Lions celebrate Homecoming with victory over Piggott

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Town Crier Sports Staff

Manila celebrated homecoming with a hard fought 47-40 victory over Piggott before a packed house Friday night at Manila.

The game marked the opener for the Mohawks, who trailed most of the night but refused to go away. The Lions led just 6-5 late in the first quarter, but an offensive stick-back by Chad Nunnally and a bucket by sophomore guard Blake Wheeler gave Manila a 10-5 edge after the first period.

Manila (4-3, 2-1 3A-3) opened the second quarter with a basket from Trey McCormick. McCormick followed with a three pointer, pushing the Lion lead to 15-7 with 5:14 left in the half. The Lions held their eight point lead until Piggott's Jonathan Wright drilled a three pointer with 16 seconds left in the half to pull the Mohawks to within 19-14 at intermission.

Manila threatened to blow the game open early in the third quarter. The Lions began the second half with a 9-0 run, capped off by another trey by McCormick with 5:37 left in the period. But the Mohawks fought back, going on an 8-0 run of their own, highlighted by back to back treys from Chuck Rice to cut the Lion lead to 28-22. The two teams battled on even terms the rest of the quarter as Manila held a 33-27 advantage heading into the final frame.

Trailing 35-30 with 4:22 left in the game, Piggott got a steal from Chuck Rice who fed Tyler Grubb for a lay-up, cutting the Lion lead to three. Rob Rice forced another Lion turnover and scored on a driving lay-up to pull the Mohawks to within 35-34 with 3:18 left in the game.

The Lions broke a 4:25 scoring drought when Nunnally scored off an offensive rebound with 2:49 left to put Manila up 37-34. The Lions got a defensive stop and pushed the lead to 40-34 on their next possession when Wheeler drilled a trey from the right wing, giving Manila a 40-34 advantage with 2:08 to go.

Piggott's Ethan Midkiff scored on an offensive stick-back with 1:56 left to cut the Lion lead to four, but Manila scored six of the game's next seven points, including four free throws by McCormick to go ahead 46-37 and put the game away.

"It was a hard fought game, our first game of the year," said Piggott Coach Paul Seagraves. "We just got out of the state football playoffs and it showed. Our kids fought hard all night. Give Manila credit, they did a good job defensively. We just have to do a better job of executing on offense. I thought our boys did a good job on defense."

"I was proud of our kids for hanging in there and winning the game, but I was disappointed in our execution," said Manila Coach Jeral Hudspeth. "I didn't think we were patient enough tonight. We have to get a lot smoother. We don't have the best hands in the world but we've been working on that in practice. Good things take time. But I was proud of the kids. We just have to keep trying to improve. It was a big conference win."

McCormick led Manila with 15 points while Nunnally had 10 and Wheeler added nine. Ross Malloy pitched in seven points, Tray Malone scored four while Frankie Cowgill added two. Manila finished the night 10-16 from the charity stripe and nailed three treys.

Rob Rice paced Piggott with 12 points while Grubbs scored nine and Midkiff added seven. Chuck Rice finished with six points, Wright tallied four while Sam Yates pitched in two. Piggott struggled from the line, hitting just 5-13, but connected on five three pointers.

Manila opened the week with a 41-33 conference win at Hughes. The Lions put three players in double figures, led by Ross Malloy who scored 14 points. Trey McCormick and Blake Wheeler had 10 points apiece. Chad Nunnally scored four, Frankie Cowgill had two while Jonathan Rose added one. The Lions hit 10-18 free throws and made three treys.

Manila led 15-6 after the first quarter, 23-13 at the half and 29-23 after three periods.

Katravis Anderson and Torey Hatton scored 14 and 12 points respectively to lead Hughes, who hit 2-5 free throws and finished with one three.

In junior high action, the Lions dropped a heartbreaking 36-34 decision to Hughes in a controversial ending. The official scorebook showed the two teams tied 36-36, but after a long discussion by the officials, Hughes was awarded the two point win.

DeAngelo Doolittle scored 16 points and Jalen Smith added 13 more to lead the Blue Devils, who hit 6-13 free throws and made four treys.

Kam Ashabranner paced the Lions with 12 points while Garrett Scott added 11. Tracey Reinhart scored six and Brent Ray added five for the Lions, who made just 1-6 from the foul line. Manila finished with three treys on the night.

The Lions rolled over Piggott 52-33 behind Garrett Scott's 17 points and seven rebound performance. Ashabranner added 11 points and dished out four assists. Brent Ray scored nine while Blake Miller and Jeremy Goff added four points apiece. Garrett Baker scored three while Tracey Reinhart and Dillon Burrow added two points each. Manila connected on 12-15 from the foul line and made four three pointers.

The Lions led 10-3 after the first quarter and 20-10 at the half. Manila held a 35-19 advantage entering the final frame.

Alek Samples led Piggott with nine points. The Mohawks were 5-9 from the free throw line and hit two three pointers.

Manila will return to action Monday night when they host Harrisburg in a 3A-3 conference match-up.

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