Girls basketball falls to sixth in McPherson tournament

Julianna Poe, Trending Editor

After three consecutive days of tough competition, the Manhattan High Varsity girls basketball team took home last place in the McPherson tournament.

“Sixth place was not what we were hoping for and was disappointing,” senior Gillian Awbrey said. “Even though we got sixth place, I think looking at the score of our two close games shows we were right there. I know this will give us a push moving forward.”

On Thursday, the girls played Wichita-Southeast. For three quarters straight, Manhattan ended the period with a two-point lead, going 9-7, 17-15 and 29-27. Unfortunately, Wichita Southeast came out on top in the final quarter with a lead of four points and a score of 45-41.

In contrast, during their game against Dodge City on Friday the team struggled to keep up and fell behind. The girls never ended a quarter with a lead on Dodge City and averaged five points per quarter — their highest scoring quarter at seven points. Dodge City, on the other hand, averaged 11 points per quarter and won with a 22-point lead and a score of 43-21.

“Dodge is a really good team and they have some great players,” senior Maddy Kuntz said. “It was difficult to adjust to, but we played hard and didn’t give up.”

Later on Saturday, the team played their third game against Valley Center for fifth place. Similar to their game against Wichita-Southeast, the girls were neck-in-neck with only one point differences in all four quarters. MHS once again led in the first three quarters with scores of 9-8, 22-21 and 30-29. Ultimately, Valley Center defeated Manhattan High with a score of 39-38.

“[The games against Wichita-Southeast and Valley Center] were definitely hard games to lose and it was upsetting,” Kuntz said, “but we played hard and it just has [made] us more motivated to keep hustling for the rest of the season.”

Overall, the girls struggled with turnovers and offensive rebounds throughout the tournament, which have been consistent issues throughout the season. According to sophomore Destiny Yates, communication and persistence are aspects the team needs to continue to work on to succeed.

“We need better communication and [need to know] how to play with each other on the court,” Yates said. “Finding a rhythm for the game is key. Knowing how to dig ourselves out of a hole we created [is also important].”

At the end of the four-day tournament, the final lineup — beginning with first place — was McPherson, Dodge City, Wichita-Southeast, Wellington, Valley Center and MHS. According to Awbrey, despite the setbacks, the team displayed positive energy throughout the tournament.

“I think we excelled at bringing energy,” Awbrey said, “both on the court and on the bench.”

This Friday, Manhattan will travel to play Junction City. The girls are looking to score another win after their previous win of 42-33 at home.

“We already know that JC is coming for [us] due to our last match up,” Yates said. “It was too close for comfort for us, so that gives them confidence. We just need to go out there and play hard and not [let] up on them. We can not let them capitalize on anything [in] this game.