Senior guard nails seven treys in 53-47 win over Notre Dame –
By Mark Carpenter –
Earlier in this decade, it was a familiar sight to see the Manchester Greyhounds on the brackets for a sectional championship game, but lately that hasn’t been the case. That will change now as the Hounds earned a spot in the Division IV sectional finals by virtue of a hard-fought 53-47 win over Portsmouth Notre Dame, on Feb. 20 in a game played at Northwest High School.
The story of this game came off the Manchester bench in the form of senior guard Tanner Utterback, who didn’t start the contest, but when he entered the game, put on a long-distance shooting exhibition. Utterback nailed seven three-point goals in the game, which accounted for all of his game-high 21 points in the Greyhounds’ victory. Toss in 15 points from teammate Jamie Combs and some strong overall play by the team’s defense and it all added up to a return trip to Northwest next week.
“When we decided we were going to sit down and play some good defense, that kept us in the game,” said Manchester head coach Josh Reaves. “It’s good to have Tanner back after he suffered an injury about four weeks ago. We brought him off the bench tonight and he put up some great numbers.”
The Tuesday night matchup between the eight and nine seeds was expected to be a tight one, and it lived up to that, seeing three ties and 12 lead changes. The Hounds took an early 5-2 lead on a Combs three, but that was followed by a 6-0 Notre Dame run that put the Titans in front. The lead flipped again before the first quarter closed as two Shaun Gould free throws and a bucket by Gage Lucas made it 9-8 Manchester after one.
A three-point play by ND’s Ben Mader put the Titans back on top, but then Utterback decided to light it up for the Hounds. After he hit his first three of the second quarter to give the Hounds the lead, his second trey tied the game at 15 and his third put Manchester back up 18-17.
Combs chimed in on the act with a three ball of his own to begin an 8-0 run for the Hounds, that included Utterback’s fourth trey of the period, and that put Manchester up 28-19 late in the first half. Notre Dame got a three-pointer in the final seconds from Caleb Nicholes to pull back within six points at the half.
A Combs three early in the third quarter gave the Hounds a 31-24 lead but a quick 5-0 Titans run closed the gap to a single basket. Back to back buckets by Gould and another Utterback triple made up a 7-0 run that extended the Manchester advantage to nine points at 38-29. Utterback’s sixth three of the game came with 1:15 left in the third period and sent the two teams to the final eight minutes with the Hounds on top 41-33.
That lead vanished quickly when the Titans blew out of the fourth quarter gate with a 7-0 spurt, getting back to back threes from Tyler Speas and Jackson Clark and suddenly it was a one-point game again. A pair of Jacob Calvert free throws gave the Hounds some breathing room but Notre Dame quickly bolted back in front on baskets by Speas and Mader to lead 44-43, but soon after, the Hounds took the lead for good, and again using the long distance bomb, as threes from Utterback and Combs made it 49-44 Manchester with 3:31 to play.
After a Notre Dame miss, the Hounds went into stall mode on offense and then got a huge play from Gould, when the junior center grabbed a rebound on a missed free throw and put it back in to increase the lead to five with 2:01 left. A Mader trey closed the gap with 1:23 to go, and Combs was fouled with 48.7 seconds to play. He missed the front end of the bonus but Gould again came up with a big play, taking a charge on the defensive end to give the ball back to his team.
After both teams turned the ball over in a matter of about five seconds, Combs was again fouled and this time hit one of two from the stripe. The Titans missed three shots on their next offensive trip and when Lucas was fouled and hit one free throw with 3.7 seconds to go, the Greyhounds had clinched their sixth win of the season by the final count of 53-47.
“Our seniors really stepped it up for us at the end of the game,” said Coach Reaves. “You have to hand it to Notre Dame, they are a young team but they really battled.”
Utterback’s 21 led the Greyhounds, followed by Combs with 15. Gould scored 8 and provided his usual steady work on defense and on the glass. Lucas added 7 and though he didn’t score, senior point guard Ethan Pennywitt did an outstanding job handling the Manchester offense, while Jacob Calvert was again strong on the boards. The Hounds hit 11 three-point goals in the win.
Notre Dame was led in scoring by Mader’s 19 points, with Speas adding 12.
Next up for the Greyhounds is a Feb. 27 sectional final match up with #1 seed Dawson Bryant (Coal Grove). That contest will be played at Northwest High School with a 6:15 p.m. tip off.
“We will get to work right away and be ready to get after it,” added Reaves.
8 14 11 14 –47
9 19 13 12 –53
N. Dame (47): Mader 7 3-3 19, Shipp 4 0-0 8, Clark 2 0-0 5, Nicholes 1 0-0 3, Speas 4 3-4 12, Team 18 6-7 47.
Manchester (53): Gould 3 2-3 8, Lucas 3 1-2 7, Combs 5 1-4 15, Utterback 7 0-0 21, Calvert 0 2-2 2, Team 18 6-11 53.
N. Dame (5): Mader 2, Clark 1, Nicholes 1, Speas 1
Manchester (11): Combs 4, Utterback 7