(Town Crier photo/Trent Fletcher)
Manila and Brookland waged a see-saw battle Friday night in 3A-3 conference action before the Bearcats pulled out a hard fought 72-62 victory over the Lions at Manila.
Brookland took a 15-13 lead after the first period as the two teams watched the lead change hands on seven different occasions. Trey McCormick nailed a three pointer early in the second quarter to give Manila an 18-15 edge and the Lions built their advantage to 20-15 with an inside bucket by sophomore Blake Wheeler at the 6:35 mark. Brookland fought back and pulled to within 23-22 on a pair of free throws by Patrick Farley with 4:09 remaining in the half. An inside basket by Adrian Blancett gave the Bearcats a 24-23 lead with 3:47 to go but Manila rallied, outscoring Brookland 9-4 to close out the half and take a 32-28 lead into the dressing room.
Manila got back to back three pointers from McCormick and Wheeler midway through the third quarter to break a 36-36 tie, giving the Lions a 42-38 lead at the 3:01 mark. Manila maintained their advantage until a Bearcat three pointer tied the score at 45-45 with 1:22 left in the quarter. Frankie Cowgill answered for the Lions with a three pointer of his own to give Manila a 48-45 edge before Brookland rallied, scoring the final four points of the quarter, including a pair of free throws by Zach Williams with five seconds left in the quarter, to give the Bearcats a 49-48 lead.
Brookland began to pull away midway through the fourth quarter, aided by a technical foul against Manila's Blake Wheeler at the 5:59 mark. Three free throws by Williams pushed the Bearcat advantage to 54-48. Brookland outscored Manila 7-3 over the next 3:00 to take a 60-51 lead with 2:23 left and put the game away by hitting 10-12 free throws in the last 1:47 to hang on for the victory.
McCormick and Ross Malloy scored 21 and 18 points respectively on senior night to lead the Lions offensively. Blake Wheeler finished with nine points, Jonathan Rose and Frankie Cowgill netted six points apiece while Cody Webb added two. Manila finished 18-26 from the charity stripe and nailed six three pointers on the night.
Brookland connected on 27-37 from the foul line and hit three treys. Zach Williams led four Bearcats in double figures with 15 points. Patrick Farley and Adrian Blancett added 12 points apiece while Andrew Holland chipped in 11.
"It came down to free throws and we just didn't make ours tonight," said Manila Coach Jason Durham. "Brookland has a good team and they made their free throws when they had to. That was the difference in the game. But I was very proud of my seniors tonight. I thought Trey McCormick and Ross Malloy gave great effort. We have had a lot of sickness this week, but I don't want to use that as an excuse."
"The big story down the stretch was we made our free throws," said Brookland Coach David Smith. "We switched defenses in the second half and that really paid off for us. I am happy with the win. It evens us up at 7-7 in the conference and gets us into fifth place."
Manila began the week dropping a 79-71 decision to East Poinsett County. Troy Hull pumped in 34 points while Chris Davis and Bucky Chamberlin added 17 and 13 points respectively to pace the Warriors, who improved to 8-11 overall and 6-3 in conference play.
EPC led 24-18 after the first quarter and 37-31 at the half. The Warriors took a 54-41 lead into the final quarter.
Blake Wheeler poured in a game high 35 points to lead the Lions while Trey McCormick added 10.
In junior high action, Manila fell 47-45 to Brookland and 58-39 to EPC.
Tracey Reinhart scored 14 points while Garrett Scott added 10 to pace Manila against Brookland. Kam Ashabranner netted eight, Brent Ray tallied five, Levi Wallace added four while Dillon Burrow scored three. Jeremy Goff added one point to round out the Lion scoring attack.
Brookland led 17-15 after the first quarter before Manila rallied to tie the score 23-23 at the half. The Lions held a 36-34 edge after three quarters.
Ky Madden pumped in 24 points while A.J. Turner scored 12 in EPC's victory over the Lions. The two teams battled to an 8-8 tie after the first period before EPC took a 25-20 lead at the half. The Warriors held a 39-30 advantage after three quarters.
Kam Ashabranner led Manila with 12 points while Garrett Scott and Tracey Reinhart added 10 points apiece. Levi Wallace scored four while Dakota Day added three.
Manila hit 13-16 free throws and made two three pointers while EPC hit 10-14 from the foul line and drilled four treys.
Manila will return to action Tuesday night when they travel to Hoxie before hosting Hughes Friday night.