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Indians fall short in 6A 3rd-place game

By Grant Guggisberg

WICHITA — The Manhattan High girls’ basketball team rallied hard in the final minutes against Olathe South, but came up short against the Falcons 56-53 in the consolation game at the Class 6A state basketball tournament Saturday afternoon.

The Indians went back and forth with Olathe South all afternoon, with 10 ties and 10 lead changes, but the Falcons led most of the fourth quarter and made just enough free throws to take third place.

Late in the game, Olathe South, leading by three, started to run a stall offense, but once Manhattan began to pressure, the Indians forced a turnover.

Manhattan got the ball to Amara Ehie in front of the basket, but the shot was too strong, with the Falcons grabbing the rebound. Olathe South got two free throws from Kylee Kopatich to lead 54-49 with 1:10 to play, but Manhattan got a layup for Caroline Ballard on the next possession to cut the lead to 54-51, then forced a turnover near midcourt to get the ball back.
Savannah Thaemert knocked down a baseline jumper to cut the lead to one, and after nearly losing the ball again, the Falcons took a timeout with 26 seconds to play.

After the inbound, Manhattan fouled Kopatich again, with the junior knocking down both to make it 56-53 with 18 seconds to play.

Manhattan got a contested shot for Ballard, but it was off the mark. The rebound went to Price, who put up a shot that wouldn’t go, but the rebound bounced around and back to Ballard, who lost control of the ball trying to put up a 3-pointer. Both teams went after the loose ball, with time expiring in the process.

Manhattan was led by Ballard’s 16 points, with Price adding 11 points in her final game as an Indian. Ehie finished with nine points.

The Indians finish the season at 22-3.

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