TECUMSEH — The Manhattan High girls’ basketball team found itself in unfamiliar territory on Friday night.
In just their second road contest of the season, the Indians had to scratch out a 42-38 win at Shawnee Heights with some clutch rebounds and put-back shots in the final minute of the game.
With 49 seconds left to play, Par McNair missed a pair of free throws for MHS (5-0), but Manhattan forward Mari Jo Massanet came up with the rebound and put up a shot that was also missed, and then rebounded by Darby Price and scored on a shot under the basket.
Elayna Spilker missed the front end of a one-and-one shot on the Indians’ next possession, and this time Price made the rebound and miss before Massanet rebounded the ball and shot it through to put MHS ahead by four with 16 seconds left.
MHS coach Scott Mall said it was a series of plays they needed in that final minute to escape the hot-shooting T-Birds.
“We definitely needed that because they made some great plays on offense to make some shots and get back into it,” he said. “I thought we did some good things and we would get on a good run, but then we would make some mistakes we don’t usually make on both ends of the floor.”
The Indians entered the fourth period leading by four points, but Danielle Poblarp knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the lead to one point on the Thunderbirds’first possession of the quarter.
Manhattan pushed it out to a 38-31 lead with an 8-2 run bolstered by six points from Price — who scored 13 points — but the T-Birds wouldn’t go down without a fight.
Poblarp ended the run with her third 3-pointer of the night and then Kelsey Morgan scored her only points of the night on a pair of free throws to cut the score to 38-36 with 2:07 to play. Poblarp hit a jumper with 1:05 left to tie the game, but the Indians dominated the boards in the final minute of the game.
The T-Birds hit four 3-pointers in the game, and Mall said most seemed timely for Shawnee Heights when it needed back in the game.
“We talked about it before the game, that they were shooting a lot of 3’s, unfortunately for us they were shooting them better tonight than they have and they were making them at the right times,” he said. “It helped them close the gap in a hurry.”
Manhattan got off to its slowest start of the season in the first quarter, trailing 11-8 going into the second period. The Indians rallied in the second period to take a 19-17 halftime lead.
A 7-2 lead from the T-Birds to open the second half put Shawnee Heights ahead 24-21 in the third quarter, but the Indians ended the period on a 9-2 run.
Massanet led the Indians in scoring for the fifth time this season, finishing with 18 points and her first 3-pointer of the season. Poblarp had 21 points for the T-Birds.
Mall said the combination of Massanet and Price, or any of the other post players, could be a tough matchup for teams in the Centennial League.
“This is not a year where there is necessarily a lot of good post players in the league, and we have good combinations there,” he said. “With Mari Jo and where the girls have to guard her, we have other girls in the post like Darby who will step up and it really opens up a lot of things.”
The Indians will be at home on Tuesday to play Washburn Rural.
Manhattan 42, Shawnee Heights 38
Manhattan 8 11 11 12 — 42
Shawnee Heights 11 6 9 12 — 38
MANHATTAN (42) — Massanet 18, Price 13, Spilker 6, Crusinberry 5.
SHAWNEE HEIGHTS (38) — Poblarp 21, Pierce 6, Wells 5, Brun 4, Morgan 2.
3-pointers — Manhattan 2 (Massanet, Crusinberry). Shawnee Heights 4 (Poblarp 3, Wells).