Manhattan comeback falls short

Jacob Clanton, Print Editor-in-Chief

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After breaking its four-game losing streak, Manhattan looked to start a new streak: a winning one. The Indians (8-9, 3-7 Centennial League) came up short, failing to complete the comeback against Topeka High (11-6, 7-3). The Trojans completed the season sweep, winning 58-47 Tuesday night in Manhattan.

As MHS entered the fourth quarter, the Indians were in a familiar position: trailing. Although Manhattan was down 44-32 at the start of the quarter, the team knew the game wasn’t over yet.

“As we’ve seen all year,” head coach Benji George said, “if I know one thing about this team, it’s that they’re going to fight, and they really did.”

Manhattan began to claw back, going on a 13-4 run over the first five minutes of the fourth to draw within three. For the Indians, sophomore Raeshon Riddick was key in the comeback.

“Credit to his teammates for realizing it and getting him the ball,” George said, “and he did a lot of it by going and getting boards. Everyday, he’s getting better and better and playing with more confidence.”

Riddick finished the game with 20 points in the game, including eight in MHS’ final push.

Getting the ball to Riddick was Manhattan’s goal everytime down the court. Down three though, the Indians failed to get him the ball, turning it over instead.

“We got scattered a little bit,” George said, “and maybe a little bit sped up, and I think that maybe was the one possession in the whole stretch there where the ball didn’t touch Rae’s hands. We just have to bit a little bit more poised in that situation and I’m confident next time we will be.”

From there, MHS was unable to regain momentum, allowing Topeka High to win the game going away. George was proud of his team’s fight to the end.

“Our kids have a lot of heart and a lot of pride,” George said. “They weren’t going to go down lightly. Biggest thing was we were able to get some stops and got some good looks and got some easy buckets and kind of got us back in the game, but like I said, I know one thing about these kids; they’re going to fight.”

The Indians were disadvantaged, as three key players were out. Sophomore Chandler Marks and senior Micah Wiggins didn’t play due to injury, while senior Dawson Stewart had the flu. As a result, MHS turned to sophomore Tyce Hoover early and often, starting him for the first time this season.

“I liked being able to go big,” George said, “it really helps our defense. I didn’t want it to be at the expense of Dawson, but you know, we’re at the point now with Tyce where we’ve got no hesitations throwing him out there, whether it be in the starting lineup or first off the bench.”

Manhattan returns to action Friday night, traveling to Highland Park (7-9, 5-5). George knows the team needs to remain focused on its goal.

“Biggest thing is we just have to focus on winning tomorrow’s practice,” George said. “We can’t let one loss turn into two and go on that string again, we have to win tomorrow’s practice, and then win Thursday’s practice like a championship team would, and then approach Friday night and be ready.”

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