Whether it’s slashing through opposing defenses, spotting up for a 3-pointer or finding the open shooter in the corner, Elayna Spilker is doing it all for the Manhattan Indians so far this season.
The senior point guard was a driving force in the 53-38 win over Dodge City Friday night, leading the Indians with a game-high 18 points despite making only two field goals. She did her damage from the line, netting 14 of 17 attempts on the night while the rest of the team finished 1 for 12.
“Elayna’s a good shooter, and she was taking the ball to the hole hard and getting fouled,” head coach Scott Mall said. “The way she was getting smacked around, it’s a wonder she kept making them, but the rest of them are good shooters. They were just a little tight tonight.”
Spilker paired with Darby Price, who scored 16 points, to do most of the damage offensively for the Indians. No other player scored more than four for Manhattan.
“I thought her and Darby have shown themselves in all three games of being real serious threats,” he said. “They do the things they do and do them well and they’re hard to stop.”
Manhattan started slow before turning things on late, trailing 12-8 after the first quarter and struggling to put the ball through the hoop.
“I thought we did a good job early, except for putting the ball in the hole,” Mall said. “Defensively, I thought we made some mistakes. They did a good job of running their offense and getting us in some bad positions and hitting some shots.”
But the Indians’ defense would not be denied, as a second-quarter press forced seven turnovers and helped Manhattan get back on top for good.
“We switched our press up in the second quarter, and that was big,” Mall said. “We got some turnovers off that and then we did a better job of getting ourselves in good spots in the halfcourt defense in the second half. First quarter, we weren’t getting to where we needed to be and we were setting them up pretty well.”
The Indians’ defense held Dodge City scoreless for the last four minutes of the second quarter while going on a 12-0 run of their own to a lead they would not relinquish in the second half.
“I thought in the second half, except for a couple little stretches, we played pretty solid,” he said.
Mall didn’t have an answer for why the Indians started so slow. They were 3 of 12 in the first quarter, missing open 3s and chip shots around the rim.
“We missed some inside shots that we shouldn’t miss,” he said. “And even with our outside shots, we had good shooters taking good shots and they just didn’t go in. Those are shots we should be able to make more of.”
Spilker’s big night at the line proved to be the difference, as Dodge City was less aggressive off the dribble and shot only nine free throws in the game. They were led by Ciera Lampe’s 10 points and three 3-pointers, with Katrina Roenfeldt chipping in nine.