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McKee’s double-double lifts WR

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Lewisburg’s Lauren Gross (25) tries to defend as Warrior Run’s Emily McKee has the ball Saturday in Warrior Run.

TURBOTVILLE–Lewisburg made slowing Emily McKee its top priority Saturday afternoon. Two defenders often shadowed the Warrior Run forward wherever she moved.

But McKee still produced a game-high 20 points and recorded a double-double. McKee is a talented player, but overcoming stingy defenses like the one visiting Lewisburg featured is all about what McKee does when the scoreboard is not running. A relentless worker, McKee did not grow complacent following last year’s promising freshman campaign.

And now she just keeps getting better.

McKee scored 20 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked three shots yesterday, helping Warrior Run erase a six-point halftime deficit and defeat improving Lewisburg, 55-49. Warrior Run also received a lift from guards Sydney Hoffman, Gracy Beachel and Jordan Hartman who all took turns loosening up Lewisburg’s defense throughout the second half as it scored 36 points.

“Emily loves the sport. She’s good at it and she works hard at it every day,” Warrior Run coach Rachel Herb said. “Every time that ball is in the air she’s looking for rebounds. She’s a kid with heart and if we can continue to pound that ball inside I know she’s going to do something with it.”

McKee is averaging 14.9 points per game and has reached double figures in all but one game this season. She is tall, uses her body well and is settling in after learning on the job last year for a team that reached the state tournament’s second round. McKee has refined her basketball package over the years, working with former Bucknell coach Kathy Fedorjaka as well as her Warrior Run coaches and attending various camps.

Add in McKee now having a full high school season under her belt and she is becoming one of the area’s premier post players. Against Lewisburg, McKee made 6 of 9 shots from the field, 8 of 9 at the foul line and scored at least four points in all four quarters.

“I take a lot of pride in the stuff I do in the offseason. I think it’s really cool that we’re able to come together and get wins like we did today,” McKee said. “Last year I was really all over the place and this year I’m more settled and even as season goes on I see a lot more potential in myself. The game is slowing down and I’m taking the shots I need to take and dishing out when I need to.”

When Warrior Run has that inside-outside game going it can be lethal. The Defenders had quality perimeter shots throughout the first half, but made just 1 of 15 3-point attempts and Lewisburg built a 25-19 halftime lead. Warrior Run, however, started flipping the script early in the second half and featured terrific ball movement throughout the second half. Beachel (12 points) scored nine quick third-quarter points and drained two 3-pointers and the Defenders went up 31-27 midway through the third. Hoffman (11 points, 7 assists, 4 steals) assisted on all three of Beachel’s field goals and Warrior Run never trailed again.

Warrior Run pushed its lead to 10 midway through the fourth quarter, but Lewisburg pulled within two late. Hartman then scored on a drive and McKee added two free throws as the Defenders clinched a hard-fought win. The Defenders provided Lewisburg problems inside and outside in that fourth quarter, making 7 of their 13 shots with Marissa Pick (6 rebounds) adding a key foul-line jumper.

“We harp on the girls that we dribble too much. We need to learn to use the pass to get kids to shift on defense. The second half they really took notice to it,” Herb said. “They made the passes, they limited their dribbling and we got wide-open shots. They recognize that if we can go in a little bit that maybe they’ll get some more set shots.”

“We want to be an inside-outside team. If those shots aren’t falling, we can get the ball inside and when defense comes down on me I can kick it right back to them and hope the shots start falling because we have great shooters,” McKee said. “We’re a very well-rounded team.”

Lewisburg is growing into a better team as well. All five Green Dragons (4-8, 2-3) starters scored by halfway through the first quarter and Lewisburg made 7 of 12 shots while taking a 17-12 lead. Roz Noone scored 18 points, and added five rebounds, scoring 10 fourth-quarter points. That included a six-point flurry in which she drained an NBA-range 3-pointer and converted a 3-point play to cut Warrior Run’s lead to 51-49 with 85 seconds remaining.

Following Hartman’s drive inside, Lewisburg turned the ball over twice, but its comeback continued showing how far this young team replacing three starters from a year ago has come in a short time. The Dragons were routed in their first four games, but have won four of their last eight and have been competitive in all eight games since then.

“We’re a young team and we have to turn those moral victories into actual victories down the road. I told the girls in there not too long ago we were 0-4 and were down 23-2 in the first quarter against Central Columbia and we’ve been battling,” Lewisburg coach Brent Sample said. “We play a lot of good teams. We don’t have any break in our schedule, but day in and day out I think we keep seeing growth from the girls.”

Lewisburg freshman Sophie Kilbride showed why she could be one of the area’s more exciting players the next three years, scoring six quick fourth-quarter points to help ignite the comeback. Jamie Fedorajka also played well, scoring 12 points and adding six rebounds. Hope Drumm and Lauren Gross also each pulled down six rebounds.

“We said at halftime you’re going to get their best punch coming out in the second half,” Sample said. “I told them after the game you could have hung your heads after they took the lead, but they fought back and made it a game and we just have to keep growing from there.”

Warrior Run 55, Lewisburg 49

LEWISBURG (49)

Roz Noone 5 5-5 18, Jamie Fedorajka 4 3-6 12, Regan Llanso 2 0-0 4, Hope Drumm 2 0-0 4, Sophie Kilbride 5 1-6 11, Lauren Gross 0 0-0 0, Maddie Still 0 0-2 0. Totals 18 9-19 49.

WARRIOR RUN (55)

Emily McKee 6 8-9 20, Sydney Hoffman 4 2-6 11, Jordan Hartman 3 0-0 7, Gracy Beachel 4 1-3 12, Marissa Pick 1 1-2 3, Katie Watkins 1 0-2 2, Alayna Wilkins 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 12-22 55.

Lewisburg 17 8 10 14–49

Warrior Run 12 7 18 18–55

3-point goals: Lewisburg 4 (Noone 3, Fedorjaka 1), Warrior Run 5 (Beachel 3, Hoffman 1, Hartman 1).

Records: Warrior Run (7-4, 4-1 HAC-II), Lewisburg (4-8, 2-3).

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