Lions earn second straight state tourney bid
Manila earned their second consecutive state tournament berth Wednesday night at Melbourne with a 65-48 victory over Marshall in the first round of the 3A regional basketball tournament. Bradey Woodall and Brock Birmingham combined for 46 points to power the Lions past the Bobcats, who defeated Manila in the 2016 regionals.
Birmingham and Joel Burrow lifted Manila to an early 7-2 lead before Woodall scored the last seven points of the quarter to help the Lions to a 14-11 advantage at the first break. Marshall battled back in the second stanza and squared the game at 18-all at the 5:07 mark on Isaac Ragland’s three pointer. The Bobcats took their first lead of the contest, 22-21, on senior Jacob Loggins’ short jumper at the 4:04 mark. A pair of Kaleb McQuary free throws pushed the Bobcat lead to 24-21. Woodall knotted the game with a three pointer before Birmingham put Manila on top with a pair of free throws with 1:26 left in the first half. The two teams traded buckets, leaving the Lions ahead 28-26 at intermission.
Manila took charge in the third quarter. Woodall got things going with a triple before Birmingham followed with five straight points to push the Lion lead to double digits, 36-26. After a bucket by Ragland cut the Manila lead back to eight, Trenton Thomas dropped in a pair of inside baskets, giving the Lions a 41-28 lead at the 3:47 mark. Manila closed the quarter in front 48-35. The Lions put the game on ice in the final frame, sinking 12-16 foul shots and punching their ticket to Monticello.
“This is the week you play all year for,” said Lion Coach Lee Wimberley. “We feel blessed to be in the state tournament and we’d like to put together a run. We feel we have the team to do that. I love this team. They are a great group of kids and great ambassadors for Manila. They were all a part of last year’s state quarterfinal team. They know what it’s going to take and they are confident in their abilities. So am I.”
Woodall finished with a game high 26 points while Birmingham pumped in 20 more. Daley Belew scored eight, Thomas had six, Burrow tallied three while Coby Hollis and Anthony Lopez added one point each. Manila made 18-23 charity tosses and sank five three pointers.
Ragland topped Marshal with 17 points while Loggins added 15. The Bobcats went 8-10 from the foul stripe and dropped in six treys.