The varsity girls’ basketball team got off to a hot start against the Male Bulldogs on Friday night. Tyonne Howard (#12, 12) lead the way, forcing multiple turnovers and finishing contested shots on the offensive end.
Manual rode the hot start through the entire first quarter as they took an 18-11 lead into the second quarter. However, the Bulldogs began to claw back in the second period as the Manual lead shrunk to one point, with a halftime score of 29-28.
“I think at the beginning of the half we played really good defense,” Howard said.
After an intense halftime performance by the Dazzlers, the third quarter began commenced.
The second half began with both teams trading baskets. Male eventually took a one point lead and never looked back.
“We played well in spurts,” the Lady Crimsons Head Coach, Jeff Sparks said. “We just lost momentum, and we couldn’t get it back.”
At the end of the third quarter the Bulldogs led the Crimsons by a score of 58-43.
“I think the intensity was there, but I think when we got down, we kept letting them get on the run and we didn’t make enough stops,” Howard said. “For the next game, [we need to] keep the intensity up. Not just in the first half, all the way to the second half.”
“They (Male) just attacked the rebounds, started getting a lot of second-chance points, and we were just unable to keep up with them on the boards,” Sparks said.
Manual’s offense came back to life in the fourth quarter but the defense was consistently one step behind the Male offense. The Bulldogs beat the Crimsons by a final score of 73-61.
“We fought, you know, Male’s a tough team, and we had to rebound a little bit better,” Sparks said. “I thought we improved on some things from Tuesday night’s game, and that’s really what we were looking for. We just gotta keep getting better.”
The boys’ game also started promisingly for the Crimsons, as Jordan McClendon (#12, 12) sent the home crowd into a frenzy with an electrifying dunk.
“The best moment out there, for me, was definitely just the dunk,” McClendon said. “At the beginning of the game, it was really hype.”
Unfortunately for the Crimsons, that initial momentum would not last for long. After an intense period of back-and-forth, the Bulldogs took the lead towards the middle of the first quarter, and the Crimsons would not take it back for the rest of the night.
“I think we were probably better than they were defensively, I just don’t think we executed very well offensively to get things done,” the Boys’ head coach, Jimmy Just, said. “But we got plenty of work to do right now. It’s early [in the season], so we know we got time to get better.”
The rest of the game was, for the Crimsons, spent battling an increasingly hopeless battle against the Bulldogs. At the end of the first half, Male led 35-22; by the end of the third quarter, the Bulldogs led 53-39.
Some players were proud of how the team responded despite the large deficit.
“I think the thing we did best is probably just fighting back,” McClendon said.
The game ended with Manual’s Shane Courtney (#22, 10) earning two free throws, making the final score Male 75, Manual 56.
Troy Williams, Male’s head coach, was very proud of how his team played.
“We matched their intensity, and for a very young group, I feel like [the Bulldogs] played very well,” Williams said.
Be sure to show up when The Crimsons take on the Panthers at Pleasure Ridge Park at 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 5.