Perhaps Manchester boys varsity basketball coach Kyle Pertuset summed it up best when discussing the first two games on his team’s 2015-16 schedule. Pertuset referred to the two games as a “buzz saw” as the Greyhounds faced talented and physical Lucasville Valley in their season opener and then game number two matched the Hounds up on their home court with pre-season Southern Hills Athletic Conference favorite Lynchburg-Clay. Neither contest resulted in a Hounds’ victory as their second defeat came at the hands of the Mustangs, 78-48 on Dec. 4 in Manchester.
The first four minutes of the game went just as Coach Pertuset and the Hounds may have wanted it, slow-paced and low scoring with a basket by Cole Pribble at the 4:20 mark giving the home team a 6-5 advantage. But that was to be the high point of the night for the blue and gold as they would not find the bottom of the net for another nine minutes. In that time span, the Mustangs did something nearly unheard of at any level of the game, they scored the next 32 points, a huge 32-0 run that spanned into the second quarter.
The first 19 of those points came in the first period, fueled by a pair of Devin Pierson three-pointers , on his way to a game-high 24 points. The nine minute span was definitely a “buzz saw” for the Greyhounds and when Lynchburg’s Joe Giordano drilled a three at the first quarter horn, that 6-5 Manchester lead had quickly evolved into a 24-6 Lynchburg lead and the Mustangs weren’t done yet.
The second quarter began with the visitors scoring 13 in succession to open up a commanding 37-6 lead. When informed after the game that his team had reeled off 32 straight, Lynchburg head coach Matt Carson had the typical response, “Really? I didn’t realize that.”
The Greyhounds finally got on the scoreboard again, but not until just 2:59 was left in the first half when Sean Frost converted an old-fashioned three-point play. That Frost play lit a spark under the Hounds as they proceeded to finish the first half on a 14-1 run, getting a three-pointer from Colton Thornburg, a bucket from Rickey DeAtley off the bench, and two scores from Bryan Young. By halftime, the home side had whittled down the Lynchburg lead to 38-20 and there was still some faint hope left in Greyhound Land for a miracle comeback.
That hope stayed alive when the third period began with a steal and layup by Thornburg and a Frost free throw, making it a 17-1 run, and cutting the Mustang lead to 38-23, but the visitors had seen enough of that and put the hammer down with a big run of their own, this time outscoring the Hounds 20-3 over the next four minutes to blow the game wide open and taking a 58-26 lead. A basket by Manchester’s Mason Bilyeu broke that Lynchburg string, but by the end of the third quarter, the home team was again staring at a huge deficit, this time 62-32.
The lead swelled even more when Lynchburg’s Christian Inman opened the fourth quarter with a long three and from that point on, it became time for both coaches to substitute freely with the outcome well decided. In that final stanza, the Hounds got points off the bench from Ryan Dryden, Chase Darnell, and Jamie Combs but in the end, it was the Mustangs remaining undefeated and dropping the Greyhounds to 0-2, Lynchburg winning handily 78-48.
The winners were led by the 24 points from the senior Pierson and he was joined in double figures by junior Joe Giordano, who tallied 20. Christian Inman added 9 off the bench with River Mullins and Josh Ahrmann getting 7 apiece.
Manchester placed a pair of players in double figures in the loss, Colton Thornburg and Cole Pribble with 11 points each. Senior Sean Frost added 8 points, with Bryan Young and Rickey DeAtley each chipping in 4.
The Greyhounds and Coach Pertuset returned to the court on Tuesday, Dec. 8, looking for that first win as they hosted the Fairfield Lions in SHAC action. The Hounds will be back at home again for more SHAC play on Friday, Dec. 11, when entertaining the Whiteoak Wildcats.