Thornburg basket at :42 proves to be difference –
Story and photo by Mark Carpenter –
It was Senior Night on Feb. 17 at all four county high schools and in Manchester, the Greyhounds honored their soon-to-be graduates and then took to the court to battle the Eastern Brown Warriors in their final regular season contest and their final Southern Hills Athletic Conference game of the 2016-17 campaign. The Hounds had already sewed up the second place spot in the small school division of the SHAC and were looking to finish their regular season at .500 and build a little momentum heading into tournament play.
When you face off with Eastern Brown and Coach Rob Beucler, you can expect a low-scoring hard-fought defensive battle and that is exactly what the Greyhounds got on Friday night. Eastern took a first quarter lead and held it for most of the game, until the Hounds rallied with a 10-0 fourth quarter run and a Colton Thornburg basket with 42 seconds left proved to be the game-winner in a 51-48 Manchester victory.
“I was so proud of our guys tonight,” said Manchester head coach Joey Darnell. “Coming out of the third quarter, I was a little worried, but we never quit. I told them at the half that Eastern wouldn’t quit and you just have to play every single possession with them.”
“I thought it was huge for us to keep our composure down the stretch and finish out the ball game.”
A 13-2 run by the Warriors in the first period gave them a 15-10 lead after eight minutes, but the Greyhounds responded in the second stanza. Back to back buckets by Shaun Gould and Kaulen Cox, a three-pointer by Bryan Young, and a basket by Jamie Combs made up a 9-0 run that put the Hounds in front 19-16 as they held the Eastern offense off the board for over four minutes. When the Warriors finally broke the ice, they did it with a pair of threes from Marcus Hamilton, two free throws by Hamilton, and a bucket by Garyn Purdy for a 10-0 run of their own to end the half and send them to the intermission with a 26-19 advantage over the home team.
The game of runs continued as the second half began and this time it was the Greyhounds again, reeling off 11 straight, nine of those from the suddenly on-fire Cox and that streak put the Hounds on top 30-28. In the final seconds of the third quarter, a three-point goal by Eastern’s Ethan Battson again gave the visitors a lead at a break, this time 35-32 headed to the final quarter of action.
Quickly the game was tied as Cox drilled a three on the first Manchester possession, but Eastern answered with another Hamilton trey and a two-pointer by Purdy to take a five-point lead with 6:30 to play. Undaunted, the Hounds bounced back in a big way, again holding the Warriors scoreless for over four minutes and in the meantime, scoring 10 in a row to retake the lead. Three-pointers from Cox and Thornburg keyed the run which flipped the scoreboard and put the home side up 45-40.
A perfectly executed out-of-bounds play resulted in a three-point play for Eastern’s Josh Tolle, and after a basket by Manchester’s Bryan Young, a three-pointer on one trip and then two free throws on the next by Purdy put Eastern back on top 48-47 with 1:09 to play.
With 42 seconds left, Thornburg split two Eastern defenders at the top of the key and drove to the rim for the score that put his team in front for good. After an Eastern miss, Combs was fouled and calmly drained a pair from the stripe to put the Hounds up 51-48. the Warriors came down and missed a three to tie, but grabbed the offensive rebound and called timeout with 4.5 seconds left. On the ensuing inbounds play, a three-point attempt by Blake Rigdon was short as time expired and the Greyhounds send their fans home happy on Senior Night, holding on for the 51-48 win.
In the win, the Hounds (11-11-, 7-6 SHAC) were led by 23 points from Kaulen Cox, the only Manchester player to reach double figures. Bryan Young scored 9, Colton Thornburg added 8, and Jamie Combs 6.
The Warriors were led by two players in double figures, Garyn Purdy with 15 and Marcus Hamilton with 11. Blake Rigdon added 9. Eastern tallied eight three-pointers in the game.
The Greyhounds were scheduled to begin sectional tournament play on Tuesday, Feb. 21, battling the Western Latham Indians at Northwest High School. The result of that contest was not available at press time.
15 11 9 13 –48
10 9 13 19 –51
E. Brown (48): Hamilton 3 2-2 11, Lainhart 1 0-0 3, Minton 0 0-1 0, Purdy 5 3-4 15, Diener 1 0-0 2, Rigdon 4 0-2 9, Battson 1 0-0 3, Tolle 1 1-1 3, Team 17 6-10 48.
Manchester (51): Gould 1 1-2 3, Darnell 1 0-0 2, Combs 2 2-2 6, Thornburg 3 1-2 8, Young 4 0-1 9, Cox 10 0-4 23, Team 21 4-11 51.
E. Brown (8): Hamilton 3, Lainhart 1, Purdy 2, Rigdon 1, Battson 1
Manchester (5): Thornburg 1, Young 1, Cox 3