NEWPORT The Manila Lady Lions' quest for a state tournament berth ended abruptly here Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the AAA Region 2 high school basketball tournament. The Manila girls (23-12) were held to a mere three points in the first quarter of play as they fell to the Mountain View Lady Yellowjackets 38-30.
"They just took us out of our game," Manila head coach Codie Malloy said about the season-ending loss. "We just didn't execute. Coming into this game I felt like we matched up well against them, but I feel we let ourselves down. I think we stood in our way more than they stood in our way. We don't have crowds like this during the regular season and I think that the intimidation factor had a lot to do with the way we played it was all mental."
Mountain View's Tristen Jones scored all eight of the Lady Yellowjackets first quarter points while Manila got on the scoreboard only with free throws by Whitney Shepard and Michelle Eubanks.
Christina Lester and Amanda Henson netted the first field goals of the game for the Lady Lions in the second quarter, but poor shooting on both sides of the court saw Mountain View lead at the halftime intermission, 17-10.
"We finally picked up some intensity in the third quarter, but we just couldn't get anything to fall," coach Malloy said. "We didn't execute on offense and we let them get inside on us. We just didn't play our game."
Manila's Deborah White nailed a three-pointer in the third period and Henson added another bucket in the frame but the Mountain View girls outscored Manila 8-5 in the quarter and led at the end of three, 25-15.
The Lady Yellowjackets opened the final quarter with a 6-0 run to take a 31-15 advantage.
Manila's Marilou Perez drained a trey cutting the lead to 13, 31-18, and free throws by Lester and Shepard brought the Lady Lions to within ten, 33-23, with just over two minutes to play.
A come-from-behind rally was cut short with just under a minute to play as Mountain View picked up a turnover.
A Whitney Shepard stickback at the buzzer set the final score at 38-30 ending Manila's season with a record of 23-12.
Whitney Shepard led Manila with 7 points in the game, followed by Marilou Perez and Amanda Henson with 6 each. Natalie Tippy and Deborah White each finished the night with 3 points while Michelle Eubanks tossed in a free throw.
Tristen Jones and Lacy Simmons led Mountain View with 13 points each.
First-year head coach Malloy said despite the loss, she is very pleased with the progress the team has showed over the year.
"I feel we have come a very long way. These girls only won eight games last year and this is the first winning season in several years. The girls have adjusted well to my style of basketball and they have worked very hard and improved a lot.
"The future of girls basketball in Manila looks bright. It's going to take a lot more hard work and dedication day in, day out, and year in, year out, but we're on our way."
Manila loses only two seniors for next year, Marilou Perez and Christina Lester and should prove to be even stronger next year.
"They are going to be missed," Malloy said. "But the ninth graders I moved up this year are going to be strong and will help fill some voids.
"I think we'll have a strong team, I hope to have a strong season, do well in the conference and, hopefully, we'll be back here in the regionals next year."