Manila led by as many as 20 points, but had to hold off a fourth quarter three point shooting barrage from Bay to hang on for a 71-63 victory in senior boys basketball action between two of the state's top ranked teams Tuesday night at Manila.
Senior forward Levi Wallace scored 14 of his 21 points in the opening half, as the Lions led 23-9 after the first period and 39-24 at intermission.
Manila built its lead to 50-30 on a three point by Wallace with 3:31 left in the third quarter before Bay sliced the margin to 52-35 entering the final frame.
The Yellowjackets began cutting into the lead early in the fourth quarter when sophomore Tyson Oliver came off the bench and hit three consecutive treys. Another sophomore, Hunter Pruitt, added Bay's fourth consecutive three pointer and the lead was suddenly just seven points, 56-49, with 3:49 remaining. A two point basket and another triple by sophomore Dylan Loven pulled the 'Jackets to within 60-54 with 2:24 left.
Kam Ashabranner drove the lane for two to put Manila back up 62-54 at the 2:10 mark. Loven drained another three pointer to reduce the Lion lead to 62-57 with 1:50 to play, but that was as close as Bay would get. Ashabranner connected on six consecutive free throws down the stretch, including 15-16 on the night, as the Lions improved to 17-5 on the season.
"Bay is a very physical team, regardless of the classification, but I thought we were just a little more physical," said Manila Coach Bill Taylor. "We got the ball inside in the first half and were able to build a good lead. Bay has a lot of depth and Coach Brad Brannen does a great job of developing that depth in the summer. We made the plays when we had to. It was a good win against a very good team that could very easily win the state title this year. I am very proud of my team."
"Our game plan was for us to do what we did in the fourth quarter, but we just didn't execute it in the first half," said Brannen. "Our sophomores really played well off the bench. We didn't get a good shooting night from our starters. When Manila got a 7-0 lead to start the game, we played timid. We didn't start playing our game until we had nothing to lose, and then it was too late. We wanted to get the ball into an up and down the court type of game because of Manila's size, but we let them control the tempo in the first half and they built a big lead on us. But I was proud of the way we battled back."
Ashabranner led the Lions with 24 points. J.J. Helton finished with 15 points while Garrett Scott pitched in nine. Dillon Burrow added two points. Manila was deadly from the free throw line, hitting 31-37 foul shots while making two three pointers.
Oliver and Loven led Bay with 18 and 13 points respectively. The 'Jackets hit eight of 16 free throws and finished with 13 three pointers.
In junior high action, Manila slipped past Bay 38-32. Scott Eubanks scored 15 points while Caleb Reinhart added 10 to lead the Lions. Thomas Davis tallied seven while Kyle Joyner added six.
Garrett Hampton led Bay with 12 points while Tyler Pritchett added 10.
Bay led 7-6 after the first period and 14-11 at the half. Manila rallied in the third quarter to take a 27-25 edge into the fourth period.
Manila returns to action when they host Earle in a crucial 3A-3 conference matchup.
In senior girls action, Manila rolled over Tuckerman 57-41 Monday night at Manila. Sophomore Shelby Wallace poured in 18 points while freshman Kirsten Adcock pumped in 17 more to lead the Lady Lions. Adcock finished the night with five three pointers. Jordan Robertson scored seven, Cortney Craine and Emily Cook had five apiece, Taylor Teague netted three while Peyton Joyner pitched in two points. Manila hit nine of 11 free throws and drilled eight treys.
Amanda Kendrick led all scorers with 20 points while fellow Lady Bulldog Sara Shipman also hit double digits with 13. Tuckerman hit six of 11 foul shots and connected on three treys.
In junior high action, Manila held off Tuckerman 39-28. Deven Burrow led Manila with 16 points, including four three pointers. Kailen Shelton scored eight, Haley Hicks tallied seven, Bailey Towell netted six, while Charlie Smith added two points.
Emily Caldwell led the Lady Bulldogs with 14 points.
Manila will return to the hard court Monday night, hosting Corning in 3A-3 conference play. The Lady Lions will also play host to Hoxie in another 3A-3 conference matchup Thursday night.