Manchester Boys Basketball Advances to District Championship





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By: Seth Kinker, skinker@thesuntimesnews.com

Manchester junior center Devon Kelly gets one of his ten blocks against Sand Creek.

The Manchester Flying Dutchmen Boys Basketball team advanced to the district title game after defeating the Sand Creek Aggies in the semifinals yesterday night 57-37.

After losing a December matchup to the Aggies (65-58) the Dutchmen were facing a familiar opponent who they were even able to scout more, watching the Aggies on Monday defeat Clinton in the first round of district play.



Manchester Interim Head Coach Will Bennett didn’t see many new wrinkles and said the contest would be about energy, effort, and controlling the game from the tip.

The Dutchmen did just that, finishing the opening quarter with a 17-10 lead with six players scoring.

One early problem for the Dutchmen was foul trouble. Multiple players picked up two fouls in the first half resulting in quick subs for the Dutchmen.

Junior forward Reese Dresch picked up his second foul in the first quarter after being tasked with defending Aggies forward Travis Carson, who had 21 points in their first meeting.

“We wanted Reese on him,” said Bennett. “He’s by far our best ‘bigs’ defender. He slides his feet really well, he takes charges, and he absorbs contact. The issue is he got in foul trouble early in the first half so we needed other people to step up. We tried Calvin (Daniels) on him a little bit, he did a good job. Then Carson was smart and went to the post so we had to put Braeden and Devon on him. We didn’t want just one person, we wanted four or five people to be in his grill the whole game.”

After inserting Daniels into the starting line-up late in the season, Bennett moved him back to the bench against the Aggies and senior Paul Derheim got the start.

“I thought Calvin (Daniels) coming off the bench was a big difference. I changed the starting lineup because we wanted some energy and scoring coming off the bench,” said Bennett. “Paul (Derheim) can lock down anybody in the conference and he’s a fantastic perimeter defender. Paul is all about the team, leading, and defense. That’s what I needed him out there for, for our district game, because I wanted him to lead those other four guys. I wanted a senior on the court who could lead defensively, he did that.”

Junior center Devon Kelly had seven points in the second quarter to lead the Dutchmen and with 12.6 seconds remaining in the half he pulled up for a three-pointer, made it, and was fouled. He hit the free throw for the four point play to give the Dutchmen a 30-19 halftime lead.

After a third quarter in which both sides traded baskets, senior guard John Zigila hit a deep three-pointer at the end of the third quarter to keep the Dutchmen lead at 11 points, 42-31. Both teams scored 12 points in the third.

Bennett gave credit to junior guard River Spitler and sophomore guard Ty Horky for their ability to dribble, penetrate, and score or pass throughout the night that turned out to be the key factor for the Dutchmen.

They were able to take control of the game as a result of Spitler and Horky driving to the lane and drawing fouls, keeping key Aggies on the bench until it was too late.

With 6:48 remaining in the game, Kelly put the nail in the coffin when he won an offensive rebound, went right back up, made the layup, and was fouled. That made the score 47-32 and the Dutchmen would win 57-37.

Kelly notched a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and ten blocks and Daniels finished with 10 points, four rebounds, and two steals to lead the Dutchmen.

They play Napoleon for the District title on Friday night at 7 p.m.

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Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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