Manchester advances to finals

Wabash’s Alivia Short attempts to get a shot off against an Oak Hill defender. Photo by Don Hurd

By Eric Christiansen

NORTH MANCHESTER --  The adage, “Regular season records don't matter. At tournament time, everyone is 0-0” was showcased Saturday night in the Sectional 37 semifinal game between Manchester and Lewis Cass.

The host Squires entered the game with a 16-7 record, set to face the 1-21 Kings.

Manchester appeared to have the game in hand with a 17-10 first quarter lead, but Cass used a 7-0 run to open the second quarter and it it up at 17-17.

The Kings never went away, but the Squires held on for a 45-39 win to advance to the championship game played Monday, Feb. 4 against Oak Hill.

“I was so impressed by … Lewis Cass for how hard they played tonight,” Manchester coach Jake Everett said. “They deserve to be commended for how hard they played and executed tonight.”

With the score tied 22-22 in the final seconds of the first half, Manchester's Kennedy Fierstos hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for a three point lead.

In the second half, Cass tied the game midway through the fourth quarter and was within one possession of the Squires 12 times, but couldn't get over the hump.

Manchester turned a 37-37 tie with 5:48 left into the six point win by hitting 6-7 free throws down the stretch.

“I'm proud of the grit we showed to not have our best shooting performance and to grind out a tough win,” Everett said. “The did what they had to do to give themselves an opportunity to play for a championship.”

Fierstos led the Squires with 20 points, followed by Kiera Hatfield with 11.

Wabash vs. Oak Hill
The Wabash Apaches had the unenviable task of facing Class 2A third-ranked Oak Hill in their sectional opening game.
Oak Hill, 19-3 heading into the game, had no trouble with the Apaches, running away with a 51-20 win to advance to the championship game against Manchester.

The Eagles led 8-1 after the first quarter and took a 23-11 advantage to the locker room at halftime.

Wabash managed just two points in the third quarter and seven in the fourth to total 20 points for the game.

For Wabash, Alivia Short led the way with seven points and three rebounds, followed by Tabatha Wagner with six points.
The Apaches end the season with a 9-14 record and finished 4-5 in conference play.

Oak Hill advanced to the semi-finals with a 54-23 win over North Miami on Friday night.

Manchester vs. Rochester
An anemic scoring start between Manchester and Rochester in their sectional opener improved as the game went along, especially for Manchester, as the Squires defeated the Zebras 38-29 Friday, Feb. 1.

After nearly five minutes of scoreless basketball, Rochester started the scoring with a 3-pointer, followed by two free throws from Manchester's Jirni Cripe.

Rochester led 5-2 late in the quarter, but the Squires scored six straight points for an 8-5 lead.

Manchester took control with a strong defensive effort in the second quarter and outscored the Zebras 9-1 for a 17-6 halftime lead.

The Squires slightly extended their lead to 25-13 after three quarters and held on for the nine point one.

“Our girls had some tough moments early on, but we had some great stretches as well and won a close battle,” Everett said.
Fierstos and Bazzoni led the Squires with 10 points each.

Posted on 2019 Feb 05