With a trip to McPherson for the 19th-annual Mid-America Classic looming next week, the Manhattan High girls’ basketball team might be tempted to overlook Friday’s game at Emporia.
The Indians pounded on the Spartans in a December home win, winning by 26 in a game that was never close.
With an undefeated record in Centennial League play on the line, Manhattan head coach Scott Mall wants his team to make sure the Spartans get his team’s full attention.
“They’re record is deceiving,” Mall said. “They’re like 6-3 and just got a huge win against Topeka High, which is a ranked team.”
While Manhattan was able to do pretty much whatever they wanted against Emporia last time, the Spartans moved to a zone in the second half of the game that did slow the Indians down. Washburn Rural employed a similar zone in Tuesday’s game, which clearly hampered the Manhattan offense at times.
“They’ve been playing some more zone, which they did against us in the second half and we didn’t do well against it,” Mall said. “They’ll be a challenge and are a tough matchup for us.”
With a new coach this season, Mall said the Spartans have made changed since the last game between the two teams.
“They’ve repositioned some girls into what they want to do,” Mall said, “and it’s making a big difference in how they’re playing.”
Mall said the team is likely to see several league teams throw zone at the Indians in an effort to slow down the offense and create the chance for the upset.
“We haven’t seen a lot of zone - I thought early we didn’t do what we want to do,” Mall said of Tuesday’s win over Rural. “Later we got some good looks and didn’t score on them. It was good for us. There are a lot of teams in the league playing zone right now. We’re going to see that.”
Manhattan got 23 points from Darby Price in the first win in Emporia, with Caroline Ballard adding 15 and Savannah Roberts chipping in 12.
Whitney Wilhite led Emporia with 13 points, while Kayna Hastings added 11.
Friday’s game is a girls-only matchup, meaning tip off is scheduled for 7:45 p.m.