Manchester’s Mavericks defeated Greenville Christian School 45-37 in overtime on Tuesday night to avenge their loss from earlier in the season.
The win brought Manchester’s conference record up to 4-2 on the season.
According to Manchester head coach Jacob Isles, the deciding factor was his team’s ability to make their free throws.
“We scored some layups in overtime to go up, and then we won the game on free throws,” Isles said. “We hit every free throw in overtime. We went 13-for-19 for the game, and that was big for us. That really put them in a bind when they were trying to play catch up.”
Isles’ Mavericks kicked things off with a hot start, outscoring GCS 14-6.
The Saints woke up in the second quarter and outscored the Mavs 11-10 to make it a 24-17 game at the half.
In the second half, Manchester’s scoring plummeted. They were only able to score four points in the third quarter and four in the fourth quarter.
But their defense held firm, holding the Saints to nine points and six points in the third and fourth quarters, respectively.
At the end of regulation, the score was tied at 32-32.
Overtime began with a few layups by Manchester and turned into a free throw shooting contest.
Manchester was perfect in it, leading to a 45-37 win.
Resiliency and consistency helped the Mavs pull through, something they struggled to have earlier in the season.
Isles believes it is all coming together for his team at just the right time.
“Earlier in the year, we would’ve lost that game,” Isles said. “Confidence is so big right now. We’re starting to play our best basketball. Now is the time. We have to put it all together. We have to put our failures and losses in the past and worry about our opportunities.”
Upton Hitt and Parks Poe tied for the lead in points for Manchester with 11 each. Poe had four rebounds, an assist, a blocked shot, and a steal, while Hitt had five rebounds and a steal.
Hayes Bardwell put up a double-double, scoring 10 points and hauling in 11 rebounds to go with seven blocks, an assist, and a steal.
Chris Guthrie scored seven points, brought in three rebounds, blocked two shots, and got a steal.
For a few reasons, the win was huge.
Rising up the conference rankings was the first reason.
“The win for us was big for a couple of different reasons,” Isles said. “The 2-4 teams will be very close together at the end of the season, and this win gave us a chance. GCS beat us on our home court, and we came here and stole one back. We have the opportunity to do the same to St. Joe, who beat us by six at home.”
The other reason was more nuanced.
Isles felt that getting a feel for the court they would play on in the district tournament could pay big dividends later.
“Another reason the win was so big is that it was on the floor where the district tournament will be held,” Isles said. “We’re leaving there knowing we can play there, and there’s a chance we see Greenville Christian in the tournament. We know we can face that task.”
Manchester will travel on Tuesday night to face rival Tri-County Academy in a massive conference game.
Tip-off is set for approximately 7:30 p.m.