Town Crier Sports Staff
The Manila Lady Lions fell in regional play at the "Panther Palace" at Bergman High School last Thursday night. The Manila girls dropped the 70-52 decision to the Lady Bobcats of Marshall, arguably one of the top-three Class AAA programs in the state.
"Marshall is very good, Manila coach Cody Malloy observed after the game. We played well at times, my girls really tried hard tonight, but we had too many breakdowns in communications at both ends of the floor."
The following night the Bobcats handed EPC their first loss since last year's state tournament, then on Saturday night Marshall fell to top-ranked Bergman in the regional finals.
For Coach Malloy, and the Lady Lions, the task was simple, try to control the Lady Bobcats' Jenny Vining. The senior guard is a threat from anywhere on the floor, and has reportedly been recruited by several Division I schools.
As the contest got underway the Lady Lions controlled the opening tip, with senior Katie Veach scoring the first basket of the game. Also scoring early for Manila was freshman Kimberly Wise, who came out and nailed two of her five three-pointers in the first frame. At the end of the first, the score stood at 13-12 Marshall.
In the second quarter of play the Lady Bobcats stepped up the pressure inside, and went on a 20-10 run. In the second Veach was shut out, while Wise and Michele Daniel added a couple more three-pointers. At the halftime break the Lady Lions trailed by a score of 33-22.
As the second half got underway, the Marshall squad began to pull away behind the play of Vining, and good inside work by junior Andrea Loggins. The quarter also saw Manila's Veach begin to get into foul trouble. The Lady Bobcats rode the advantage to a 25-10 quarter and led 58-32 going into the fourth.
In the final quarter Marshall coach Mat Stewart rested the majority of his starters, and the Lady Lions outscored the Bobcats 20-12. Veach fouled out of the ball game with 2:36 to play. The senior standout finished with 14 points, and was two-of-four from the free-throw line.
"They showed a lot of class, Marshall is really a classy bunch," Malloy noted later. "Most people may not have noticed, but late in the game coach Stewart let me put in Rocio Bedolla, one of my seniors who had blown out her ACL. She was able to go in and score a basket in her last game, and that really meant a lot. He didn't have to do that."
Leading the Lions in scoring on the night was Wise, with 21 points. The freshman was also two-for-two from the free-throw line. Others scoring for Manila were Veach with 14, Colleen Kemp with seven, Michele Daniel finished with six, while Bedolla and Rebekah White had two each. As a team the Lady Lions were 8-12 from the charity stripe.
Marshall was led by Loggins with 23 points while Vining had 22, all in the first three quarters of play. The Lady Bobcats were scheduled to play Centerpoint Wednesday evening at 7 in the first round of the state tournament at Harrison.
The Lady Lions gained valuable experience at the Panther Palace and return four starters to next year's squad.