Hopeful to defeat both the Topeka High Trojans at home and the Topeka West Chargers away, the Manhattan High girls basketball team went into last week 4-4.
“Our strength is our energy,” senior Zanaa Cordis said. “We didn’t get down on ourselves [this week] and I love that.”
On Tuesday night, the Indians went head-to-head with the Trojans, who are both three-seeded and undefeated. The Topeka High game was the first of the two recently postponed basketball events as well as the first home game in two weeks. According to head coach Scott Mall, hosting Topeka High and Highland Park would’ve been beneficial to MHS, especially coming off of a 44-27 loss to Emporia a week prior to Tuesday’s game.
“We really needed to play that game [against Highland Park],” Mall said. “We were coming off the Emporia game where we didn’t play very well [and] it really would’ve been nice to play that game [that] Friday.”
Pulling away from the first quarter, the score was 17-10 with Topeka High taking the lead. During the first three minutes of quarter two, MHS closed the gap, nearly coming out on top at 18-17. Seconds later, the Trojans drowned out the Indians in a mere three minutes, sinking seven baskets with a total of 14 points. Topeka High would replicate this in the fourth quarter, completing another string of twos and threes, ending the game 66-44 in a loss.
“We came together as a family,” freshman Destiny Yates said. “We had some little hiccups in the middle of the game, but we tried our hardest and put up a fight.”
On Friday, the girls traveled to Topeka West, bringing along spirited energy. This mindset worked in favor of the Indians, as they held the Chargers to zero points for most of quarter one whilst collecting 19 points by the end of the quarter.
“I think what really got us to that point was just the mentality that we came into the game with,” senior Aloera Ostermann said. “It helped us get off to a good start and we had a lot of bench energy and core energy that really just helped us put the pressure on them and helped us to be successful.”
Buzzing out of the third quarter, Manhattan High had increased their lead from 17 points in quarter one to 30, putting the score at 45-15. For the duration of the fourth quarter, MHS put in Junior Varsity players to give them the opportunity to gain experience in a Varsity game. By the end of quarter four, neither team scored additional points, ending the game with the Indians first win in four games.
“Honestly the whole game was kind of a high point,” junior Jaiden Weixelman said. “The whole atmosphere of that game was great. We were having a good time on the court, off the court, on the bench.”
After this week, the Indians are 5-5 — maintaining their 50-50 win percentage — and ranked 10 out of 18 teams, having moved up one ranking in the past week.
“We’re not quite halfway through the season, so we’re going to work [to] keep improving,” Mall said. “We need to … build off the things we did well … in our next game[s] and … just try to keep improving like everybody else.”
On Thursday, the team will hit the road to play their first round of the three-day McPherson tournament against Olathe West, looking to top their bronze finish last year.