When Riley Landuyt knocked down a 3-pointer to put Washburn Rural ahead by five midway through the fourth quarter, it made the Junior Blues the first team to score more than 20 points in the game.
On a night where Mari Jo Massanet scored 21 points alone for Manhattan in the girls’ game, both boys’ teams struggled from the field as Washburn Rural came away winners of a 25-21 game.
The Indians were 6-of-34 from the field in the contest, including 2-of-16 in the second half. The Junior Blues weren’t much better, but they were just good enough to win at 9-of-34 for the night. Both teams shot less than 30 percent, and the Indians (3-3) were below 20 percent.
MHS coach Tim Brooks said he was happy with his team’s defensive night.
“Defensively I can’t be more happy, we really battled them,” he said. “We were undersized, and I thought through the course of the game all our guys really worked their tails off.
“I thought we didn’t give up too many offensive rebounds, which I thought was going to be a key, but we struggled shooting the basketball.”
The game featured a tough night for MHS senior Brandon Payne, who opened the game with a 3-pointer, but committed his second foul with 3:07 to play in the first quarter. He was charged with his third foul with 3:39 left in the second period, and played sparingly.
Payne finished with four points and one of the Indians two 3-pointers — with the team shooting 2-for-15 from long range.
Brooks said it was tough for the team because he got off to a good start, but he thought others filled in well.
“It was tough because he made his first 3, and it looked like he might get going a little bit, and then he wasn’t able to,” he said. “It was tough for us, but I thought the guys that went in played with a lot of energy, especially defensively.”
The Indians had the lead at halftime, 11-9, and pushed it out to a 15-9 lead with a 4-0 run to start the third quarter. But they wouldn’t score again in the period, and the Junior Blues went on a 9-0 run to take the lead and extend it to 18-15 before the fourth.
Payne opened the final period with a free throw — his final points of the night — to bring the Indians within two points, but Washburn Rural got the dagger-type 3-pointer from Landuyt and a jumper from Ryan Wynne to go ahead 23-16 with 2:40 to play.
But the Indians wouldn’t go down without some fight. Keaton Barragar hit a 3-pointer to pull MHS with four points, and then Jonathon Taylor made 1-of-2 free throws after being fouled hard while attempting a transition layup.
Perbeck got the rebound of Taylor’s second free throw and attempted to put it back up to tie the game, but he was fouled and made 1-of-2 to cut the Junior Blues lead to 23-21.
The Indians got a possession with a chance to tie the game or take the lead with less than a minute to play, but Barragar’s go-ahead attempt from the perimeter just missed. Washburn Rural went 2-for-6 at the free throw line and held the Indians scoreless to win the game.
Brooks described the game as being nasty both offensively and defensively.
“It was pretty nasty, but both teams really played their guts out,” he said. “They made things tough on us, we made things tough on them. It was kind of a chess match defensively, but they were able to make enough plays in the third and fourth quarter to make a difference.”
No player in the game finished in double-figure scoring, but Barragar led MHS with seven points, and Landuyt had seven for the Junior Blues.
The Indians will stay home this week to host Junction City on Friday before heading to the Tournament of Champions in Dodge City next week.
Wash. Rural 25, MHS 21
Washburn Rural 5 4 9 7 — 25
Manhattan 7 4 4 6 — 21
WASHBURN RURAL (25) — Landuyt 7, Boggs 4, Ediger 4,Wynne 4, Rowell 3, Sweet 3.
MANHATTAN (21) — Barragar 7, Taylor 5, Payne 4, Perbeck 3, Burton 2
3-pointers — Washburn Rural 2 (Sweet, Landuyt). Manhattan 2 (Payne, Barragar).