subscribe
Overcast

34°



MHS girls rally past Hayden

By Grant Guggisberg

TOPEKA — Manhattan’s High’s Savannah Roberts hasn’t had many opportunities for glory with the game on the line in her young career.

Tuesday night at Hayden, she got her chance, calmly knocking down a pair of free throws with 3 seconds remaining to give the Indians a 51-49 comeback victory against the defending Centennial League champions.

“I was trying not to think about the free throws, just focus on taking deep breaths,” Roberts said. “I was worried more about the time than the free throws. I wanted to stay calm and put them in.”

Roberts got to the line after coming up with the offensive rebound after a Darby Price miss from inside the lane. Manhattan struggled most of the night with the physical nature of Hayden, but Roberts was able pull the rebound away and protect it enough to draw the foul and avoid overtime.

“Coach (Scott) Mall told us to rebound like we’d never rebounded before,” Roberts said. “So everyone was crashing those boards and I was just lucky enough to get it and get the foul.”

The loss was the first of the season for Hayden, who swept the Indians a year ago.

After Roberts’ free throws, the Wildcats got a halfcourt heave at the buzzer from Kirah Lohse, but the ball bounced harmlessly off the backboard to secure the win for the Indians.

Mall said he was impressed with the way his team kept battling.

“We missed a lot of shots we normally hit, and I’m sure they did, too,” he said. “But from the middle of the second quarter on, our girls kept fighting and battling for everything, and it paid off down the stretch.”

Manhattan (6-1, 4-0 Centennial) got a team-high 16 points from Amara Ehie off the bench, with Roberts adding 12, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter. Price added 13.

Hayden (5-1, 3-1) was led by Bree Schmidt’s 18 points.

The Indians shot 17 of 50 (31 percent) for the game, but converted 17 of 21 free throws. Hayden shot 17 of 50 (34 percent) from the floor, making 14 of 20 free throws. Manhattan was 0 for 9 from long range, while the Wildcats were 1 of 6.

Mall said Roberts’ aggressiveness in the final quarter shows how good a player she can be.

“A lot of it was she got real aggressive there late,” Mall said. “She had a couple of short jumpers there where she had a wide-open look and instead of getting too quick with it, she just settled down, relaxed and stuck it in the hole. And she played great defense all game long.”

The Indians completed the rally after trailing by as many as six in the fourth quarter. In a game filled with pressure defense by Hayden that changed the way Manhattan wanted to play, it was the Indians that dialed up the pressure late in the game, forcing five fourth-quarter turnovers that helped fuel Manhattan’s rally.

“Even there in the fourth quarter when we’re down six points with a couple minutes to go, we were tired, but we got a couple of great defensive stops where they didn’t even get a shot off, and we got the ball back,” Mall said. “Then, we just made something happen on offense. We kept taking the ball to the basket, just like that last play. We took the ball to the basket, didn’t get it in, but battled hard for the rebound and got fouled to give ourselves a chance to win, you can’t beat that.”

Hayden’s physicality on defense and on the boards took the Indians some time to get used to in the first half, with Manhattan in good rebounding position most of the time but not coming up with the ball.

In the first half, the Indians struggled to get much going against Hayden’s defensive pressure, committing a season-high15 first-half turnovers. Fortunately, Hayden’s offense struggled just as much, coughing the ball up 13 times to keep Manhattan in it.

“Against their pressure, we did a good job of making passes,” Mall said. “We had some turnovers — but for the most part, we did a good job of finding our open girls and taking our time.”

It was an ugly start for both teams, as neither squad scored a field goal until the 3:51 mark of the first quarter. Prior to that, the two teams combined for nine turnovers and a frigid 0 of 9 start shooting the ball.

Trailing 11-6 after one quarter, the Indians got a big boost from their bench players, with Ehie and Kylie James both supplying some much-needed offense and combining for nine points in the second quarter to cut the Wildcats’ lead to just 20-18 going into halftime.

“Amara played a lot in that quarter, and Kylie really made some big plays, put the ball in the hole, got some big rebounds,” Mall said. “That’s what you want off the bench.”

Ehie was good all night, creating her own shots with a strong dribble-drive that often led to uncontested layups.

“This is Amara’s kind of game,” Mall said. “It’s physical, because of the way they play tight, you want to be aggressive to the basket, and that’s her game. They came out on her, and she kept taking to the basket on them and getting good looks. She also drew some fouls early, which helped us.”

Roberts got to the line after coming up with the offensive rebound after a Darby Price miss from inside the lane. Manhattan struggled most of the night with the physical nature of Hayden, but Roberts was able pull the rebound away and protect it enough to draw the foul and avoid overtime.









Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | The Manhattan Mercury, 318 North 5th Street, Manhattan, Kansas, 66502 | Copyright 2016