Through four games this year, the Manhattan High boys’ basketball team has leaned on Jacob Holloway.
Others have had big nights, and everybody pitches in defensively, but when the Indians need a big shot, more often than not, Holloway is the one stepping up.
“I just try to get my teammates assists when they dribble in the lane,” Holloway said. “They count on me to make open shots — I just try to hit them.”
Holloway scored a game-high 16 points in Manhattan’s 49-32 win over Great Bend Saturday, knocking down four 3s and stretching the Panthers’ defense all afternoon.
Head coach Tim Brooks was especially impressed with Holloway’s timing.
“Our guys really look for him,” he said. “I think he had two end-of-the-quarter 3s, which is huge. Anytime you can score like that at the end of the quarter and give your team momentum, carrying over into the next one, that’s big. He stepped up and knocked them down today.”
Holloway also opened up the third quarter with a 3 that helped set the tone for the second half.
In the first quarter, Holloway knocked down back-to-back shots while his team went on a 10-0 run to take a 12-3 lead, but the Panthers had an answer. They scored six points over the course of a minute to pull within 12-9, but Holloway ended the quarter with a 3 at the buzzer that deflated that momentum.
While Manhattan led most of the afternoon, it wasn’t until the fourth quarter that they really pulled away, stretching the lead to 19 points. Both teams played games last night and had far from fresh legs.
“I was worried that because of the intensity from last night’s game and maybe a little bit of the emotional part as well, that we might have a let down,” Brooks said. “But our guys came out and really competed. We knew Great Bend would play really tough and we would have to match their intensity.”
Chris Hudgins chipped in nine points, following up his strong game Friday night with another solid performance. Winston Dimel scored seven points.
Leading the way for Great Bend was Brock Ibarra with 11 points. Chad Touslee finished with seven points.
The pair of wins this weekend moved Manhattan to 3-1 on the year, with the Indians falling only to state-ranked Derby in the season opener. Brooks said he is pleased with the way his team has competed since that loss.
“The first game is always tough,” he said. “Take nothing away from Derby, because they’re a very good team, but they’re a tough matchup for us. But it was nice to settle in this week and win three games - that doesn’t happen very often in high school basketball.”
After four games in the last eight days, Manhattan will take a bit of a breather, spending the week practicing before making a trip to Emporia on Friday in its last game before Winter Break. Beating Emporia, always a tough league opponent and currently No. 2-ranked in 5A, won’t be easy.
“They’re a monster challenge,” Brooks said. “They return almost everyone.”