Lions hold off Rebels in district tournament consolation game

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Manila's third meeting with Riverside proved to be the charm in Friday night's 3A District Tournament consolation game at Osceola. After dropping a pair of regular season matchups with the Rebels, the Lions exacted revenge, posting a 74-64 victory to claim the third seed in this week's regionals at Lake City.

The Lions, who got off to slow starts in both previous losses to the Rebels, turned the tables this time around, bolting to a 9-0 lead thanks to three consecutive treys, two by Joel Burrow and another from Matthew May. Riverside scored the next four points, but Manila answered with back to back Dylon Carruth and Bradey Woodall buckets to go ahead 13-4. Freshman Daley Belew pushed the Lion lead to 18-8 with a three pointer and a bucket in the lane, but the Rebels scored the last five points of the stanza, getting an offensive stick-back from Braden Overman and a long Gavin Stone three-pointer.

Riverside got hot in the second quarter, drilling three straight triples, the first by Dylan Austin and then back to back Stone bombs to close to within 23-22 midway through the period. But the Lions answered when Brock Birmingham canned back to back treys as Manila extended its lead back to five. Matthew May came away with a steal and layup to end the first half with the Lions ahead 35-27.

Manila took control in the third period and extended their lead to double digits, building a 57-42 advantage late in the quarter. Chris Sain knocked down an eight-footer to close the period with the Rebels trailing 57-44.

Riverside charged back in the final frame. Overman buried a three before Austin connected on six consecutive foul shots, trimming the Lion lead to 61-55 at the 5:04 mark. After Matthew May's free throw, Austin drained a three pointer off the left wing to slice the Manila advantage to 62-58. A pair of Birmingham foul shots pushed the Lion lead back to six, but Overman grabbed an offensive rebound, scored, and added the "and one" to pull the Rebels to within three points at the 3:58 mark. But Burrow found himself all alone at the top of the key and knocked down a three, putting Manila back up 67-61. After a Rebel miss, Burrow got loose once again and banged home another triple, and the Lions never looked back.

"We shot the ball well, just like Riverside did the last time we played them," said Manila Coach Lee Wimberley. "I thought the key to the game was Matthew May's defense on Gavin Stone. To hold Stone to 18 points shows you how good that kid is. We hit some early three's that forced them into a man defense. We played a well-rounded game both offensively and defensively. I thought freshmen Daley Belew and Brian Gonzalez gave us some good minutes. In our two earlier losses Riverside got to us on the boards, but except for a two-minute span in the fourth quarter, we more than held our own tonight. I am really looking forward to next week's regionals. There will be eight good teams there. I am very proud of our kids tonight."

Burrow scored a game high 25 points, including five treys, to lead the Lions. Birmingham tallied 16 while Woodall and May pitched in 10 points apiece. Daley Belew netted five, Carruth contributed four while Abraham Lopez and Brian Gonzalez added two points apiece. Manila finished 11-14 from the foul stripe and knocked down 10 three pointers.

Stone and Austin paced the Rebels with 18 points apiece. Overman scored 15 while Sain also hit double digits with 10 points. Jon Milligan added three points. Riverside sank 13-17 free throws and nailed nine treys.

Semifinals: Osceola 78, Manila 76

Lion freshman Brian Gonzalez stuffs a Mohawk shooter while senior Matthew May lends a hand. Manila defeated Piggott in the first round of the 3A District Tournament Tuesday night at Osceola. The win sends the Lions into this week's regional tournament at Lake City. (Town Crier photo/Trent Fletcher)

The Lions dropped a heartbreaker in Thursday night's semifinals, losing to host Osceola on a last second shot, 78-76. Manila trailed most of the game but finally got even in the closing seconds before Steveon Fowler drove the lane and laid in the winning bucket off the glass as the clock expired, sending the Seminoles into the finals.

The Lions held a slim 16-14 edge after the first quarter, thanks to a Conner Belew trey at the seven second mark. The Seminoles bounced back in the second period and took the lead, 39-33, heading into the dressing room at intermission. Manila fell behind double digits in the third period, but gained new life after a technical foul against the Lion bench. Manila closed the quarter strong, trailing 56-49 heading into the final frame. The Lions continued their comeback in the fourth quarter, and tied the game 76-all before Fowler's last second heroics gave Osceola the win.

Manila placed three players in double figures, led by Woodall's game high 31 points. Matthew May scored 15 while Burrow added 11. Birmingham netted nine, Carruth tallied four, Conner Belew had three, Daley Belew added two while Brian Gonzalez chipped in one point. The Lions sank 19-26 charity tosses and hit five three pointers.

Osceola was led by Makai Caruthers' 21 points. Fowler scored 13 while Derrell Brown and Michael Caruthers both pitched in 12 points apiece. The 'Noles drained 22-30 free throws and canned a pair of three pointers.

Quarterfinals: Manila 72, Piggott 52

Manila punched its ticket to this week's regional tournament with a 72-52 victory over Piggott in the first round of the district tournament at Osceola. The Lions and Mohawks battled to a 15-15 tie after the first break, but Manila outscored Piggott 17-7 in the second stanza to take a 32-22 halftime lead. The Lions continued to build on their advantage in the third period, knocking down four three pointers, three by Burrow, to take a commanding 53-34 lead into the final frame.

Burrow paced the Lions with a game high 25 points while Woodall scored 19 and Birmingham added nine.

Peyton Mann and Trey Gossett topped the Mohawks with 13 and 11 points respectively.

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