Cedar Crest vs Warwick-LL Boys Basketball

Warwick's Kai Cipalla (22) drives on Cedar Crest's Illeri Ayo Faleye (0) during first half action of an L-L section 1-2 crossover in the Cage at Cedar Crest High School Friday December 20, 2019.

LEBANON — A trip to one of the Lancaster-Lebanon League’s “tough places to play,’’ Tuesday didn’t slow Warwick’s march through January.

The Warriors won their sixth straight, all since the holiday break, with a 69-50 defeat of Lebanon in the Cedars’ gym.

“It’s a different style of gym than we’re used to,’’ Warwick coach Chris Christensen said afterward. “It’s a program with history. It’s always tough coming up here. My message was, I don’t care how, just find a way to win.’’

The way was fairly straightforward, once Warwick got comfortable against the 2-3 zone the Cedars showed often early.

“We realized we had to swing the ball, then attack,’’ Christensen said. “It took a little while to figure it out.’’

About a quarter, to be exact.

The Warriors started the second quarter with an 11-0 run to lead 23-12. It started looking like Warwick’s night when, during that run, junior guard Joey McCracken rifled a pass off a Cedar that caromed straight up and into the basket.

A moment later, McCracken turned a Lebanon turnover into a three-pointer, and the Warriors were off.

McCracken ran the show nicely and scored 18. Kai Cipalla, another junior, scored 21 and did most of the work, really a group effort, of keeping Lebanon center Isaiah Rodriguez from going nuts.

Rodriguez did play well, and led the Cedars with 15 points.

The other key matchup was with Lebanon guard Raylin Pena, whom Christensen called, “I think, the best shooter in the league.’’

Senior guard Connor Adams took on that job, and Pena scored just six, on two second-quarter three-pointers.

Still, the Cedars (8-7, 4-4) hung around most of the way.

“Some teams, if you’re up 16, it feels like 25,’’ Christensen said. “With them, it feels like nine.’’

Warwick is 11-4, 6-2 in Section Two of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, a half-game ahead in the section of Elizabethtown, idle Tuesday.

This month the Warriors have beaten E-town by 22, Governor Mifflin - a Berks County Class 6A school having a good year - by 28, and now Lebanon by 19.

“We have a lot of fall (sport) athletes,’’ Christensen said. “It’s taken a little while for them to get into basketball mode, but they’re basketball players now.’’

Yet Warwick entered Tuesday ninth in the District Three 6A power rankings. Only 12 make the field, and Nos. 10 through 15 all had four or five losses.

Too early to think about it, Christensen said.

“My attitude about districts is it kind of is what it is,’’ he said. “We have to worry about winning tonight.’’