Indians try to close regular season strong

By Joel Jellison

Manhattan High girls’ basketball coach Scott Mall admitted he was worried about how his team would perform on the road at Emporia.

An always tough place to play, the Indians dealt with the pressure from the Spartans and adapted at the right times to score a big win with just one regular season game left.

Mall said facing an Emporia team that was ready to run and press at all times was helpful as the team focuses on Friday’s game at Topeka High and sub-state play starting next week.

“I thought what they did was make us make an adjustment,” he said. “Their guards hurt us a couple of times just driving down the middle, we were ready for them to settle down and they just went, but our girls adjusted after a few times.

“It’s a really good win for us all the time because it’s a scary place for us to come and play.”

As the Indians focus on playing the Trojans on Friday in Topeka, Mall said they know it will be another challenging contest.

“It will be a tough one because they are probably the most balanced team in our league,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of quickness and their forwards can shoot the ball from out on the floor. They do some different things defensively, so it will really be a challenge.”

The Trojans are 10-9 this season, having won three of their last four games over teams like Topeka West, Junction City and Washburn Rural.

Since a tournament-opening loss to Class 6A No. 1 Wichita Heights in the Capital City Classic, Topeka High has lost just two games, losing at home to Emporia and on the road at Highland Park.

The Trojans had struggled heavily earlier in the season, losing three straight games after opening the season with a convincing win on the road at Junction City.

Leading into tournament play in January, the Trojans won just 2-of-5 games to settle in at 3-6 before the showdown with Wichita Heights. The Falcons won the game 68-32.

The Indians are in line to be the No. 2 seed in sub-state next week, with play for the girls starting on Wednesday, and the finals being played on Friday.

Junction City, Wichita Southeast and Derby are all potential opponents for the Indians in the game, which will be the final game played in Manhattan this season.

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