GREAT BEND — The Manhattan High School girls’ basketball team opened and closed Saturday night’s non-conference road game against Great Bend with big runs to win 38-22 at Panther Fieldhouse.
Manhattan, 12-1, ranked No. 5 in Class 6A in the latest Kansas Basketball Coaches Association poll, got off to a strong start with a 17-2 run that took up most of the first quarter and took the life out of the Lady Panthers (2-14).
Stand-out senior Mari Jo Massanet scored seven points during the run, including a three-point play. Onyeka Ehie got the run started, and scored four points in the opening eight minutes.
Massanet finished with 12 points, including 4-for-5 from the free-throw line.
“Well, we did a nice job guarding their players, but their best player is Massanet,” GBHS head coach Jason Tatkenhorst said. “She’s clearly a dominant force and a difficult matchup for us.
“One thing is her making great moves (under the basket), but another thing is her crashing the boards. We always think that if we can keep her off the boards, have somebody step up and box her out, I still think we could have done a better job with that.”
Manhattan beat Great Bend on the offensive boards on the night, grabbing 12 to the Lady Panthers’ one.
The Lady Panthers, coming off of a 39-19 win over Western Athletic Conference foe Liberal on Friday night, went on a 4-0 run to cut the lead to 17-7. Seniors Liz Kutina and Kelsey Crosby each scored baskets, closing the first quarter and opening the second quarter.
Kutina finished with eight points to lead the Lady Panthers.
Both teams went frigid after that, but Manhattan’s Veronica Pitchford broke the lull with a jumper with 1:42 remaining in the half to make it 19-7.
“I thought we got off to a good start in the first quarter, and things really slowed down in the middle two,” Manhattan head coach Scott Mall said. “They changed how they were playing defense, and we really slowed down against it. Then we got it squared again in the fourth quarter.
“I thought we played good, solid ball. We played good defense through most of the game.”
Neither team scored a field goal in the second half until 55.9 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Indians scored four points and Great Bend scored two to close the third quarter with Manhattan ahead 24-12.
Manhattan scored 14 points in the final eight minutes to close out the game.