24-2 second half run propels visiting Lions to 73-48 win –
By Mark Carpenter –
The Manchester Greyhounds went into last Friday night’s season opener with a lot of unanswered questions. They came out of that opener with a lot of those same questions, still unanswered. After playing a competitive first half in their home opener with the Fairfield Lions, the Greyhound offense went stagnant and a flurry of mistakes led to a 24-2 run for the Lions which propelled the visitors to a runaway 73-48 Southern Hills Athletic Conference win.
One of the questions nagging Coach Joey Darnell’s Greyhound squad is how they would perform offensively and Friday night was a disappointing show as the home team managed just the 48 points and did a horrendous job of taking care of the basketball, and the Lions took full advantage, with a 43-25 second half explosion.
Though the final score might not indicate it, the game was tight through most of the first half. The Hounds went up 6-4 on a basket by Jamie Combs, but the Lions answered with six straight for a 10-6 advantage, but the first quarter ended with a two and a three from Combs and an 11-10 Manchester lead.
That lead switched hands as the second quarter began when Fairfield’s Tucker Ayres hit a three, matched on the next possession by Manchester’s Tanner Utterback. The Lions then ran off six straight again until another Utterback trey with 4:50 left in the first half pulled the home team back to within 19-17. Two free throws by the Hounds’ Jacob Calvert tied the score but the Lions closed out the first half on an 11-4 run, getting a little breathing room and taking a 30-23 lead to the halftime break.
A pair of Utterback free throws, a basket by Shaun Gould, and three-pointers from Combs and Gage Lucas kept the home faithful on their feet as their Hounds were still within striking distance, but then the proverbial roof caved in on the blue and white.
Whatever had been working up to that point stopped working as the Greyhounds turned the ball over numerous times, and the Lions were ready to pounce to the tune of a 24-2 run that extended into the fourth quarter. Northing went right for the Greyhounds as Fairfield’s Sam Buddelmeyer suddenly appeared from everywhere and racked up 17 second half points. Just two minutes into the final period and what had been a close game now saw the Hounds staring at an insurmountable 62- 35 deficit.
The Hounds finally broke up the run with buckets by Gould and Combs, but it was definitely too little, too late. The Lions’ were firmly in the driver’s seat and down the stretch they got a three-point play from Buddelmeyer and a bucket from Austin Setty to extend the margin to 73-43.
The Greyhounds did end the game on a high note, with a stick back basket by Jalen James and then a three-pointer at the final horn from Trent Dryden, making the final score 73-48 in favor of the Lions, who picked up the SHAC victory.
Buddelmeyer’s 23 led all scorers, and he was joined in double figures by teammate Ayres who tallied 19. Big man James Bentley added 13 to the winning cause.
Manchester only had one player hit double figures, Combs leading the team with 11. Gould and Utterback added 6 each, with Calvert pitching in 6.
The Hounds will have this week to put the bad taste of an ugly loss behind them as they will be back on the court on Friday, Dec. 8, hosting the Fayetteville Rockets in SHAC play.
In the JV contest, the Greyhounds fared much better, getting a 61-48 win over the Lions. Junior Dylan Colvin led the way for the JV Hounds, racking up a game-high 21 points, with Isaiah Redmon and Karl Ricketts getting 9 each, and Chase McDonald scoring 8.
10 20 26 17 –73
11 12 12 13 –48
Fairfield (73): Gragg 3 1-2 7, Setty 2 0-0 4, Willey 2 0-0 5, Ayres 7 4-4 19, Beatty 1 0-0 2, Saunders 0 0-2 0, Bentley 6 1-2 13, Buddelmeyer 9 5-6 23, Team 30 11-16 73.
Manchester (48): Gould 4 0-1 8, Lucas 1 0-0 3, Pennywitt 0 2-2 2, Combs 5 2-2 11, Francis 0 2-2 2, Utterback 2 2-2 8, James 1 0-0 2, Dryden 1 0-0 3, Calvert 2 2-2 6, Team 16 10-11 48.
Fairfield (2): Willey 1, Ayres 1
Manchester (6): Lucas 1, Combs 2, Utterback 2, Dryden 1