Girls basketball bounces back

Julianna Poe, Online Editor-in-Chief

After three losses to start off the 2021-2022 season, the Manhattan High Varsity girls basketball team has bounced back with three wins and one loss as of this Friday.

Before winter break, the team collected two wins. Against Junction City, the girls went 39-17; against Topeka West, 69-52. Going into their game against Emporia on Tuesday the girls felt prepared, according to senior Grace Dixon. At the same time, junior Destiny Yates could not attend the game but will return this coming Tuesday.

“[Head] coach [Scott] Mall had us watch film before every game and gave us a stat sheet of the players … so coach Mall did a great job preparing us and we were really pumped,” Dixon said. “Then losing [Yates] before the game was pretty hard and I think that everyone’s game [was] off. She’s a big part of this team and we needed her.”

Partway through quarter two, the team took another hit when sophomore Maxine Doering was injured; fortunately, she would return later in the second half. 

“[Doering’s injury] took a big toll on the game because we had to play players that weren’t used to playing o Varsity,” Dixon said. “[Doering] is a big part of the team and it hurts us a lot.”

Throughout the game, the team struggled to put in attempted three after three, leading to an increasingly larger lead from Emporia. In quarter four, the girls had scored half the score of Emporia, going 25-50.

According to Dixon, the aggressive play from Emporia threw the team for a loop.

“I don’t believe we handled [Emporia’s aggressive play] well. We fought back and tried to do our best but our game isn’t fighting back with aggressive teams,” Dixon said. “I feel like the team loses focus when that happens. We just need to play our game against teams like that.”

At the buzzer, Manhattan went 28-55 against Emporia.

“We felt like we could’ve played [Emporia] way closer],” Dixon said. “We just need to knock in shots and play our game against them next time.”

On Friday, the girls played Highland Park away. According to Dixon, after a rough start  – including turnovers and “trying to work the zone offense – the team was able to pull through and gain a lead on Highland Park. Manhattan won with a 30-point lead, going 64-34.

“[Winning against Highland Park] felt really good and everyone was super happy after that game,” Dixon said. “We all played our best and gave our all, so it was a good bounce-back game after the Emporia game.”

The team next plays Washburn Rural at home on Tuesday.

“I think we are excited to play [Washburn Rural] again after Sub-State last year,” Dixon said. “We are going to focus on playing the best we can.”