The Manhattan High boys’ basketball team will face perhaps its toughest test of the season Friday night.
The Highland Park Scots, riding a perfect season at 17-0, will serve as Manhattan’s senior night opponent, while providing an immense challenge for the Indians as they try and keep a four-game winning streak going.
“What an opportunity for us,” Manhattan coach Tim Brooks said. “It’s at our place. I think we do some things well that could give them problems, but they also do a lot of things well that could cause us problems. If we’re solid with the basketball and we can rebound and not turn it over, I like our chances.”
The Scots (17-0, 10-0 Centennial) have already taken care of business against all of the rest of the Centennial League teams, many in dominating fashion. When they’re firing on all cylinders, even good teams have a tendency to get run out of the gym. Washburn Rural, a team that beat Manhattan 45-40 in January, was humbled on Tuesday, losing 78-37.
Highland Park has played just one game decided in the single digits, a 63-56 win against Emporia. The Scots’ lowest point total of the year stands at 58, and they average 68 points a game. The lowest point total Manhattan has allowed while still winning was 59 points, coming against Shawnee Heights.
To put it plainly, Manhattan wins with defense, and the Scots are potent on offense. Something has to give.
“They’ve got really good balance,” Brooks said. “I know they’ve got a number of guys that shoot the heck out of the ball, but they’ve also got size inside. Oshai Clark, and the new kid that transferred in, (Eddie) Hunt, who’s 6-7 or 6-8 coming off the bench. So just very good balance.”
Highland Park’s size may give the Indians the most trouble, as Manhattan hasn’t had to face an athletic big man often this year.
For the Manhattan girls’ team, facing Highland Park is not nearly as daunting.
The Scots (3-13, 1-9) have just one league win, coming against Topeka West in January. For the Manhattan girls, Friday’s game is a chance to let the seniors have all the spotlight and to prepare for its final two games. The Indians travel twice next week, to Hayden on Tuesday and to Seaman on Friday to close out the regular season. Hayden leads the Centennial League with a 9-1 record, while Seaman, at 8-2, is the only team to beat Hayden.
Manhattan coach Scott Mall said he isn’t worried about his team’s ability to focus.
“I think we’re alright,” he said. “We’ve stayed focused pretty well. When we played Topeka West, our girls came out focused and did what we wanted them to do. And it’ll be our senior night, so I think the girls will be focused, especially those seniors and the underclassmen wanting to make sure we have a good showing for our seniors.”
Booster club to host chili feed
The Manhattan High booster club will host a Chili Feed during Friday’s basketball games at MHS.
The club will start serving chili and other soups for $2 a bowl at 4:30 p.m. in the MHS Commons area, and will serve all evening during the basketball games.