Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
Snapping a 13-game losing streak is always a good thing, and that is exactly what the Manchester Lady Greyhounds accomplished on Wednesday night. After defeating the Augusta Lady Panthers 48-47 on the road on Dec. 3, the Lady Hounds had lost 13 straight, until the Lady Panthers came to town on Jan. 18 and the Manchester girls made them victims for the second time, leading from wire to wire to claim a 51-35 victory.
At the outset of the game, it looked more like a baseball pitcher’s duel as both teams put goose eggs on the scoreboard for the first five minutes of the game. Manchester’s McKenzie Smith finally broke the ice with a basket at the 3:18 mark of the first quarter, and after the Lady Panthers got their first point with a free throw, the home team got two buckets from Darrington White, one from outside the three-point arc and one from inside, to lead 7-1.
Augusta got a score from Madison Kelch and a basket in the stanza’s final seconds by Kelsey Friend gave the Lady Hounds a 9-3 advantage after with minutes of play.
Manchester opened the second period with a 7-2 run, fueled by a three-point play by Smith and two baskets by Madison Jones off the bench to take a double digit lead at 16-5. Augusta got back to back buckets from Hannah Arthur, but the Lady Hounds answered with a long jumper from Friend and a driving layup from C.J. Hobbs. Again, the Lady Panthers posted back to back scores and finished the first half on a 7-2 run to slice the Manchester lead to 22-16 at the intermission.
The halftime rest must have rejuvenated the Lady Hounds as they came out of the gate firing away in the third quarter, scoring the first eight points to extend their lead out to 30-16, getting two baskets inside from Raeanna Stamm and another by White to build the lead back to double figures.
Leading later 32-20, the Hounds reeled off six straight, all by White on her way to a game-high 16. Augusta closed the third period with a three-point play from Dana Garrett, but the Lady Hounds were headed into the final frame with a solid 38-23 advantage.
That solid lead began to look a little iffy early in the fourth quarters as it was the Lady Panthers who got hot and went on an 8-0 run, getting a pair off three-pointers from Alexis Shields to cut their deficit down to 38-31 with six minutes to play. The Lady Hounds, who were battling some foul trouble, got two free throws from Friend to put a temporary stop to the Augusta surge, and then came back with a vengeance with a 7-0 run to quickly push the lead back out to 15 with 2:36 to play.
That margin was sufficient to play out the final two and a half minutes, as the Lady Hounds got free throws from Abby McFarland and Josie Campbell to cruise to the finish line of their second win of the season, by the final count of 51-35.
Sophomore Darrington White had another big night for the Lady Hounds, tossing in 16 point to lead all scorers, and be the only girl on either side to hit double figures. McKenzie Smith added 8 for the winners, with Kelsey Friend and C.J. Hobbs getting 6 apiece.
Augusta was led in scoring by Hannah Arthur and Alexis Shields, each of whom tallied 8 points.
There was little time for the Lady Hounds to rest on their laurels as they were right back in action on Thursday, Jan. 19 with the long trek to Leesburg to face the Fairfield lady Lions in Southern Hills Athletic Conference play. The Lady Lions defeated Manchester 68-36 in their first meeting on Jan. 5. The Manchester girls will be on the road again on Monday, Jan. 23, with a non-conference tilt at Felicity.
3 13 7 12 –35
9 13 16 13 –51
Augusta (35): Garrett 2 3-5 7, Arthur 4 0-0 8, Kelch 2 0-0 4, Stanton 1 4-6 6, Shields 3 0-0 8, Mofford 1 0-0 2, Team 13 7-11 35.
Manchester (51): White 5 5-8 16, Smith 3 2-5 8, Friend 2 2-2 6, Campbell 0 2-2 2, Hobbs 2 2-8 6, Stamm 2 0-0 4, McFarland 1 3-7 5, Jones 2 0-0 4, Team 17 16-32 51.
Augusta (2): Shields 2
Manchester (1): White 1