Indians face struggling T-Birds

By Joel Jellison

The last time the Shawnee Heights girls’ basketball team tasted victory was in the second game of the season.

The Thunderbirds traveled to Lansing back on Dec. 6, coming away with a 43-35 win. Manhattan High will travel to Shawnee Heights on Friday.

MHS coach Scott Mall said the Thunderbirds (1-5) are a much younger team than they have been in the past few seasons.

“They are another team that graduated a lot of players,” he said. “They don’t have as much inside power as they did before, but they have a lot of quickness and they like to shoot the ball from the outside. It will be completely different from what we saw against Emporia.”

The Indians will be looking to continue the momentum they have built to this point, sitting at 4-0 after a 48-25 win over Emporia on Tuesday at home.

Manhattan led 11-2 after the first quarter in that ballgame and got back-to-back 3-pointers from Par McNair in the second quarter to essentially put the game away.

Mall said it was a strong victory for his team because of the tough defensive looks Emporia gives teams. The Spartans regularly press in both half court and full-court sets, and the MHS coach thought his team reacted well to it.

Manhattan senior Mari Massanet led the team in scoring for the fourth straight time, scoring 15 points - her first time scoring fewer than 20 in a game this season.

The T-Birds opened their season with a loss to St. Theresa’s Academy, and then won their game over Lansing.

Since then, Shawnee Heights has lost four straight games to Lawrence Free State, Seaman, Washburn Rural and Topeka High. The T-Birds were held below 40 points in all four games, and below 30 in two, including a 40-29 loss to Topeka on Tuesday.

Manhattan will have a difficult section of its schedule coming up following the game at Shawnee Heights, hosting Washburn Rural and Junction City next week before going on the road to face Highland Park before the Mid-America Classic in McPherson Jan. 26-28.

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