25-8 third quarter sends Coal Grove to the district tournament –
By Mark Carpenter –
A tumultuous 2017-18 season came to a close on Feb. 27 for the Manchester Greyhounds in a Division IV sectional final played at Northwest High School. After knocking off Portsmouth Notre Dame in the sectional semis, the Hounds faced off with the #1 seeded Coal Grove Hornets in the sectional title game, and for a half it looked like the upstart blue and gold could pull off an upset, but when Coal Grove scored the first 14 points of the second half, the Manchester fortunes changed.
The Hornets used that big run to build a cushion that never went away as they out an end to the Manchester season, pulling away for the 61-39 win and the sectional championship.
“Our game plan was to challenge them defensively and we did that in the first half,” said Manchester Coach Josh Reaves. “We just kind of left it in the locker room the second half.”
“Coal Grove has some nice players and they were a handful. We had really worked on some of the things that we knew they would do. I thought we had it covered in the first half but in the second half we kind of lost it.”
It was a season where the Hounds lost their first head coach, then didn’t have an official head coach the rest of the season, though Reaves stepped into a tough situation and navigated the squad through the remainder of the season. On Tuesday night, the Hounds played inspired basketball for the first half, especially on the defensive end, holding the Hornet to just 19 points through two quarters, but the proverbial roof caved in the second half and dashed the hopes of the Hounds and their faithful.
Manchester stayed close in the first quarter with a classic display of long distance shooting, getting a quarter of three pointers, two from gage Lucas, and one each from Jamie Combs and Jamie Utterback to sting the favored Hornets and take a 15-10 lead after the first eight minutes.
The Greyhounds could only muster six points in the second period, but their zone defense continued to puzzle the Hornets. Coal Grove scored the final four points of the first half that sent them to the break deadlocked with the Hounds at 21 apiece.
The halftime break must have been just what the Hornets needed to get their motors buzzing as they came out with a vengeance and reeled off 14 in a ro, a run that included a three-point play from Sam Angelo, who led all scorers with 20 points, and a three-pointer by Corey Borders and in the blink of an eye, the scoreboard read 35-21 Coal Grove. A bucket by the Hounds’ Ethan Pennywitt at the 4:38 mark finally broke the run, but the Hornets continued to fly and forged a 46-29 lead after three quarters.
The Hounds got a trey from Utterback on their first fourth quarter possession , but any hopes of a miracle comeback were doused when Coal Grove went on a 9-0 run that gave them the commanding 55-33 advantage.
Both teams emptied their benches late in the game and the final points of the Manchester season came on a pair of Isaiah Redmon free throws as the Hornets moved on to district play at Ohio University with the 61-39 triumph.
The winning Hornets were paced by Angelo’s 20 points, with Aaron Music adding 20. Manchester placed two players in double figured, Gage Lucas leading the way with 14, with Utterback adding 10. Jamie Combs scored 9 in his final game as a Greyhound, as the team bids farewell to seniors Combs, Lucas, Pennywitt, Utterback, Jalen James, and Logan Francis.
“The seniors really worked hard for us all season,” said Coach Reaves. “They’re good athletes and even better kids.”
15 6 8 10 –39
10 11 25 15 –61
Manchester (39): Lucas 5 2-7 14, Pennywitt 1 0-0 2, Combs 3 2-2 9, Redmon 0 2-2 2, Utterback 4 0-1 10, Calvert 1 0-1 2, Team 14 6-13 39.
Coal Grove (61): Music 5 3-4 13, Borders 2 1-2 6, Case 2 1-2 5, Jones 4 0-0 8, McKenzie 2 3-4 7, Angelo 8 3-3 20, Roman 1 0-1 2, Team 24 11-16 61.
Manchester (5): Lucas 2, Combs 1, Utterback 2
Coal Grove 92): Borders 1, Angelo 1