PREP BASKETBALL

Manning girls scratch out 39-38 win over Lakewood

Gator boys beat Monarchs 56-37

BY EDDIE LITAKER
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 12/13/17

In a back-and-forth contest, Manning High School controlled the first half, Lakewood led for much of the second half and the Lady Monarchs closed with a 7-0 run to pull out a 39-38 win over the Lady Gators on Tuesday in a varsity girls basketball …

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PREP BASKETBALL

Manning girls scratch out 39-38 win over Lakewood

Gator boys beat Monarchs 56-37

Posted

In a back-and-forth contest, Manning High School controlled the first half, Lakewood led for much of the second half and the Lady Monarchs closed with a 7-0 run to pull out a 39-38 win over the Lady Gators on Tuesday in a varsity girls basketball game at The Swamp.

Manning led by as much as eight in the first half, with the last occurrence coming at 22-14 after a Mahogany Green 3-point basket with 4:35 left in the half.

Lakewood's largest lead was six, achieved on two occasions, with the last coming at 38-32 before the Lady Monarchs' decisive run.

Kiari Cain, who led the Lady Gators with 13 points, came away with what seemed to be a game-clinching steal on a long inbounds pass attempt by Manning with 33 seconds left. With the Lady Gators clinging to a 38-37 lead, Ariyonia Busby committed her fourth foul, sending Cain to the line, where the junior guard missed the front end of a 1-and-1.

Green then gave the Lady Monarchs the lead with a fast-break reverse layup with 24 seconds left. Lakewood head coach Demetress Adams-Ludd called a timeout with 22 seconds to go, then Rahteshia Burgess had to call another as she struggled to inbound the ball. After a turnover, Lakewood got the ball back following a miss by Green on a 1-and-1 opportunity. The final shot went to Cain, who came up short on a 3 from the left corner.

"I think that was a learning curve for our team and a lesson for us, to take care of the ball, No. 1," said Adams-Ludd, whose team fell to 3-2 on the season. "I think we had a few turnovers in certain possessions that I would rather us not have. Also, making our free throws at the end and some execution things that we've got to get better at. Again, this is a learning experience for us, and if we were ever in this position again, the feeling that the girls felt (after the loss), I think it will change our perspective and our mentality and we'll actually grow from this. So I definitely know in the future it will be a better outcome for us."

Manning head coach Darren Mazyck, whose team moved to 5-1, had a scare in the final minute as top scorer Measha Jones, who finished with 13 points, went down hard and was on the floor for a few anxious moments before walking off under her own power.

"She's going to be fine. I think she just fell, she took a hard foul before, before she got back on the defensive end, and two hard hits to the floor like that can sometimes take a toll on your body," Mazyck said. "She was very responsive, she knew we played in a game, she knew what the score was and she knew we won. She's a team leader, both in scoring and emotionally. Green comes along and helps out, along with (Myisha) Smiling, and we just do it as a team. Right now, those are my big three, with just a defensive effort."

Green closed with nine and Smiling added eight for the Lady Monarchs, who saw the Lady Gators reel off a 13-0 run after the 22-14 Manning lead. The Lady Monarchs led 22-18 at the break, with Lashayla Harvin and Valencia Croom scoring four apiece of the nine points that Lakewood scored to open the second half before a Niyah Brand bucket on the right low post broke Manning's almost 9-minute dry spell.

Before going down with 45 seconds to go, Jones scored the first five of the final seven points for Manning, with the last point coming on a free throw after the aforementioned hard foul following a steal. That back-end make on a 2-shot foul pulled the Lady Monarchs within one, setting the stage for Green's game-winning basket. Nine of Jones' 13 points came in the second half.

Mazyck said his team struggled at times to match the Lady Gators' speed in the 4-guard lineups that Adams-Ludd put out on the floor.

"Their guards were a little quicker than us, except for like two positions," Mazyck said. "We were trying to combat that (by) keeping the ball out of Cain's hands. But, even with two people on her at times, she still got it and she got some easy shots. Any good shooter, they want layups and free throws to stay in the game. We got back defensively. There was an outstanding play by Measha Jones up top that triggered one (fast break), and Mahogany came back and triggered another. We missed a few free throws down the stretch but we were able to (take advantage of) their misses in coming back."

Harvin scored eight of her 12 points in the second half to provide a 1-2 offensive punch with Cain, who hit two threes among her 13 points.

"They've put in a lot of work over the summer and preseason to get their individual games better, and it's just showing up on the court," Adams-Ludd said of her pair of junior guards. "We're proud of them and we're continuing to lean on them, but there's still growth there, still aspects of the game that they have to understand. But they're doing a wonderful job for us and we just want to continue to push them and create a platform to where they can get better."

In the boys game, Lakewood defeated Manning 56-37. Grant Singleton scored 17 points to lead the Gators, who improved to 4-1. Juwan Perdue added 11 points and Terrell Houston and Quinten Hodge both had seven points.