Before the Manhattan High girls’ basketball team went to the McPherson Mid-America Classic last week, it was the only undefeated team in the Centennial League.
The Indians are still undefeated in league play as they go back into their league schedule on Friday against Topeka West, but they go forward having experienced their first loss of the season to Hays in the McPherson tournament.
The Indians spoiled an early lead against Hays, allowing their opponent to take the game into overtime, and take over the game in the extra period.
But Manhattan won the next two games of the tournament, playing defense like it has all season to secure wins over Buhler and Beloit.
Now at 10-1, the Indians will host a 5-8 Chargers team that posted a 3-7 record in January alone.
Topeka West opened the season with consecutive wins over Kansas City Washington and Kansas City Schlagle, but the Chargers opened up Centennial League play and closed the month of December with a 50-38 loss to Highland Park.
The Chargers took a crushing 65-27 loss to Washburn Rural to open 2012, but got to 3-2 with a 46-40 win over Junction City.
Topeka West lost three straight games after that, falling at Shawnee Heights by 23 points, then lost to the Junior Blues by six points before falling to Olathe North by 15 points.
The Chargers scored a one-point win over Junction City, 42-41, to end the three-game skid going into the Capital City Classic.
Topeka West had losses to Shawnee Mission East and Topeka High before beating Derby for seventh place. The Chargers lost to Topeka High on Tuesday as they head into their final seven games of the regular season.
The Indians got off to one of their best starts under Scott Mall this season, winning their first eight games of the season, with just one game ever appearing in doubt in that stretch.
The 58-55 loss to Hays in the first round of the Mid America Classic gave the Indians their first blemish of the season, and they made up for it in the second and third rounds of the tournament with a 10-point win over Buhler and 12-poin win over Beloit, in which they held the Trojans to 24 points.
The MHS girls check in at No. 5 in Class 6A in the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association rankings this week, and have just nine games remaining in the regular season schedule.
Manhattan will host three more homes games and play six games on the road before sub-state.