TOPEKA — Last time Manhattan and Washburn Rural met up, neither team reached 21 points until the fourth quarter, and the Indians finished with that total in a loss.
This time around, it wasn’t the same story as Ryan Wynne and Brandon Ediger found the basket early and helped the Junior Blues hit 21 points in the second quarter in a 53-28 win for Washburn Rural.
Things started going Wynne and Ediger’s way early, as they combined to score three of the first four baskets of the game and help the Junior Blues go ahead 6-2.
The Indians got no closer than four points in the period, as Ediger scored a late basket to push the lead to 11-4, and Keaton Barragar cut it to 11-6 with a bucket of his own.
Ediger and Wynne teamed to lead an 8-2 run late in second quarter and push the Junior Blues’ lead to 21-10. Barragar hit a 3-pointer with 1:07 left in the half to cut it to an eight-point game.
MHS coach Tim Brooks said he thought his players might have had fatigue after playing back-to-back games over the weekend, but it needed to fight through it.
“Even with the fatigue, you would hope we would fight, battle, claw, scrap — outside of just a few possessions I really didn’t think that we did that,” he said. “I thought that our guys had that burning desire in them to fight, especially when you are out there competing.”
Washburn Rural junior Reed Rowell made the third quarter his to shine in, scoring four of the first six points to put the Junior Blues ahead 25-15. Then the Indians lost track of Josh Sweet, who beat them in Topeka last season on a half-court shot, for a pair of 3-pointers around yet another basket from Ediger.
Washburn Rural ended the third period on a 6-1 run, and the game was essentially over at 39-21 going into the fourth.
Brooks said he thought his team didn’t pass the ball very well, and turnovers played a big factor.
“There were times where we would penetrate and throw it out of bounds, times where we tried to throw it across the zone defense from one corner to the other,” he said. “They were high, arching, floating passes that anybody on their team could have gotten for a steal.”
After the way the first matchup went, Brooks said his team might have thought it could manage without being tough on defense.
“I don’t know if we took it for granted that we would just be able to go out and guard them without working as hard as we can, but we can’t do that,” he said. “We aren’t good enough.”
The Junior Blues didn’t show much slowing up in the fourth period though, opening with a short 6-2 run, and leaving the starters in until a three-point play from Ediger put the team ahead 48-25 with 4:57 remaining.
Barragar was the only MHS player in double figures with 13 points. No other player scored more than four for the Indians.
Ediger scored 17 points for the Junior Blues and Rowell punched in 10 as they dominated play inside the paint.
Brooks said they didn’t do as good a job on them on the inside this time around.
The Indians will return home on Friday to play Seaman.
WASHBURN RURAL 53, MANHATTAN 28
Manhattan 6 7 8 7 — 28
Washburn Rural 11 10 18 14 — 53
MANHATTAN (28) — Barragar 13, Payne 4, Burton 3, Stephens 3, Taylor 2, Holloway 2, Perbeck 1.
WASHBURN RURAL (53) — Ediger 17, Rowell 10, Wynne 8, Sweet 8, Landuyt 3, Whitten 3, Woodward 2, Singer 2.
3-pointers — Manhattan 1 (Barragar). Washburn Rural 2 (Sweet 2).