By Mark Carpenter
Two very different teams met on the basketball court last Friday night at Manchester High School as the young and small Greyhounds played host to a long, muscular, and experienced squad of Lynchburg Clay Mustangs. As they have done in recent losses, the Greyhound played well at times, but in the end were not match for the bigger Mustangs as Lynchburg left town with a 73-61 Southern Hills Athletic Conference victory.
“We came out without any poise and they jumped out to a big lead right after the opening tip,” said Manchester head coach Aaron Lockhart. “Their length gave us some problems and we never really adjusted. Defensively, we struggled to get key stops and always seemed to be out of position.”
“We have to come ready to play from the start when the score is 0-0, not once we are down 10 points.”
That early Lynchburg lead that Coach Lockhart spoke of was 10-0 three minutes into the game with six of those points coming in a perfect performance from the free throw line by Lynchburg sophomore Devin Pierson, one of the best in the area at penetrating and getting to the line. The Hounds finally got on the board at the 4:55 mark when Sean Frost got an offensive board and put back on his way to a double double night.
Austin Smith followed with a three-pointer for the Hounds and they had quickly sliced the Mustang lead in half and a pair of Smith free throws later cut the gap to 14-9, but Lynchburg’s Christian Inman ended the first quarter with threes on back to back possessions and the Mustangs were back to a double digit lead at 20-10.
In the early minutes of the second quarter, the pesky Greyhounds battled back again, getting a “3” from Frost and nice jump hook in the lane from Justin Aldridge to pull within 24-17, but the visitors answered, capitalizing on two Manchester turnovers for baskets by Gage Waits and Pierson. Smith hit another long three for the Hounds, but again the Mustangs responded with a big run to end the first half.
Over the half’s final four minutes, Lynchburg went on a 12-2 spurt behind strong play from seniors Ryan Inman and Marc Blankenship. When the halftime break arrived, the Mustangs were comfortably sitting on a 41-22 advantage.
Out of the locker room, the two teams traded three-pointers on their first possessions, Colton Thornburg for Manchester and Blankenship for the Mustangs. The Hounds continued to shoot well from beyond the arc, getting bombs from smith and Bryan Young, but each time Lynchburg kept their poise and had an answer as they got their own trey from Pierson to lead 52-33 with 3:10 left in the third.
To make matters worse for the Greyhounds, their visitors closed out the third quarter just as they had the first, with a pair of three-point goals, one by Christian Inman and one by Pierson and with just eight more minutes of play remaining, the Mustangs held a commanding 61-39 lead.
Give credit to a young but scrappy Greyhound squad as even with the big deficit staring at them, they continued to hustle and play hard throughout the fourth quarter, outscoring Lynchburg 22-12 over the final eight minutes, with 10 of those points coming from Frost, who continued to battle the tall timbers of Lynchburg in the paint. In the final minute, the Greyhounds got a three-point play from Thornburg and a three-point shot from Smith to make the final score look much more respectable with the Mustangs improving to 12-5 overall and 8-3 in the SHAC with the 73-61 victory.
The winners placed 10 players in the scoring column, paced by a game-high 22 points from Devin Pierson, including 11 of 15 from the free throw line. Christian Inman added 12 on four three-pointers, with Gage Waits, Marc Blankenship, Ryan Inman, and Josh Ahrmann all adding 8 points each.
Manchester dropped to 3-12 on the season and was led by a double double night from Sean Frost of 21 points and 12 rebounds. Austin Smith also scored 21 for the Greyhounds and hit a quartet of three-pointers in the game and 7 of 8 from the foul line.
“On the bright side, Sean Frost had a great game and he needs to continue to build off of that,” said Coach Lockhart.
The Greyhounds came back on Saturday night to drop a 71-53 decision to East Clinton and were scheduled to host Portsmouth West in non-league action last night. Tonight, they will be off to Portsmouth Notre Dame for yet another out of league adventure and will return home on Friday night for Senior Night, hosting the Whiteoak Wildcats.
Mark Carpenter can be reached at 937-544-2391 or on Twitter @adamscosports.
20 21 20 12 —73
10 12 17 22 —61
Lynchburg (73): Lanier 1 0-1 2, Waits 4 0-1 8, Blankenship 3 1-2 8, Setty 0 1-2 1, Wilbanks 1 0-0 2, R. Inman 3 2-3 8,
Pierson 4 11-15 22, Ahrmann 4 0-0 8, Wilt 1 0-0 2, C. Inman 4 0-0 12, Team 25 15-24 73.
Manchester (61): Aldridge 1 0-0 2, Freeman 1 0-0 2, Thornburg 2 1-1 6, Frost 10 0-1 21, Thomas 1 0-0 2, Smith 5 7-8 21,
Young 3 0-0 7, Team 23 8-9 61.
Three-Point Goals: Lynchburg- Blankenship 1, Pierson 2, C. Inman 4
Manchester- Thornburg 1, Frost 1, Young 1, Smith 4