MANHATTAN — If you’re looking for a turning point in Great Bend High School’s girls’ basketball matchup with Manhattan, glance no further than first-half action during Saturday’s matinee session at the MHS gymnasium.
In a tale of two halves, unbeaten Manhattan opened up a 19-9 lead after one quarter and expanded the margin to 35-18 at halftime.
Although GBHS made some noise after the break, outscoring Manhattan 30-24 in the final 16 minutes, the Lady Indians held on for a 59-50 victory to improve to 4-0 on the season.
“We had a really slow first half,” Great Bend head coach Carrie Minton said. “Matchup-wise, Manhattan is a very athletic team and we just felt like we didn’t do our part.
“We gave up a lot of offensive boards, putback points and second-chance points, so we dug ourselves a hole in the first half. When you say a turning point, it was just getting off to a slow start.”
After making some adjustments at halftime, the Lady Panthers were able to disrupt Manhattan’s offensive flow to make a run at the Tribe.
“We came out and outscored them in the second half,” Minton said. “We turned up the intensity, and we got to playing the type of basketball that we like to play.”
Trailing 42-24 at the five-minute mark in the third period, GBHS finally started hitting its stride, uncorking a 9-0 burst to close within 42-33 at the 3:11 mark. Morgan Harwood made a 3-ball from the left-corner pocket, Regan Unruh hit a wing shot, Harwood scored inside and then Kelsie Doll drove in for a layup.
After MHS finally ended its drought, Kylee Spray popped in a 3-pointer from the right wing before Manhattan answered on the other end, making it 50-36 after three quarters.
“The girls did a really good job of forcing some turnovers,” Minton said. “I think there were a few times, unfortunately, that we would get a steal and then we’d turn around and give the ball right back to them.
“We put out all of that effort to go after it and get the ball on defense. We just need to make sure that we take care of it on offense.”
Spray continued to her barrage of 3s in the final eight minutes, swishing back-to-back to pull the Lady Panthers within 56-43 with 3:52 left.
But MHS held on for the win.
“We’re sitting at 3-2 and that’s a positive going into the Christmas break,” Minton said. “It’s nice to have a little bit of time now to look back at some of the things that we’ve faced in the early part of the season — five different ball clubs — and we feel really good about the things that the girls are doing.
“It gives us an opportunity to make some adjustments and to work on some things before we get into the conference part of our schedule.”
Harwood and Mauler finished with 10 points apiece, and Unruh finished with nine points.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
At Manhattan High
Manhattan 59, Great Bend 50
GREAT BEND (3-2)
Hannah Hildebrand 0 1-2 1, Kelsie Doll 1 1-2 3, Kylee Spray 3 0-0 9, Regan Unruh 1 7-8 9, Kaylie Doll 2 1-2 5, McKenna Mauler 4 1-2 10, Tarynn Stueder 1 1-3 3, Morgan Harwood 4 1-4 10. Totals 16 13-23 50.
Elayna Spilker 3 3-3 9, Savannah Roberts 1 0-00 2, Savannah Thaemert 1 0-0 2, Katie Proctor 0 0-0 0, Par McNair 1 0-0 2, Kristen Thompson 3 0-2 6, Caroline Ballard 7 2-3 17, Stephanie Shanower 0 0-0 0, Darby Price 9 1-6 19. Totals 25 8-12 59.
Great Bend 9 9 16 14 — 50
Manhattan 19 16 15 9 — 59
Three-point goals — Great Bend 5 (Spray 3, Mauler, Harwood); Manhattan 1 (Ballard). Total fouls — Manhattan 18, Great Bend 17. Fouled out — McNair.