It seemed like a Manhattan girls basketball player’s hand was always on the ball on Friday night.
The Indians (6-0, 3-0 Centennial League) dominated Highland Park (0-6, 0-3 Centennial League), 74-30, in a game where every Manhattan player saw the court.
Three Indians were in double figures, led by another 18-point performance by Chrissy Carr. The junior guard also recorded 18 points Tuesday night against Topeka High. Gigi McAtee finished with 16 points, while Kia Wilson had 11. Taylor Johnson was the leading scorer off the bench with eight points.
“We have good girls all the way down the line,” Mall said. “We have girls (who) can play. And so, we plan on them playing good when they go in.”
Carr was happy to hit two 3-pointers Friday night after not making any on Tuesday.
“The balls were going in and out (Tuesday) and I was like, ‘I need to get my feet under me, and I need to focus,’” Carr said. “So I got up a lot of shots at practice, and it helped me with my shot this game.”
Mayela Edwards was the only Highland Park player in double figures with 11 points. She hit the Scots’ only two 3-pointers of the night.
Manhattan struck early, opening the first quarter on a 9-0 run. The Indians only gave up one field goal in the first period and ended the quarter on a 14-1 run.
Much of their success was because of turnovers. Manhattan forced 22 turnovers on the night while giving up 17.
“We have some girls who are long, who are athletic,” Mall said. “They’re improving all the time on their anticipation of things, so we hope that we keep doing that.”
Starting in the second period, Mall started subbing in several bench players at once. They committed turnovers, but Mall saw improvement as the game went on.
“They were very aggressive on us against the ball, so we just need to do a better job of recognizing when it’s time to force our way out of that or when it’s time to make a pass out of that,” Mall said.
The Scots didn’t score until about halfway through the second quarter and trailed, 50-12, at the half.
“I thought we did a good job early taking advantage of the situation,” Mall said. “We were aggressive on defense, we got a lot of deflections that got turned into steals and baskets.”
The bench came out strong in the third quarter. But so did Highland Park, recording 11 points in the frame. The squads scored a combined 13 points with a running clock in the fourth quarter.
“They made some good plays, and we still didn’t get in the right places, but I thought our intensity stayed up good,” Mall said. “In situations like that, we’re sometimes just a half a second off it. They’re very aggressive, so they’re going to make some plays sometimes.”
Manhattan had a lot more size than Highland Park, but Mall said playing defense against smaller players presents challenges, too.
“It was a tough matchup because they play with three or four small, quick girls, and that doesn’t match up well with us,” Mall said. “Our forwards had to guard little girls at times, and that’s good for us.”
It can be hard to stay focused in lopsided games, but Mall said there were still things to work on.
“We weren’t thrilled with some of our defensive positioning, we weren’t thrilled with some of the quick shots we took,” Mall said. “So we talked about them, and I thought the girls did a better job in the second half. I thought we had some times where we really moved the ball well, I thought we thought more about how we needed to defend, helping inside, things like that.”
Carr is excited to start the season undefeated. Manhattan returns home to take on Shawnee Heights on Tuesday.
“It feels awesome,” Carr said. “Hopefully we can finish our league out strong and go into our sub-state strong with good wins on our back, and hopefully it will lead to Manhattan’s first state title.”