MANNING -- Sometimes basketball is a simple game.
Whoever hits the most free throws wins.
That was the case on Tuesday when the No. 2 ranked Bishop England boys basketball team escaped John F. Thames Gymnasium with a 60-56 victory over …
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That was the case on Tuesday when the No. 2 ranked Bishop England boys basketball team escaped John F. Thames Gymnasium with a 60-56 victory over Manning.
The Battling Bishops went to the line 25 times, hitting 20 of their free throws. Meanwhile, the Monarchs only went to the line five times all night.
That disparity kept BE in the game for the first three quarters and then won it for them in the end.
Bishop England senior Aiden McCool hit five of six free throw attempts in the fourth quarter, including 4-for-4 in the final minute to prevent Manning from winning their sixth consecutive game.
"I think we played a decent game," said Manning head coach Rolando Shuler, whose team finished the regular season 15-9 overall and 6-4 in Region VII-3A. "I think we played good, but Bishop England is a very good team, and you can't take anything away from them. It was a back-and-forth game like we thought it would be, and they just made their free throws in the end. We still have some growing up to do, but we'll be alright."
Despite the loss, the Monarchs appear to be peaking at just the right time. Manning stumbled out of the gate, losing three of their first five region games, but finished the season winning four of their last five.
"We're just looking forward to getting into the playoffs," said Shuler. "We're going to be a (No.) 3 seed, and we just want to ride the momentum that we had from the 5-game winning streak on into the playoffs."
Junior point guard JaQuan Fletcher led the Monarchs in scoring with 16 points, while senior Leondria Nelson followed up his 50-point performance against Hanahan last time out with a double-double of 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
"In the last couple of games we had someone score 28, and then 35, and then Dre (Leondria Nelson) scored 50, so we have four or five guys that can step up," Shuler said. "It can be anybody's night out there. Fletcher stepped up tonight and played especially big getting to the basket, but he just didn't get the fouls we normally get with him tonight."
The Lady Bishops were also victorious on Tuesday, beating Manning for the second time this season by a final of 46-29. If Manning had won, the two team's would've been tied for first place in the region. BE's victory cemented the region championship for the Lady Bishops and pushed Manning to the No. 2 seed where it will face Loris in the first round of the playoffs at Manning High School on Monday at 7 p.m.
The Lady Monarchs struggled from the start, falling behind 12-5 after the first quarter. Senior center Myisha Smiling was saddled with foul trouble early in the contest, preventing Manning's top offensive threat from making her usual impact. Smiling finished with just two points.
The Lady Monarchs trailed 26-17 at halftime, but B-E outscored Manning 20-12 in the second half to pull away and win easily.
Senior Measha Jones led Manning with 14 points.
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