TOPEKA — The Manhattan High girls’ basketball team couldn’t get a thing going right for it in the first quarter on Friday night at Topeka High.
But with a strong second quarter and a better second half, the Indians managed to complete an undefeated Centennial League season with a 42-32 win.
The game got off to an erratic start for the Indians (18-2), who scored the opening points on a bucket by Onyeka Ehie, but then turned the ball over on several straight possessions to allow Topeka to take a 6-2 lead.
Manhattan answered a plea from coach Scott Mall to “get in the game,” with a basket from Darby Price. But Trojans senior Krystal Corhn continually stole the ball away from MHS players and finished with layups.
Mall said the game started off the wrong way for the Indians, and it sort of spiraled with bad offensive possessions and defensive lapses.
“It hurt that right away our first three trips we missed wide-open 1-footers and then we got blocked, so the girls started shooting outside shots and then we turned the ball over, which killed us,” he said.
Mall said overall, the beginning of the game seemed to go against what they talked about doing in the first quarter.
“I thought in that first quarter we did a lot of things defensively that we talked about not doing, and we talked about keeping the ball away from Corhn, but then it seemed like we did everything we could to get it close to her,” he said. “Offensively we couldn’t make easy shots, and we didn’t do what we wanted to.”
Corhn scored nine points for the Trojans, who built a 20-8 lead after one quarter, putting the Indians in an unfamiliar, dire situation. They would allow the Trojans to score just 12 more points.
The Indians looked like the team that entered the game with a league-winning 13-0 record in the second quarter, opening a 13-2 run to pull within one point at 22-21 with 2:44 left in the first half.
Ehie and Elayna Spilker led the way in the second period with five points apiece, and MHS trailed 24-23 at the half, allowing the Trojans to score just four points in the quarter.
Mall said everything turned around for the better in the second quarter.
“In the second quarter we played much better and defensively we played really well and they are a team that always makes you nervous with so many shooters,” he said. “Offensively we started improving and making big plays, and that got us back into the game.”
Mari Jo Massanet opened the second half with a bucket and a free throw to give the Indians their first lead since the 7:13 mark of the first quarter.
After a Spilker bucket, the Trojans would score their only points of the period. Price scored on back-to-back chances and Spilker hit a 3 to make the score 35-26.
Manhattan outscored the Trojans 7-6 in the fourth quarter to close out the contest.
Price and Spilker led the Indians with double-figure scoring nights, as each scored 12 points.
The Indians will be at home on Wednesday to host Wichita Southeast in the first round of sub-state. Manhattan will be the No. 2 seed in the game and Southeast the No. 7. The sub-state finals will be held on Friday at Topeka.
MANHATTAN 42, TOPEKA HIGH 32
Manhattan 8 15 12 7 — 42
Topeka 20 4 2 6 — 32
MANHATTAN (42) — Price 12, Spilker 12, Ehie 9, Massanet 8, Pitchford 1.
TOPEKA (32) — Corhns 11, Benning 8, M. Madden 5, Brooks 5, Martindale 2, B. Madden 1.
3-pointers — Manhattan 1 (Spilker). Topeka 1 (Brooks).