LEBANON - They didn't hit their first bucket until the game was 2 minutes and 14 seconds old. Their outside shooting was often as cold as the bitter weather outside. And they probably turned the ball over a little more than they liked.
But none of this mattered to the Cedar Crest girls' basketball team.
Because in a performance that spoke volumes about her abilities, 6-foot-1 center Alyssa Austin seemed to make a statement to her Falcon teammates: "No worries! Everybody climb up on my shoulders and enjoy the ride."
Austin dominated Tuesday night with 22 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocked shots -- all game highs -- as the Falcons crushed Warwick 58-34 in a Lancaster-Lebanon League Section One clash in the Falcon Cage.
The Warriors had no one in their frontcourt who could match up with Austin, who scored all of her points in the low post on layups and putbacks.
Coupled with Manheim Township's win over McCaskey, the Falcons and Township sit alone atop Section One with 6-1 records. McCaskey and Hempfield are a game back at 5-2.
"When we make a conscious effort to get the ball inside, she's tough to stop," Falcon coach Jim Donmoyer said of Austin. "They (Warwick) didn't have a lot of size inside, and we knew that. That was our game plan, to feed her the ball inside. We were very pleased with that."
The Falcons started slowly, then got into rhythm and raced to a 9-0 lead, forcing Warwick to use a timeout before it got on the scoreboard. Skyanne Yancey nailed a 3-pointer for the Falcons, Ariel Jones scored on a fastbreak layup and Austin hit her first layup for the early cushion.
Austin scored four more points in the opening quarter and the Falcons led 18-12.
Cedar Crest erased any hopes Warwick had of making it a game when it went on an 11-0 run in the second quarter. Austin did the most damage, scoring eight of those points on layups. The Warriors simply had no answer for her. That gave the Falcons a 29-14 edge at halftime; the Warriors had only two free throws to show for the second quarter.
Austin scored eight of the Falcons' first 10 points in the third quarter -- all on nice inside moves -- and the rout was on. The Falcons led 39-20 at that point.
Austin also flashed some unselfish play, which will serve her well against tougher opponents. There were a couple of occasions when she got the ball down low and could have attempted a turnaround shot, but she kicked the ball back out to an open teammate.
"You have to be selfish sometimes (when you're getting good looks at the basket)," Donmoyer said, "but she is capable of reading the lanes and finding the open teammate. She's gonna be challenged down the road and double-teamed, so she has to learn to look for the open girl. She is getting better at it."
While Austin controlled the inside, Jones was her usual effective self on the perimeter. The graceful point guard had too much speed for the Warriors and finished with 12 points, several steals and numerous dishes to Austin.
Sage Bartal scored all six of her points during a brief stretch of the final quarter to put the Falcons up 53-29 and Rachel Witherwrite nailed a pair of 3-pointers.
Rylee Derr had a solid game for Warwick, finishing with 19 points.
Cedar Crest is now 10-1 overall heading into the weaker part of its schedule.
"We're in a good spot," Donmoyer said. "We have a big game Friday (at 0-7 Penn Manor), and the crossovers (against Section Two teams) next week. We're always taking it one game at a time, but I like where we're at and how things are lining up."
Cedar Crest 58, Warwick 34
Gonzales 0 1-2 1, Martin 1 0-0 3, Derr 5 6-7 19, Hipple 0 0-0 0, Armstrong 1 0-0 2, Sheaffer 0 0-0 0, Williamson 0 0-0 0, Snader 0 0-0 0, Butler 0 0-0 0, Kolp 1 0-0 2, Earle 2 3-5 7. Totals — 10 10-14 34.
Cedar Crest (58)
Jones 4 3-4 12, Rolon 0 0-0 0, Donmoyer 1 0-0 2, Guth 0 0-0 0, Bartal 2 2-2 6, Yancey 1 0-1 3, Witherwrite 2 0-0 6, Albright 1 2-2 4, Morgan 1 1-2 3, Austin 10 2-2 22. Totals — 22 10-13 58.
Warwick _ 12 _ 2 _ 9 _ 11 _ — _ 34
Cedar Crest _ 18 _ 11 _ 15 _ 14 _ — _ 58
3-point goals — War 4 (Derr 3, Martin), CC 4 (Witherwrite 2, Yancey, Jones).
JV score — Cedar Crest 32, Warwick 25.