When the Indians needed a spark on Friday night, Deante Burton was always there.
Manhattan High boys’ basketball coach Tim Brooks said the senior forward knew things needed to change after Tuesday’s loss at Washburn Rural, and Burton helped the team do just that on Friday with a 45-34 win.
Burton anchored the Indians’ attack from the field in the second quarter, scoring on a pair of long jump shots and adding a 3-pointer to help the Indians lead 21-19 at the half.
Seaman answered a series of buckets from Keaton Barragar in the third quarter to tie the game at 27, and then Burton started a quick run to give the Indians a lead by the end of the period. The senior scored on a layup and hit a pair of free throws to give the Indians a four-point lead in the final two minutes of the quarter.
Leading by two going into the fourth, the Indians wouldn’t need the early spark to keep a little distance, getting a quick basket from Brandon Payne, and then watching Seaman make 1-of-4 shots at the free throw line, leaving the Vikings behind by three.
With less than four minutes left in the game, Burton started an 8-0 run with the first four points that closed out the game.
While Barragar stayed steady to lead the Indians with 16 points, Burton’s 15 points all seemed to come at the perfect times.
“He knew that this game was big,” Brooks said. “He knew that we weren’t very good and that we needed a change, and it’s nice to a see a senior step up like that.”
The first quarter started with both teams heaving shots left and right. Seaman jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but Barragar dropped consecutive wide-open 3-pointers to put the Indians on top.
Seaman found a way to open a 6-2 run for an 11-8 lead, but Pat Keck knocked down an open trey with 3 seconds left to tie the game at the end of one quarter.
The Vikings would go on to score no baskets from the field for the remainder of the first half, instead going a perfect 8-for-8 at the free throw line.
After Tuesday’s game against Washburn Rural, Brooks said MHS needed to be better at defending the paint. Playing another team with big post players, he thought his Indians made improvement.
“They’re so big and physical inside, we knew it was going to be tough,” he said. “Occasionally, they got some good looks, but I thought for the most part, our guys played tough, physical defense.
“We didn’t allow them to dictate their play, we wanted to dictate how they were going to play inside.”
With the inside taken away at times, the Vikings looked to attack from the outside, but the Indians (8-7, 5-4) were playing such tight defense that Seaman was often pushed out to well beyond the perimeter and the team finished with just one 3.
“We were going to do whatever we could defensively that requires energy,” Brooks said of his defense. “We were going to force the ball down the side up to half court, get out and deny, be physical on the inside — we played a lot of guys and a lot of guys busted their tails out there.”
The Indians mixed up their starting lineup a little bit on Friday, starting Jacob Holloway and Blake Saville for the first time this season. MHS has started 11 different players this season.
MHS 45, SEAMAN 34
Seaman 11 8 10 5 — 34
Manhattan 11 10 10 14 — 45
SEAMAN (34) — Ward 14, Heald 8, Rea 5, Miller 2, Colombo 2, Chaffee 2, Hummel 1.
MANHATTAN (45) — Barragar 16, Burton 15, Payne 5, Keck 3, Taylor 4, Holloway 2.
3-pointers — Seaman 1 (Heald). Manhattan 4 (Barragar 2, Keck, Burton).