MHS girls beat Topeka High for season sweep

By Maria McIlwain

Despite a similar lopsided score — this one was 77-49 in Manhattan’s favor — the Indians saw a very different Topeka High girls basketball team on Tuesday.

“We got a lot of turnovers last time and jumped out at them hard right away, and the game was kind of in our favor right from the start,” head coach Scott Mall said. “This time, they were a lot more potent. They’ve been playing a lot better, but offensively, they did a lot of things that gave us trouble.”

Manhattan (16-1, 10-0 Centennial League) wasted no time, opening the game with a 9-2 run before a Topeka High (8-9, 5-5 Centennial League) timeout.

Chrissy Carr set herself up for a big night, scoring five points in the first 30 seconds of the game. She had 10 by the end of the first quarter and a season-high 26 total. Kia Wilson’s 20 points were also her season high.

“(Carr) did a good job early of being aggressive,” Mall said. “The girls, for the most part, were patient about getting a chance to get cutters though there, getting a chance to open up so we can drive.”

Erica Birch was a force on the boards, pulling down eight rebounds for the Trojans. She also recorded a team-leading 23 points. Corieann Emanuel also finished in double figures with 11 points.

“Tonight, they did what they normally do, which is come down and find a way to get (Birch) the ball,” Mall said.
Topeka High didn’t get its second basket of the game until about three minutes in, and it sparked a 7-0 run.

Manhattan grabbed momentum quickly in the second quarter with back-to-back back-court steals by Garrin Williams and Josie Hilgers. Williams especially caused problems for Topeka, and Mall liked Williams, Haleigh Harper and Taylor Johnson pressed.

“Our girls on the front do a really good job,” Mall said. “Garrin got a lot of steals, even when people would dribble the ball found a way to get her arm in there and get the ball loose and get a steal.”

Mall was happy with how his Indians found open players throughout. Manhattan pulled away with a 12-2 run spanning the first four-plus minutes of the second period.

Kia Wilson put together a stellar third quarter of her own, recording 10 points. She traded buckets with Birch and Burris to open the period.

But Mall wasn’t happy with the defense in the period.

“We were scoring easy enough, and sometimes that makes you sit back a little bit on defense,” Mall said, “and we just had to get back to playing hard.”

The Indians responded, coming out of a timeout with more energy. Mall played several reserves, who held the Trojans scoreless for the first two and a half minutes of the fourth quarter.

Manhattan has already beaten every team left on its schedule, starting with Highland Park on Friday, which Mall said comes with its own challenges.

“The girls have to stay focused, and I thought they did that tonight,” Mall said. “These girls have done a good job setting goals. It started from our senior girls setting goals on where they wanted to be, and that’s what they’re working for.”

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