In high school basketball, usually leaving a team open from NBA 3-point range keeps you safe from being hit with a barrage of 3s.
That wasn’t the case for the Manhattan High boys’ team on Friday though, as Topeka West hit from any and all distances in the first half, before the well ran dry for the Chargers in a 74-61 MHS win.
The Indians opened up the game scoring nine of the first 11 points to lead 9-2. And then West’s Patrick Minjares would score the first of what would be seven first-half 3-pointers.
Manhattan got a three-point play from Deante Burton. But West’s Emeka Okoronkwo followed with a 3 from long distance, one of three for him in the half.
Five of those 3s would come in the second quarter though as the Chargers scored six buckets total in the period, only going inside once. Instead, West showed a tendency to live on the perimeter at distances that are more likely to be hit from players in the NBA.
MHS coach Tim Brooks said they were aware of the Chargers range, but it was still tough to stop.
“We knew that they were capable of doing it,” he said. “Even in our zone we talked about playing higher because of their range.”
Even with all those long range shots though, West only cut its first-quarter deficit of 10 points to seven points thanks to a buzzer-beating 3 from Okoronkwo.
Topeka West pulled as close as five points in the third quarter with a 3-pointer from Minjares, but the Chargers wouldn’t connect from 3 again for the rest of the game.
The Indians followed the West 3 with a 6-2 run that included a monstrous dunk from Burton that changed the dynamic of the gym. MHS led 54-44 going into the fourth quarter.
Keaton Barragar and John Perbeck collaborated on a 7-0 run in the early minutes of the fourth quarter to push the MHS lead out to 16 points, but West rallied back to cut it to 10 points.
Brooks said his team was good at different aspects of the game at different times.
“It would be nice if we could put everything together and be a little more complete, but for the most part, we did some good things on both ends of the floor,” he said. “And it’s a good win for us.”
Jacob Holloway knocked down a 3-pointer with 3:08 to play and then stole the ball away from Okoronkwo on the ensuing Chargers’ possession to set up a free throw make from Burton and push the lead out to 13 points.
Topeka West got as close as 11 points with a layup from Okoronkwo with just more than one minute to play, but Barragar closed the game out from the free throw line.
Barragar led the Indians with 21 points, while Brandon Payne finished with 13. Brooks said the 12 points apiece from Perbeck and Burton were big keys.
“It was good that we established an inside game,” he said. “John stepped up and was rugged, and Deante was slashing to the basket and getting free throws. We need more of that from everybody
Okoronkwo finished the game with 24 points, including nine in the fourth quarter. He missed several late possessions for the Chargers though, after he got into foul trouble.
Brooks said one thing he was happy about after the game, was they completed their schedule with winless Topeka West this season.
“They’re going to beat somebody,” he said. “I’m glad we don’t play them twice.”
MHS 74, TOPEKA WEST 61
Topeka West 12 18 14 17 — 61
Manhattan 22 15 17 20 — 74
TOPEKA WEST (61) — Okoronkwo 24, Mariani 11, Turner 7, Minjares 6, Ross 4, Wallace 5, Hugghis 4.
MANHATTAN (74) — Barragar 21, Payne 13, Perbeck 12, Burton 12, Holloway 8, Stephens 4, Taylor 4, Sobering 3, Keck 1.
3-pointers — Topeka West 8 (Okoronkwo 3, Mariani 2, Minjares 2, Turner); Manhattan 6 (Barragar 3, Holloway 2, Payne).