Lady Lions take home District Title
Wise pumps in 28 points
By TRENT FLETCHER
Manila captured the senior girls 3A-3 District Championship Saturday night at Tuckerman with a thrilling 60-53 victory over Corning, hitting six critical free throws in the waning seconds to pull out the win.
Manila clung to a 52-51 lead after Corning's Sierra Scheffler completed a three point play with 1:26 left in the game. The Lady Lions worked the clock to under a minute on their next possession, finding junior Savannah Jones all alone for a back door basket at the 57 second mark, giving Manila a 54-51 lead.
Colleen Kemp sank a pair of free throws with 47 seconds to go to stretch the lead to 56-51, and following a driving lay-up by Corning's Felicia Woodard, the Lady Lions salted the game away when Kimberly Wise and Rebekah White hit both ends of one and one foul shots, garnering Manila's first district title under head coach Jeff Priest's tenure.
"I thought our zone defense and our free throw shooting were the keys to the win tonight," said a jubilant Priest after the game. "We had played Corning a man defense the first two times we faced them, and I think we confused them with our zone tonight. We hit 10-10 free throws in the final quarter and were 15-18 for the night, which was also huge. Every one of these kids just fought their hearts out. I was pleased with every one of them. I can't say enough about their performance tonight."
Manila took a 14-10 lead after the opening quarter and led 25-19 with 2:00 to go in the first half before Corning went on a 9-0 run to take a 28-25 lead into the dressing room at the half.
Manila started the second half with a pair of three pointers from Wise, who finished the night with a game high 28 points, despite playing on a gimpy knee injured the night before against Tuckerman. The junior nailed another trey with 3:12 to go in the third period, giving Manila a 38-32 advantage, and the Lions stretched their lead to 41-32 when Wise completed a conventional three point play at the 2:38 mark.
But Corning would go on another 9-0 run to tie the score 41-41 by the end of the third period, setting up a frantic fourth quarter.
The Lady Bobcats took a 43-41 lead on a Woodard basket to open the final frame. But Manila rallied when Kemp nailed a three pointer and drilled three of three free throws after being fouled on another three point attempt to pull ahead 47-45 midway through the final quarter.
Woodard kept Corning in the game, completing a three point play of her own to pull the Lady Bobcats to within 50-48 at the 2:41 mark before Scheffler's three point play closed the margin to one, setting the stage for Manila's nail-biting victory.
White and Kemp joined Wise in double figures, scoring 13 and 11 points respectively. Jones came off the bench to hit two critical buckets, finishing with four points, while Kristen Painter and Tiffany Pentecost added three points each. The Lady Lions connected for nine treys on the night.
Woodard led Corning with 19 points while Scheffler added 13 more. The Lady Bobcats hit 10-12 charity attempts and made three treys.
"This has been a roller-coaster year for us," said Priest. "We started the year 11-3 but then had some sickness and injuries before closing the season winning nine of our last 10 games. The girls have fought the whole year and never gave up. Ten or twenty years from now, when these girls bring their kids back to our gym, the kids can look up and see that Momma was a pretty good player at one time. Being district champions is something they will remember for a lifetime."
Manila began the tournament with a 52-33 victory over Brookland behind Wise and Kemp, who scored 14 and 13 points respectively. White scored six, Pentecost tallied five, while Painter, Katie Donner and Jordan Robertson added four points apiece. Taylor Craig chipped in two points.
Manila vs. Hoxie
The Lady Lions qualified for the regional tournament with a heart-stopping 47-46 come from behind victory over Hoxie on Wednesday night. Manila trailed throughout most of the game before rallying in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Lady Mustangs 19-13 to pull out the win.
Wise nailed 12-15 free throws on her way to a game high 19 points to lead Manila. White also hit double digits with 12 points, while Kemp scored seven and Painter tallied six. Robertson netted two while Donner chipped in one point for the Lady Lions, who hit 21-31 foul shots.
Whitlee Parrish led Hoxie with 12 points while former Lady Lion Kelce Misner added 11.
Manila vs. Tuckerman
Manila qualified for the finals with a 51-39 win over top seeded Tuckerman Friday night. The Lady Lions took a 14-12 first period edge and led 23-19 at the half. Manila increased their lead to 41-29 heading into the final frame.
Wise led Manila with 17 points while White and Painter added 13 points apiece. Kemp scored six while Jones added two.
Tuckerman's Meaghan Goza led all scorers with 18 points.