It might be hard to get a read on the Manhattan High boys’ basketball team.
The Indians are 3-2 on the year with two wins by blowout, two losses in the same fashion and an overtime win last Friday at Shawnee Heights.
But then again, maybe it’s not so hard to get that read. The Indians’ two losses have come against a Sunrise Christian team that competes on a national level and an Emporia team that might just be a favorite to win the Centennial League title, and compete for the Class 5A title in March.
Friday’s win over Shawnee Heights might say the most about the Indians so far this year, as MHS coach Tim Brooks said the T-Birds are far and away better than they were last season.
The Indians shot poorly from the free-throw line in the final minute of the fourth quarter, and allowed a 3-pointer that tied the game with four seconds left.
But Brooks was happy with his team’s tenacity in overtime, playing tough and rebounding well to close out the game on top.
On Tuesday the Indians will return home to face another good team in Washburn Rural with a contest that will test their ability to defend the paint.
The Junior Blues are 5-2 this season with two close losses, and one that Manhattan can use to its advantage.
Washburn Rural dropped a close game to Shawnee Heights on the road on Dec. 16, 37-35. That same Junior Blues team also beat Junction City 83-42 one game before that.
Brooks said it’s key to draw from those games and keep Washburn Rural from getting off to a hot start.
“We are gonna have to look at those games,” he said. “We’ve got to realize that they are an extremely tough opponent and what they do they do very well, they execute, they are big, so we will have to be at our very best.”
Brooks said that they will have to be ready to play tough, physical basketball to win.
“They’re good,” he said. “I have seen them beat Junction by 40, and then they played the same type of game that we did with Shawnee Heights. Hopefully, we show up with the same type of intensity and battle them.”
Manhattan will follow up Tuesday’s game with a Friday home game against Junction City before heading to the Tournament of Champions in Dodge City the following week.