Manual continued their undefeated streak by taking down the Seneca Redhawks Friday night in an 18 point victory, improving their record to 5-0.
The Crimsons began the game strong, led offensively by forward Dwayne Sutton (#22, 12), who helped the Crimsons shoot out to a seven point lead and end the first quarter up 19-9, with Jake Chilton (#34, 12) and Chris West (#3, 12) also contributing early on.
Despite these early successes, Manual struggled to find their stride at times.
Manual’s shot selection began to diminish during the second quarter, and at times they struggled to find the bottom of the basket. Additionally, their rebounding began to falter.
They also began to settle for more threes in the second quarter. Due to Seneca’s greater size and length, they were able to pressure the Crimsons and remain in their passing lanes, which greatly hampered their driving capabilities and mostly limited the Crimsons to shots beyond the arc. Two shots fell from Sutton and one from Chilton in the second quarter quarter alone. Guard Jarrett Harness (#4,12) also had a pair of threes in the third.
“I think we settled too much,” said head coach Jimmy Just (Math). “We settled for shots we didn’t have to get. I don’t think we worked as hard to get better shots tonight. If we’re patient we’ll usually get a better shot.”
Seneca’s size advantage also led to an increase in turnovers from the Crimsons, especially due to Seneca’s press, which allowed Seneca to score easy points in transition.
“They just pressured more than other teams,” said Harness. “They liked to get in the ball, and were more active.”
The foul troubles that had been plaguing the Crimsons for the past few weeks were nearly gone, but with them also seemed to go their defense. The boys had trouble staying in front of ball handlers, which allowed Seneca to easily drive into the paint. This collapsed the Manual defense, resulting in a pass to an outside shooter and an easy Seneca basket.
“We just didn’t rotate as well, and they had a pretty good zone offense,” said Harness.
“We’ve definitely got to improve our defense,” Just said. “They were beating us off the dribble way too easily.”
“Things get a lot better when we don’t get beat off the dribble,” Just continued. “We’ve just got to work harder on the ball to not get beat as easily as we were getting beat. We need to have a little more help and be in better position.”
These defensive troubles, combined with the turnovers and struggling shot selection, allowed Seneca to come back to within eight points in the third quarter.
However, Manual managed to put their troubles aside going into the fourth quarter. Guard Ja’Kory Freeman (#10,12) showed off his defensive capabilities with a vicious block in transition in the fourth, and the threes continued to fall for Chilton, allowing the Crimsons to pull away and eventually finish the game 88-70.
Just and Harness both hope to improve upon the team’s performance tonight in the coming matches.
“I just don’t think our focus was there tonight,” Just said. “In between defense and working to get better shots, that’s what we’re going to work on.”
“We need to work on rebounding, talking, communicating, and just playing smarter,” Harness said. “Sharing the ball and stuff like that. I liked our energy, but we have to be more smart in the future.”
Whether or not these changes take hold will be seen when Manual continues their string of road games, taking on Butler at Butler High School on Dec. 16 at 6 p.m.