It’s been nearly three months since the Manhattan High girls’ basketball team opened the regular season with a trip to Derby.
Thursday night in the sub-state opener for both teams, the Panthers will return the trip.
In a game set to tip off at 7 p.m. at Manhattan High, the third-seeded Indians (14-6, 8-5 Centennial) host sixth-seeded Derby (8-11) in a rematch from November, when the Indians opened the season with a 60-36 win. It was a game MHS controlled from the first quarter on, though the lopsided score was helped by the Indians outscoring Derby 19-6 in the fourth quarter. MHS led by 11 after three quarters.
Manhattan got 20 points from Elayna Spilker in the game, with Darby Price adding 12. Derby, on the other hand, got 13 points from Madi Greenwood in a game that Derby coach Caleb Smith said was not her best. She finished the night 5 of 30 (16 percent) from the field, shooting more than half her team’s shots and missing a large percentage of them.
For the year, Greenwood averages 14 points a game and has shot 32 percent from the field. She’s also a threat to get into the lane and draw contact. She leads Derby in both free-throw attempts and makes. Stopping her, as it was in the first matchup, is the key for the Indians.
Should Manhattan get past Derby on Thursday, they would likely make a trip to Wichita Heights on Saturday, with a state tournament berth on the line. Wichita Heights hosts Junction City Thursday.