Manchester Academy’s boys basketball team improved to 4-3 on the year and 1-0 in the district after trouncing St. Al 52-45 during the Thanksgiving break.
With a .500 record and an early chance to gain momentum in the conference, the Mavericks successfully put a notch in the win column.
Jay Warren led the Mavericks with 14 points in the win.
Matt Liddon was right behind Warren with 13 points in the winning effort.
Manchester Academy head basketball coach John Harris thinks his team’s season will be defined by his aforementioned guards.
“I think we’re playing pretty well right now,” Harris said. “We’re led by our two guards, Matt Liddon and Jay Warren, and we’ll go as far as they can take us. We go as they go, and they’ve played well so far.”
Mark Peaster added 11 points down in the post to round out the top three in scoring.
Although his guards will lead them, Harris believes he will have to get Peaster going down low for his team to reach its full potential.
“Mark Peaster has done a really good job for us in the post so far,” Harris said. “He’s really improved this year. He’s a guy we can throw it down to and let him score. We need to make sure we get him the ball enough.”
The Mavericks have two seniors this year in Peyton Saxton and Michael Hughes, and one’s injury has allowed the other to receive increased playing time.
“Peyton got hurt against Canton Academy,” Harris said. “He’s out indefinitely for now. He’s a leader and a defensive presence, and he hits open shots when we need them. He told me that he thinks he can play this week, so we’ll see. It’s up in the air right now. Michael Hughes has stepped in and played really well in that spot.”
His team now has a winning district record, but Harris feels that the big conference battles are yet to come.
“Riverfield Academy and Central Hinds are definitely the top two teams in our district,” Harris said. “Riverfield has had their coach forever, and he’s very well-respected. They’ve been winning and have put up some impressive scores. Central Hinds hung with Simpson, who is really good, and if they can hang with them, they can hang with anyone.”
Despite the daunting task in front of them, Harris still expects his team to compete.
“Our goal is to find a way to compete in the district and have a winning record,” Harris said. “We want to keep getting better and be in position to beat a Riverfield or a Central Hinds.”
The Mavericks will have a rematch with St. Al on Thursday.
Tip-off at St. Al is set for 4 p.m.