By: Seth Kinker, email@example.com
The Manchester Flying Dutchmen Boys Basketball season came to an end yesterday at Manchester High School. They fell in the District title game to fellow Cascades Conference member Napoleon Pirates by a final score of 61-49.
The Dutchmen see the Pirates twice a year in league play, this year the Pirates had won the Dec. 21 matchup (45-37) at Napoleon as well as the Feb. 7 matchup at Manchester (62-52).
Coming into Friday, Manchester Interim Head Coach Will Bennett said the Dutchmen wanted to spread the Pirates out, that the advantage lied in a matchup between junior center Devon Kelly and Pirate senior center Ty Rose.
“We felt like Devon was quicker than Ty off the dribble so we wanted to spread them out and go at them off the dribble,” said Bennett. “Even with our guards, we wanted our guards to be able to attack, but there came a time when we just sucked ourselves inside and congested the paint.”
The Pirates led 17-9 after the first quarter with a balanced attacked, five players scored led by senior guard Darren Hampton and junior guard Collin Bradley with five points apiece.
At halftime, the Dutchmen trailed 31-20 as the Pirates stretched the Dutchmen zone with outside shooting and outrebounding the Dutchmen on both ends of the floor.
Halftime adjustments for the Dutchmen including putting sophomore forward Braeden Caszatt onto the floor to allow Kelly to look for his jump shot, he had 14 points in the second half including pull up jumpers in the lane and even hit from deep.
“Defensively we tried the 1-3-1 straight out of the gate to try to make them make their own mistakes trying to throw over the top of us and they hit a couple really deep threes to get started and that momentum hit,” said Bennett. “We weathered the storm, it’s like I told them, ‘We took a punch, we just can’t allow them to keep us down.’ We were able to battle back and we kept it to a ten point game for most of the time until the third quarter.”
The backbreaker came at the end of the third quarter, after a three-pointer from Pirate sophomore Tyler Owen and a Manchester turnover, Hampton laid the ball in right before the buzzer giving the Pirates a 46-31 lead.
In the fourth quarter, the Dutchmen made one last push, a 15-4 run capped off by a pull-up jumper from sophomore guard Ty Horky to cut the Pirate lead to 53-45 with 2:37 left.
Wiley responded on the next possession for the Pirates to push the Pirates lead back to ten and the Pirates would close the game at the free throw line for the 61-49 victory and District title.
Sans the last fourth quarter push the Pirates seemed to have an answer whenever the Dutchmen tried to make a run to get back in the game.
“It was a very physical game,” said Bennett. “The referees let us play, they were just a little bit stronger than us tonight. When the referees let them play, they’re tough to guard.That Carter Wiley just is a difference maker. He’s got a motor and he never stops, we had to match that intensity and we just didn’t tonight. We had so many shots that just didn’t fall for us, I think a couple of those fall for us and it’s a different story fourth quarter.”
Kelly led the Dutchmen with 20 points and Horky added 19.
Despite the loss, Bennett said he was proud of the seniors for not giving up and for setting an example for the rest of the team. He also spoke about his hopes to remove the interim tag from his title.
“I hope our juniors learned something tonight and are able to feed off this for next year. We’ve got a lot of work to do this summer,” said Bennett. “I’m gonna work hard. I’m gonna interview for it, and work hard. I hope I get an opportunity because I would love to coach these young men. They’re a great group of boys and they feed off of emotion and it’s’ a joy to be a part of this family.”