The Manhattan High boys’ basketball team is getting used to playing on the road, and coach Tim Brooks said the Indians need to as they continue to navigate a tough stretch of upcoming games.
The Indians open the second half of the season Thursday with a game at Highland Park, beginning a stretch of seven of the final 10 games on the road — before staying on the road for sub-state.
Starting Feb. 3, the Indians will have a stretch of five games in two weeks.
“I think that the stretch in February is just going to be rough,” Brooks said. “Here coming up we have two weeks with five games, and it’s going to be taxing and tough.”
Before the Indians get to that game, they will hit their fourth straight road contest with a game against the Scots Thursday.
Brooks said he thinks with the exception of the first game of the Dodge City Tournament of Champions, the second and third round games were well played and he hopes that kind of play can continue into this week.
“Outside of the Hutch game, I think we played well on the road, so maybe we can take something from that,” he said. “It’s a huge challenge ahead of us, and really we only have three more home games, so we got to get used to being good on the road.”
Highland Park enters into the contest at 8-4, with two wins and a loss in the recent Topeka Invitational, where the Scots lost in the first round to Wichita Sunrise Christian Academy — a team that defeated Manhattan the first week of the season.
Manhattan is 5-5 now, and last year’s squad defeated Highland Park for the first time in more than two decades.
Brooks said this Highland Park team is a little different than the one his team beat last season.
“I think they shoot it better than they did a year ago, and I think last year we caught them at a good time and our length and zone caused them trouble,” he said. “This year I don’t know if that will be the case. We have to find a way to slow them down and take care of the basketball.”
The Indians used heavy man-to-man defensive pressure to cause teams trouble at TOC, but Brooks said that might not be to their advantage at Highland Park.
“We cant go out and pressure every team and I don’t think Highland Park is a team we want to go out and pressure,” he said. “First and foremost, we have to take care of the basketball or it will be a long night.”
The Indians will have a break from the court Tuesday before returning back to action against Topeka West next Friday for homecoming.