Indians to clash with surging Vikings

By Joel Jellison

After Tuesday’s loss to Washburn Rural, Manhattan High boys’ basketball coach Tim Brooks said he expected his team to respond in a big way.

And not just in Friday’s game against Seaman at home either. Brooks was looking for more.

“We need to rebound big, and we need to rebound in practice with good effort and a lot of focus,” he said.

The loss dropped the Indians season record to 7-7, and spoiled a chance to beat a team that was directly ahead of them in the Centennial League standings, and additionally ahead of them in sub-state seeding.

But now the Indians have to focus on the six games that remain ahead of them, and the need to win as many as they can.

Manhattan will welcome a 4-11 Seaman team into town on Friday, but Brooks said the Vikings’ record doesn’t matter if his team doesn’t play well.

“They go on the road and beat Junction, so I think they are playing better,” he said. “It doesn’t matter right now if they have three wins or 10 wins, we’ve got to get better and we’ve got to bounce back.”

Seaman has been better lately, after opening the season with five straight losses. The Vikings lost by double-digits to Blue Valley Southwest, Lawrence Free State, Lansing and Shawnee Heights to open the year, and then lost a crushing game in overtime to Hayden.

The Vikings offense came alive when it returned from winter break, beating Junction City 83-71 for their first win of the season. After losing a close one to Washburn Rural though, Seaman was right back to losing in blowouts.

In their next three games, including the first round of the January Jam Tournament in Valley Center, the Vikings lost to Topeka High, Highland Park and Olathe Northwest by an average of 21 points.

Seaman snapped its losing streak with a 50-37 win over Garden City at the January Jam, and finished sixth place after a loss to Junction City.

The Vikings opened league play back up with a loss to Topeka High, and then beat Junction City in the third meeting of the season with the Blue Jays, 54-52. Seaman beat Topeka West on Tuesday, opening up its first winning streak of the season.

Friday’s game will be one of two left at home for the Indians, who will host Shawnee Heights next week. Manhattan has four more road games left this season, including one this Saturday at Salina Central.

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