Lions roar to pair of conference wins
By TRENT FLETCHER
Manila Head Coach Bill Taylor reached yet another milestone, picking up victory number 600 as the Lions ran over Rivercrest 74-62 in 3A-3 conference action Friday night at Wilson.
"The 600 means I've had a lot of good players, and I'm old," quipped Taylor. "I am proud of our team for bouncing back after a tough loss to East Poinsett County the other night. This was a big win on the road in conference play. To beat Earle and Rivercrest in the same week shows a lot of toughness from our guys. As far as 600 wins, I'm proud of it, but it's just a number. There is no significance to it," said Taylor.
Blake Wheeler's team high 27 points led the Lions in scoring as Manila picked up a crucial road victory to improve to 12-1 overall and a perfect 7-0 in league play. Kam Ashabranner added 19 points while J.J. Helton and Levi Wallace also registered double digit performances, scoring 14 and 10 points respectively. Garrett Scott and Blake Carr contributed two points apiece.
Manila and Rivercrest battled to a 15-15 tie after one quarter before Manila pulled away to a 39-32 lead at the half. The Lions held the seven point advantage going into the fourth quarter, 53-46.
Demoine Brown scored a game high 28 points to lead Rivercrest.
Kam Ashabranner's driving lay-up with 12 seconds left propelled Manila to a thrilling 69-68 come-from behind win over Earle Tuesday night at Manila. Ashabranner finished the night with a game high 27 points while J.J. Helton drilled five three pointers on his way to a 19 point performance. Blake Wheeler also hit double digits with 14 points while Levi Wallace rounded out the scoring with nine points.
Manila held a 15-10 lead after the first quarter before Earle rallied to take a 31-30 lead at the half. The Lions rallied to take a 48-45 lead into the fourth period before Earle came back to pull ahead 68-67, setting up Ashabranner's last second heroics.
In junior high action, Manila dropped a 59-51 decision to Earle before losing to Rivercrest 50-38.
Zach Reinhart pumped in 19 points while Dylan Bogle added 17 more to lead the Lions against the Bullpups. Dustin Sirmon scored nine, Kyle Joyner scored five while Tanner Platz added one point.
Earle's Autry Allen led all scorers with 31 points.
Dylan Bogle topped the Lions with 15 points in the loss to Rivercrest. Dustin Sirmon added eight points, Zach Reinhart scored seven, Tanner Platz netted three while Kyle Joyncer pitched in two points.
Garrett Love scored 14 points while Chris Parker added 10 to lead Rivercrest in scoring.
The Junior Lions traveled to Jonesboro for the Raider Shootout Saturday afternoon at Nettleton High School. Manila took a 37-34 lead into the fourth quarter but Trumann rallied to take a 50-46 victory over the Lions in first round action.
Zach Reinhart scored 13 points while Dylan Bogle and Dustin Sirmon added 12 and 11 points respectively to lead the Lions in scoring. Tanner Platz tallied six while Kyle Joyner pitched in four points. Matt Holt and Cameron Jones scored 13 points apiece to lead the Wildkittens.
Manila will enter the NEA Tournament as the number two seed in the boys A-AA-AAA division. The Lions will receive a first round bye before playing Wednesday, Dec. 23, at 3:00 against the winner of Monday afternoon's game between Maynard and Cross County.