Dodge City, KS (westernkansasnews.com) Three of the four teams that played Saturday at the Dodge City Fieldhouse were ranked teams. Manhattan came in with a swagger sweeping both the girls and boys championships at the Hays Shootout last weekend. The Dodge City girls were 2-0 and with a win the boys could impress everyone by beating a team that won Manhattan’s first ever Centennial League championship just a year ago.
While the Indians were taken to the brink each game, they found a way to pull though in the fourth quarter to sweep the girls game 50-39 and the boys 67-49.
Defense was the name of the game in the girls’ first half. Both teams were limited to just 19 percent from the field. Dodge received a spark from their ability to hit 8-10 from the free throw line to tie the game at 16 going into halftime.
In the second half, the offense’s took over and Manhattan used a pair of 17 point quarters to seal up an 11 point win. The Indians played tough off the boards gaining a 41-28 rebound advantage and 15-10 on the offensive boards. Manhattan also closed out on an 8-0 run to end the game after Dodge City pulled to 3 down following Kaylyn Maple’s bucket with 1:41 left.
In the first half Dodge City owned the advantage at the free throw line, but after halftime Manhattan turned the tables from the stripe. The Indians went 11 of 13 from the line for 85 percent in the second half and finished at 15 of 19 for the game. Dodge only managed three free throws in the second half and hit one of them. Manhattan found solid footing offensively hitting 55 percent of their shots at 11-20. The Red Demons picked it up a bit, but were held to 9-25 from the field for 36 percent in the second half.
Manhattan’s Gigi McAtee scored 20 points going 5 of 16 from the field and 8 of 10 from the free throw line. Madison Mittie scored 11 points and added seven rebounds. Josie Hilgers played strong off the glass with seven rebounds of her own, four offensive boards.
Dodge City could not get a player into double figures. Jessie Harshberger who scored a season low five at Woodward led the Red Demons with 9 connecting on two threes. Taylor Nichols had eight points and Bailey Shelor added eight rebounds. There were eight ties and nine lead changes in the game.
Post-game comments DCHS Girls Coach Kelley Snodgrass
On to the boys where Dodge City fell behind early 21-12 a minute into the second quarter only to chip away and make it 27-22 at half. Manhattan shot well in the first half at 43%, but they saved their best for the the third and fourth quarters going 12/18 from the field and 4/6 from beyond the arc.
The key sequence came late in the third quarter when Zach Francis three made it a four point game. After a careless turnover on the inbound with three seconds left from Dodge City, the Indians cashed in as Tommy Ekart connected on a three pointer from the left wing as the buzzer sounded. Within about a matter of second the lead went from one to seven for the Indians.
Dodge City attempted a comeback and cut it down to 45-43 deficit with 5:17 left when Dayton McGroarty scored three of his 17. After a timeout Francis hit his second three of the game and from that point on thanks to execution on the offense end and icing their free throws, Manhattan pulled away for an 18 point win.
Three players reached double figures for the Indians. Grant Munsen went 6-9 from the field in scoring a dozen, Gabe Awbrey and Tommy Ekart had 11 each. Ekart was a perfect 3 of 3 in his three point attempts. Manhattan also spread the wealth with a 31-24 advantage on the boards, but no one had more than four rebounds total in the game.
Dodge City was paced by McGroarty with 17 and Eric Reid in his most significant minutes of the year after rebounding from a shoulder injury he had in the Hatchet game with Garden City scored 11 points in 26 minutes.
Post-game Comments from DCHS Boys Coach Dennis Hamilton
The Red Demons are back on the road Friday night as they travel to Goddard Eisenhower. Pre-game coverage begins at 5:45, girls tip at 6 and boys at 7:30 on Z98 and westernkansasnews.com. Dodge City will wrap up the calendar year Saturday at the Fieldhouse against Stanton County.