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Squires drop first TRC game of season

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

DENVER – In the finals seconds of a critical TRC girls’ basketball game, Manchester had two cracks at either tying or taking the lead against North Miami.

Both possessions came up short, preventing the Squires from completing a tremendous comeback in a 47-43 loss to the Warriors.

Manchester head coach Jake Everett said the team played well in the second half but didn’t have the first half needed to win the game.

“We’ve played a few games here in a row where we haven’t been able to put together four quarters,” Everett said. “We’ve talked to the girls about executing for a full game because that’s what it takes to beat good teams.

“North Miami is a good team this year and they did a lot of good things. We struggled with turnovers and their length but we did much better in the second half.”

The Squires fought from behind most of the game thanks in no small part to a first half to forget.

Sydney Day started off the game well for Manchester, scoring six points in the opening period but the visitors had little answer for the size advantage North Miami brought to the table.

The Warriors built up a 10-8 first quarter lead thanks to their advantage in the post.

Continued pounding in the paint eventually paid off in the second quarter as the hosts were sent to the foul line five times and connected on 8-of-10 attempts.

Meanwhile, Manchester’s offense was completely out of sorts, committing 10 turnovers in the second period while only managing a single Emma West free throw.

Simply getting shots away was an issue during the period, according to Everett.

“We only shot the ball four times at the basket in the quarter,” Everett noted. “We didn’t make the correct passes, rushed passes or through passes over the top of the defense and our own hands.

“It was a lot of little things execution-wise that we didn’t do well in the second quarter.”

The result was a 22-9 Warrior lead at halftime, though Everett said the team understood it was not out of the game by any stretch.

“We told them it was only a 13-point game,” Everett said. “We needed to claw our way back, get it to a six or seven point game after the third quarter and we got close to that.”

Signs of life started to spring from Manchester at the start of the third quarter as the team began to trade baskets with North Miami, reducing the deficit to as close as five at 29-24 following an Erika Kendall jumper.

The Warriors scored the final four points of the quarter to take a 33-24 lead into the final period though Kennedy Fierstos knocked down a three to start the final quarter and cut the gap to six.

Again, the hosts stretched the lead out to 10 following baskets from Cailyn Bolser and Adria Hartley and countered another Fierstos three with a three-point play from Hartley.

Trailing 42-32, Manchester finally made the big push it was looking for beginning with free throws from Day and Kiera Hatfield.

Hartley scored at the other end but West added a free throw and back-to-back threes from Day and Fierstos cut the gap to 44-43 with just under a minute to play.

Everett said the pair helped spark the team down the stretch.

“Kennedy got us going with her threes,” Everett said. “Sydney played a lot of minutes, played very hard and willed us back into the game.

“There were a lot of good things in the fourth quarter.”

Hartley had a chance to increase the lead but missed the front end of a one-and-one and it looked initially as though the Squires would get a chance from the line following a foul on the rebound.

Fierstos, however, was marginally out of her zone on the line before the foul shot, so Hartley got another chance to shoot.

Yet again, the North Miami junior missed, setting up Manchester for a chance to take the lead.

Three shots went up and none connected with Cailyn Bolser scoring at the other end to stretch the lead to 46-43.

Day fired up another three at the other end that was well off target and Caily Bolser knocked down one-of-two free throws at the other end to seal the deal.

With the defeat, Manchester now sits with Northfield, Rochester and Tippecanoe Valley on one loss in conference play with Wabash and North Miami both holding two losses.

The Squires host Peru Wednesday with a win needed to keep pace in the TRC race.

Everett noted many of the challenges the team faced Saturday would be present again against the Tigers.

“Peru does a lot of good stuff,” Everett said. “They have a lot of size and use that to their advantage, so we have to come back to practice and work on defensive rebounding.

“We need to make sure we own the spot on defense and push the ball in transition, something we did well Saturday and will look to do against Peru.”

At North Miami

Manchester 8 1 15 19 — 43

North Miami 10 12 11 14 — 47

Scoring

Manchester — Day 15, Fierstos 12, West 8, Ke. Hatfield 4, Ki. Hatfield 2, Kendall 2, Cripe 0, Bazzoni 0

North Miami — Hartley 15, Cy. Bolser 11, Cn. Bolser 8, Keim 7, Tinney 2, Freeman 2, Hall 2, Kraning 0

Next Game: Manchester (8-9, 4-1 TRC) hosts Peru (4-11, 2-3 TRC) Wednesday at 6:15 p.m.