman sat through classes and tried not thinking about a date with history that would come by night.
Finally, the moment arrived. Zimmerman put her name alongside the program’s all-time great players Friday and her ascent was worth the wait.
Zimmerman scored her 1,000th career point against visiting Mount Carmel, becoming just the fifth player in program history to do so. The Tornadoes rallied from an early deficit and won, 41-27, but the night and a lasting memory really belonged to Zimmerman.
“It was so hard to focus and stay concentrated at school,” Zimmerman said. “I think it will set in eventually, but right now I’m really humbled that I was able to accomplish this. It’s been a dream of mine for a long time.”
Zimmerman is only the second Warrior Run player this decade to reach 1,000 points and the first since Steph Shamburg in 2014. She needed four points to reach the milestone entering the game and finished with 13 points and seven blocks.
A four-year starter, Zimmerman was thrust into a major role just four minutes into her scholastic career when forward Madi Welliver tore her ACL in Warrior Run’s opener that year. Zimmerman became the focal point of her team’s offense at age 14 and handled it well, leading the team in scoring and rebounding. She has only grown better since, increasing her scoring average in each of the last three seasons while becoming a two-time HAC-III all-star.
Zimmerman and Welliver formed one of the district’s best inside duos the last two years, but with Welliver graduating last June, teams could focus so much more attention on slowing Zimmerman. It has not mattered. The 6-foot center reached double figures for the 19th time in 20 games last night, is ranked among the area’s top five scorers and also leads her team in rebounds and blocks. Zimmerman also has helped a fairly young team start 14-6 and become a District 4 Class AAA title contender.
“For what we were expecting this year and for her to put up the numbers she has, is kind of amazing in itself,” Warrior Run coach Jason McCormick said. “It’s a tribute to her to be able to do that and to put in the constant work that she does at practice to help her get better and her teammates better.”
Warrior Run honored its three seniors, Zimmerman, Lydia Swanson and Hayden Divers before the game. All three had strong resumes, including Zimmerman being involved in multiple extra-curricular activities and being a National Honor Society member.
She has a nice basketball resume, too. Zimmerman is still deciding where to play college basketball next season, but will be a good catch for someone. In addition to having a strong work ethic, Zimmerman has good post moves, a nice shooting touch and handles the ball well. She constantly faces double teams and was swarmed by a stifling Mount Carmel defense Friday, but still made 6 of 10 shots and led Warrior Run in both scoring and rebounding again.
“She did a lot early on (in her career) and the maturity level for her is big-time,” McCormick said. “She will be ready for the next level when she gets there.”
Zimmerman scored the game’s first points just 19 seconds into the game when she scored off a drive. Mount Carmel, however, did not let her attempt another shot until late in the first quarter. Zimmerman is an unselfish player and was not forcing anything, letting her teammates help ignite an 8-2 start. Zimmerman was held to just four first-half shots, but as the first half close drew to a close, her dream became reality.
Taylor Coup (4 assists) brought the ball toward the foul line as Zimmerman freed herself in the paint. Coup passed the ball inside, Zimmerman caught it on the right elbow, made a strong move and easily converted the layup with 19.3 seconds remaining in the half. Coup jumped into Zimmerman’s arms as the Warrior Run fans erupted in applause. The game was momentarily stopped as Zimmerman posed for pictures with her parents and soaked in a moment eight years in the making.
“Watching some of the other players do it and being in middle school when Steph Shamburg scored hers, it was fun to watch her do that, so ever since it was something I set out to do,” Zimmerman said. “It’s such a reward. It was amazing. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
Mount Carmel (16-3, 9-1 HAC-III) created the most highlights from there, taking a lead late in the first quarter and never trailing again. Nicole Varano scored 17 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dealt four assists as the Tornadoes pushed their lead to 19 in the fourth quarter and stayed one game ahead of Loyalsock in the HAC-III. A fast and tenacious team, Mount Carmel caused even more problems with its first-half shooting, draining five 3-pointers as it built a 25-14 halftime lead. Warrior Run never pulled within single digits again.
Losing the game hurt, but that will not stain the memory Zimmerman created Friday. It also will not erase all the quality memories she has provided Warrior Run the last four years.
“I’ve been working for this my whole career. It’s been my dream since I was 10 years old and it’s kind of crazy today that I finally got to achieve that,” Zimmerman said. “The win was what I really wanted the most, but I’m proud of my team.”
MOUNT CARMEL (41)
Nicole Varano 7 0-0 17, Hannah Nolter 1 0-0 3, Bailey Little 1 1-4 4, Emilee Wasilewski 3 2-2 8, Lauren Ayres 0 0-0 0, Myia Miriello 1 0-0 2, Lauren Shedleski 1 0-0 2, Dani Rae Renno 1 3-4 5. Totals 15 6-10 41.
WARRIOR RUN (27)
Megan Zimmerman 6 1-1 13, Sydney Hoffman 2 0-0 4, Hayden Divers 3 0-2 6, Taylor Coup 0 0-0 0, Avery Bieber 2 0-0 4, Lydia Swanson 0 0-0 0, Katie Watkins 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 1-3 27.
Mount Carmel 13 12 12 4–41
Warrior Run 10 4 6 7–27
3-pointers: Mount Carmel 5 (Varano 3, Nolter, Little).
Records: Mount Carmel 16-3, 9-1 HAC-III. Warrior Run 14-6, 4-6.
JV Score: Warrior Run 36-31.