While the girls’ team opens its tournament in McPherson, the boys’ team will host the Emporia Spartans in a rematch from a 62-52 loss in December.
For head coach Tim Brooks, seeing his team rebound after a largely disappointing trip to McPherson last week is key.
“We always talk about bouncing back after losses, and this one’s going to be tougher than most, because Emporia is really good,” he said. “Hopefully being at home will help. And for us, hopefully that bad taste in our mouth after a disappointing loss will help too.”
The Indians are 5-0 in Manhattan, and just 1-5 away from its home gym, so playing at home could be a key in the matchup with the Spartans. In the last matchup with Emporia, the Indians didn’t have Payton Stephens inside, which could help keep Garin Vandiver off the offensive glass and less of a force in the scoring column this time around.
Brooks said Stephens was sore after three consecutive games.
“It’s got to help a little bit,” Brooks said of Stephens addition since the first Emporia matchup. “He’s hurting a little bit, just from three games in three days, so we’ll see.”
Also seeing time in McPherson was sophomore Pierson McAtee, who had only seen time at the end of games prior to last week.
“He’s just solid,” Brooks said of McAtee. “He comes from a good basketball background, he knows the game, shoots it well, he understands how we want to play, so he’s getting good experience.
“When he goes out there, he doesn’t make mistakes.”
Manhattan tips off against Emporia at 7:45 p.m. on Thursday, following the JV game which starts at 6.