It should come as no surprise that on senior night, the Manhattan High boys’ team had six of its seven senior players score in the fourth quarter to close out the game.
In fact, no player other than a senior scored in the final period, with Deante Burton scoring seven of his game-high 13 points in fourth to lead the Indians past Shawnee Heights, 50-41.
Leading by nine going into the period, seniors Jacob Sobering and Pat Keck joined Burton in a 6-1 run to push the lead to 14 points.
The T-Birds would score six straight to cut the lead to eight points, but then Burton and senior John Perbeck led a 4-1 run to get out ahead by 11. But once again, Shawnee Heights would score consecutive points to cut the deficit to seven. It would get it cut to six with 41 seconds left.
Senior Brandon Payne made 1-of-2 free throws and Burton made both of his to close out the game.
Although one senior, Aaron Pulliam, didn’t score on the night, MHS coach Tim Brooks said he got involved in the game in other ways.
“Pat Keck had a nice little bunny that was sat up by Aaron,” he said. “Really it was a total team effort.”
The game started getting away from Shawnee Heights (5-13, 3-8) in the third quarter, when the Indians turned a six-point halftime lead into a 31-17 lead in just 2 minutes. In seemingly the blink of an eye, MHS (9-9, 6-5) sparked a 9-1 run that featured four points from Burton, and three from Payne.
A 6-2 run got Shawnee Heights back within 10 points of the lead, and the T-Birds trailed 34-25 going into the fourth.
Brooks said throughout the game, especially in the second half, he thought guard play was key for MHS.
“The thing that sticks out most to me is I thought our guards did a good job of penetrating and finding guys inside,” he said. “Early on, we found a couple guys on the perimeter for 3, but I remember big John (Perbeck) getting a bucket off a point guard pass and Payton (Stephens) also. I think that was pretty sweet.”
The Indians spoiled an early lead in the first quarter, after coming out to outscore Shawnee Heights 12-3 in the first four-and-a-half minutes. Payne scored five points during the run, hitting one of the team’s two first quarter 3s.
But the Thunderbirds got their best production of the period in the last 3 minutes, getting a basket from Braeson Sester and an old-fashioned three-point play from Tevin Downing to trail 12-8 after the first.
Brooks said much of the T-Birds offense went through Downing, and he was tough to slow down.
“He is hard to keep out of the lane, he is deceiving, he is really quick and he is long,” he said. “He flashes to the basket well and he’s got a pretty nice spin move that caught us off guard.”
The T-Birds came back at the Indians in the second quarter with a quick 4-2 spurt to cut the lead down to two points, but consecutive baskets from Sobering and Jacob Holloway helped Manhattan extend the lead out to six points. The Indians led 22-16 at the half.
Besides Burton’s 13 points, Payne finished with 10 points for the Indians, while Keaton Barragar had seven. Downing led the T-Birds with 11 points, while Brian McGinnos had 10.
SHAWNEE HEIGHTS 41
Shawnee Heights 8 8 9 16 — 41
Manhattan 12 10 12 16 — 50
SHAWNEE HEIGHTS (41) — Downing 11, McGinnis 10, Sester 8, McHenry 4, Goudeau 3, Orton 3, Kennedy 2.
MANHATTAN (50) — Burton 13, Payne 10, Barragar 7, Sobering 6, Holloway 4, Taylor 4, Keck 2, Perbeck 2, Stephens 2.
3-pointers — Shawnee Heights 2 (Goudeau, McHenry). Manhattan 2 (Barragar, Payne).