MHS girls preparing for Rural

By Grant Guggisberg

The Manhattan High girls’ basketball team saw plenty of Washburn Rural last season.

In addition to the two regular-season matchups between the schools, the Indians defeated the Junior Blues in the sub-state final to advance to their first state tournament since 1991.

Manhattan finished 3-0 in the season series against Rural, and will try and keep that streak going Tuesday at 7:45 p.m. in Topeka. The matchup is girls-only as the boys’ team prepares for the McPherson Invitational Basketball tournament later in the week.

Rural (4-4, 2-2 Centennial) has had an up-and-down season so far, with a 1-3 record to start the year before righting the ship the last few weeks. Like Manhattan, the Junior Blues lost to Hayden and beat Shawnee Heights comfortably.

“It’s going to be a tough week,” Manhattan coach Scott Mall said. “We saw Washburn three times last year, so we know how good they are.”

With a 2-1 record since Christmas break, and the only loss coming to Seaman by one point, Mall knows his team will have its work cut out for it. The Junior Blues are led by Erika Lane’s 12.1 points per game.

For Manhattan (7-1, 3-1), building off its 49-25 win over rival Junction City on Friday, is key. Mall saw improvement from most all of his players in the decision-making aspect of the game. He was also pleased with the way his bench players were able to contribute without missing a beat.

“It seems like (Rural’s) playing really well right now coming off Christmas break,” he said. “So hopefully we can build and keep getting better from where we were tonight.”

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