Playing a varsity boys game on a Wednesday night is rare but with Mother Nature bringing her chill on Tuesday, the Manchester Greyhounds’ long trip to Fayetteville was backed up one night and the Hounds went to visit the high-flying Rockets on Wednesday evening. Before a rather sparse crowd, the Rockets used a 32-point first quarter explosion to open up a commanding lead and though they scored just 37 the rest of the way, it was enough to build a comfortable lead as the home team got by the Hounds 69-47 in Southern Hills Athletic Conference play.
After scoring the game’s first six points, the Rockets never trailed the rest of the night. For the Hounds, most of the first quarter offense was provided by freshman Colton Thornburg who scored six points to draw his team back within two at 8-6, but that was as close as the blue and gold would be. Fayetteville’s Max Iles hit a three and the “in-your-face” Rocket defense force numerous turnovers as the home team scored nine straight to open a double digit lead.
An Austin Smith basket for the Hounds stopped that Rocket run, but another Max Iles trey keyed a 7-0 spurt to make it 24-8. Bryan Young hit a free throw for the visitors, but that just set up Fayetteville senior D.J. Iles, who canned a pair of three pointers in the last 30 seconds of the quarter to give his team a 32-9 edge after one.
“Our main game plan was to not get in a running game with them,” said Manchester head coach Aaron Lockhart. “We tried to run the first quarter and give up 32 points. Their best offense in that quarter was us shooting, rushing, and getting trapped. They converted that into layups or wide open threes.”
Perhaps with the big lead the Rockets got complacent from that point on because the Greyhounds actually outscored them over the final three periods. In the second stanza, the Hounds got a bucket from Sean Frost on their first possession and later in the frame, down 40-15, went on a 9-0 run, led by Phillip Thomas and a three-pointer by Smith. Fayetteville went scoreless for over five minutes and the first half ended with a Thomas three and at the break, the Rockets still were up by a sizable margin at 44.27.
Fayetteville began the third quarter with baskets by D.J. Iles and Cole Shaefer but Smith answered for the Hounds with a three and a two and the two teams proceeded to trade scores for most of the period. That trend changed drastically when D.J. Iles score the final seven points of the eight minute span and after three quarters of action, the Rockets led 60-36.
The final period began with a Manchester run of a Thomas trey, a Justin Aldridge put back bucket, and a Smith free throw. The Rockets answered with a pair of Tanner Fowler free throws and a Max Iles three-point play. The Greyhounds got a pair of Frost free throws and a Bryan Young three-pointer with 2:18 left, their last points of the night as they fell to the Rockets by a final count of 69-47.
“We are just too inconsistent right now,” says Coach Lockhart. “We play undisciplined in much longer spurts than I want to see. We are still a work in progress and we all just have to keep being patient but I still don’t like losing.”
The Greyhounds, now 3-6 on the year (1-4 SHAC), were led by 13 points by Austin Smith, followed closely by 12 from Phillip Thomas. Colton Thornburg played well before suffering an injury and pitched in 8 points, with Bryan Young adding 6.
As they usually are, Fayetteville was led by D.J.Iles, who poured in 26 points, with is sophomore brother Max adding 13. Cole Shaefer added 9 for the winners.
Manchester hits the road on Friday night, traveling to North Adams in a battle of two teams fighting the injury bug. The two met earlier in the consolation game of the McDonald’s Classic, with the Hounds winning 48-38.
“Hopefully we can get everyone healthy and be ready for North Adams,” said Lockhart.
9 18 9 11 —47
32 12 16 9 — 69
Manchester (47): Aldridge 1 0-0 2, Freeman 1 0-3 2, Thornburg 2 4-4 8, Frost 1 2-4 4, Thomas 5 0-2 12, Smith 4 3-4 13,
Young 2 1-2 6, Team 16 10-19 47.
Fayetteville (69): Fowler 1 4-5 6, D.J. Iles 8 7-7 26, Meyer 1 0-0 3, Shaefer 3 3-4-9, Mullis 2 0-0 4, Max Iles 4 3-5 13,
Kable 1 0-0 2, Koch 3 0-0 6, Team 23 17-23 69.
Three-Point Goals: Manchester- Thomas 2, Smith 2, Young 1
Fayetteville- D.J. Iles 3, Meyer 1, Max Iles 2