At 9-9 this season, the Manhattan High boys’ team has a tough week left if it hopes to finish the regular season above .500.
The week will start on Tuesday with a trip to face an Emporia team that beat the Indians 75-40 in Manhattan, and end against arguably the most talented team in the Centennial League in Topeka High.
But the Indians have to take one game at a time before they head into next week’s sub-state, which will likely see them playing away from home. And first up is the Spartans.
Emporia is rolling right now, winning its last three games, including a 101-56 win over Topeka West last Friday. The Spartans are 13-5 now this season with a 7-3 record in league play.
After their big win over Manhattan, the Spartans were caught off guard by a Hayden team that was making a quiet run toward the league title early in January.
Emporia won its next two games before the Ralph Miller Classic, where the Spartans beat Goddard and Shawnee Mission South before losing to Andover Central in a classic, 65-63.
After another loss to Hayden, this time in non-league action, the Spartans beat Washburn Rural and then lost to Topeka High. Since then, Emporia has won games over Highland Park and Junction City, along with Friday’s win over the Chargers.
MHS coach Tim Brooks said it will be a tough week, and he thinks the team will be motivated by its embarrassing loss to Emporia when the team plays there on Tuesday.
“It’s going to be awfully tough,” he said. “We’ve got to really battle and show up and I think that the guys really want to show up differently than they did for the Emporia game that was here earlier in the year.
“To me that’s going to be our biggest motivation, to show up with a lot more energy and enthusiasm and heart and desire to go down there, because they really embarrassed us here.”
With their 9-9 record on the season, the Indians are currently sitting seventh in their sub-state pool, leaving them to play the remainder of their games this season on the road.
Wichita Heights is the favorite to be the top seed and will likely play Junction City, while the Indians could play Derby, Washburn Rural, Topeka High or Wichita East.
The sub-state final for the Indians bracket will be played at Topeka High, the same place MHS will finish the regular season on Friday.