Manual defeated Fairdale 98-73 Friday night to recover from a 64-62 upset at Central on Tuesday night. Manual started fast and used its defensive pressure to open up the game.
“We came a little bit more ready to play defensively,” head coach Jimmy Just (Math) said. “I thought our pressure was pretty good, and I thought that we just caught them a little bit off guard that way by turning them over pretty early (in the game) and got us a big lead.”
The Crimsons used a 17-3 run at the end of the first quarter and the start of the second quarter to open up a 20-point halftime lead at 49-29.
“The big thing is that we gave better effort, better position, but we didn’t do a great job of getting our traps where I wanted to but our anticipation was really good,” Just said.
The Crimsons also got a big boost off the bench from Ty’Ron Horton, who came in to spark the run at the end of the first quarter.
“I tried to hustle hard, and try to get all of the 50/50 balls because that’s what coach wants us to do,” Horton said. “It gets the bench hyped, and everybody else hyped.”
Manual also got a big game from Dwayne Sutton (12, #22), who added 29 points and 9 rebounds, including 19 points and 9 boards in the first half alone. In the first half, the Crimson offense was clicking.
“We shared the ball,” Horton said. “Coach said that we need to be like the Spurs with the way that we share the ball. Tonight we were able to find the open man and get an easy layup.”
In the second half, the Crimsons seemed almost disinterested.
“It’s just a focus thing,” Just said. “We got to make sure that we keep our focus and hopefully we can keep them hungry and keep them wanting to expand by keeping our mind on doing the job and not what situation the game is in.”
Manual had trouble handling the ball in the second half, as both teams played extremely sloppy basketball. The referees displayed an unusually quick whistle as the teams committed 18 fouls combined in the third quarter alone.
“We can’t commit stupid fouls and we have to take better care of the ball,” Steven Gordon (11, #21) said. “We have to execute what coach tells us.”
Gordon received his first start of the season due to the absence of Jarrett Harness (12, #4).
“I was nervous, very nervous,” Gordon said. “But when the game started I was able to settle down and just play.”
The Crimsons put in a much-more-complete effort than in the loss to Central.
“Our defense was better, and that’s a catalyst for us,” Just said. “When our defense was better then it seemed like we were doing a better job. Offensively I thought that we did a better job of showing some patience at times and we shared the ball better tonight. When we do those kind of things we look like a better team.”
“We need to be smarter because in the LIT the competition will probably be better,” Gordon said.
Manual (13-2) will now turn its attention to next week’s Louisville Invitational Tournament (LIT), where the Crimsons will be the two seed.
“We have to be consistent with our defense and we have to consistently share the ball (to win the LIT),” Just said. “When we do those things we’re tough to beat.”
Manual will play its LIT opener against either Western or Butler on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at Valley High School.