Something had to give in the Dec. 29 varsity boys consolation game of the 2015 McDonald’s Classic, played on the court at North Adams High School. Matched up were Manchester and West Union, with the Greyhounds coming into the game in the depths of a six-game losing streak, while the Dragons had lost three straight on their schedule.
It was to be the night of the Hounds to snap their losing skid as broke open a close game in the second half to down the Dragons 73-52 and take home the third place trophy in the Holiday Classic.
“I’m just relieved to get a victory,” said Manchester head coach Kyle Pertuset. “I knew their kids would come out and be extremely scrappy and competitive and hungry to get a win. They were just as desperate as we were to get a win.”
“I’m thankful we were able to have the poise to pick up the win tonight.”
As the game opened, it was all West Union as two baskets by Craig Horton and another by Logan Clifford gave the Dragons a quick 6-0 lead and forced Coach Pertuset to burn a quick timeout. After the timeout, the Hounds began to scratch their way back into the game and back to back buckets by Colton Thornburg and Bryan Young made it 9-6 Dragons with 1:53 left in the first period.
A basket by Andrew Weeks put West Union up five, but a three-pointer by Young and then another score in transition by the Manchester junior left the two sides deadlocked at 11 after one quarter of action.
The second quarter began with Young completing a personal 8-0 run with the old-fashioned three-point play to give the Hounds their first lead of the night, and they never trailed from that point forward. A long three from the corner by Mason Bilyeu gave the Hounds an 18-13 advantage, but the Dragons fought back with scores from Jared Fenton and J.J. Kramer to pull within 19-18.
Greyhound senior Sean Frost then took over on the next two Hounds’ possession, making almost identical drives on the right side for two baskets and a Rickey DeAtley free throw made it 24-18 Hounds. The final four points of the half belonged to West Union and at the break, Manchester held a slim 24-22 lead.
A nice baseline drive and score by Thornburg opened the scoring in the third quarter and a basket by Cole Pribble put the Greyhounds up 29-22. Two more baskets by the hot Thornburg later in the period gave the Hounds a double digit lead at 37-26, but the Dragons had an answer, getting a stick back from Garrett Vogler and then a three from the corner from Elijah McCarty to force another timeout by Coach Pertuset.
The break benefited the Hounds as they finished the third quarter on a 8-3 run, capped by a Kaulen Cox trey that sent the two squads to the final quarter with Manchester on top 45-34.
The Greyhounds, for all practical purposes, put the game out of reach with an early 8-0 spurt in the fourth quarter that put them up 55-35, but that set the stage for some entertaining action in the game’s final five minutes, most of it from beyond the three-point arc as the teams combined for five treys, McCarty, Vogler and Ryan Rothwell for West Union, and Pribble and Gage Lucas for Manchester.
After all those long distance fireworks, the game finally came to an end, with the final horn sounding on a 73-52 Manchester triumph.
“We talked to our kids at halftime about playing with some heart and intensity and communication and the second half was a lot better,” said Coach Pertuset.
In the win, which improved the Greyhounds to 3-8 on the season, they placed 10 players in the scoring column, three in double figures, led by 16 points by Sean Frost. Teammates Bryan Young and Colton Thornburg added 14 and 13 respectively, with Cole Pribble adding 7, Kaulen Cox 6, and Rickey DeAtley and Gage Lucas 5 each. The only drawback to the Greyhound win may have been a dismal 10 for 28 performance from the foul line.
“I thought Rickey DeAtley was huge for us tonight,” added Pertuset. “That’s just the type of kid that Rickey is. Ask him to run through a brick wall and he’d be jumping up asking to do it again.”
The Dragons had 11 players mark the scorebook in the game, very balanced and led by 7 points apiece from Andrew Weeks and Elijah McCarty. J.J. Kramer and Craig Horton scored 6 each, with Eli Fuller, Garrett Vogler, and Ryan Rothwell all adding 5.
The Greyhounds will be back in action on Jan. 5 with a non-conference game at Portsmouth West, followed up by a Southern Hills Athletic Conference road trip to Whiteoak on Tuesday, Jan. 12.
West Union is back in SHAC play on Jan. 5 with a road game at Eastern Brown and will be home on Friday, Jan. 8 for an SHAC match up with Fairfield.
MHS 11 13 21 28 —73
WUHS 11 11 12 18 —52
MHS (73): Lucas 2 0-0 5, Combs 1 0-0 2, Aldridge 1 0-0 2, Frost 8 0-7 16, DeAtley 0 5-8 5, Thornburg 6 1-2 13, Bilyeu 1 0-0 3, Young 5 3-5 14, Cox 2 1-2 6, Dryden 0 0-2 0, Pribble 3 0-2 7, Team 29 10-28 73.
WUHS (52): Welch 1 1-2 3, Fuller 2 1-3 5, Vogler 2 0-1 5, Fannin 1 0-0 2, McCarty 2 1-2 7, Rothwell 2 0-0 5, Kramer 2 2-4 6, Horton 3 0-0 6, Clifford 2 0-1 4, Weeks 3 1-2 7, Fenton 1 0-0 2, Team 21 6-15 52.
MHS- Lucas 1, Bilyeu 1, Young 1, Cox 1, Pribble 1
WUHS- Vogler 1, McCarty 2, Rothwell 1