A pre-season look at the 2019-20 Manual basketball teams


This is a picture of the 2018-2019 girls varsity basketball team.

Aliyah Lang

Boys’ Basketball

The Manual Crimsons finished their 2018-2019 season 10-21, falling short to Waggener High school 69-31 in the seventh region quarterfinal. 

Manual hopes for improvement this season. They’re led by Eli Roberts and coached by Jimmy Just in his thirteenth season.

Roberts is a 6-foot-7-inch senior forward who is ranked #23 in Kentucky’s class of 2020, according to Next Up Recruits. Last season, Eli Roberts had an average of 13.6 ppg (points per game) and 6.0 rpg (rebounds per game), while shooting 60 percent from the field goal (meaning all shots excluding free-throws). 

Roberts will also be accompanied by 5-foot-10-inch sophomore forward Ja’Waun Northington, 6-foot junior guard Parker Smith and 5-foot-11-inch senior guard Zach Recktenwald.

Last year,  Northington, Smith and Recktenwald averaged a combined 17.6 ppg and 9.6 rpg for Manual. 

Recktenwald and Northington were both key components for the Manual football team, finishing the season 9-3 after falling to St. Xavier in the second round of the KHSAA class 6A playoffs.

Girls’ Basketball

The Crimsons finished the 2018-2019 season 21-10, losing to Male in the seventh region finals with a score of 54-35. 

Manual lost Nila Blackford, current Kent State freshman and Miss Kentucky Basketball candidate, who led the Crimsons last season with 19.2 ppg, 11.6 rpg, and 3.0 steals. 

This season, Manual will be led by 6-foot-1-inch senior center Dejah Chatman, who will return from a knee injury. In the few games Chatman played last season, she averaged 9.2 ppg and 4.7 rpg.

Other returning key players from last season include 5-foot-9-inch senior guard Jeanay Riley, 5-foot-8-inch senior guard Anna Littlefield and 6-foot sophomore forward Kennedy Lee. The three combined last year for an average of 14.8 ppg and 11.7 rpg. 

The team has high hopes for this season as they played in the seventh region finals for the past four years, winning in 2016 and 2018. This season, Manual is ranked third in the Seventh Region and is coached by Jeff Sparks in his seventh season as head coach.  

Both the boys’ and girls’ teams will open their seasons at Portland Christian on Dec. 2 in a doubleheader. The girls will play first at 6 followed by the boys at 7:30.