Mark Carpenter/The Peopleís Defender
Manchester senior center Braxton Gaffin goes high in the air to snag this rebound during action from last Friday night at Eastern High School. Gaffin scored 7 points as the Greyhounds feel to the Eastern Warriors 54-32 in SHAC play.
Mark Carpenter/The Peopleís Defender
Manchesterís Tyler Brummett (#11) goes up and over an Eastern defender looking to draw the charge call during action on Saturday night at Manchester High School. In a 54-32 defeat, Brummett led the Greyhounds with 9 points.
Depleted Greyhounds drop 54-32 decision to Eastern
Coming off a game at Ripley that Coach Aaron Lockhart deemed a "poor effort", the Manchester Greyhounds returned home Friday night to face another daunting task. A depleted roster, due to injuries and academic issues, plus the once-beaten Eastern Warriors on the opposite bench turned Homecoming into a tough night for the home team.
Though the effort was back on Friday night, the talent and experience disparity was too much for the Hounds to overcome as the Warriors were in control throughout and kept their hold on first place in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference with a 54-32 victory.
"We had to deal with the cards we were dealt tonight," said Lockhart after the game. "We had to put people in unfamiliar positions and roles but overall the effort was there. We played hard but Eastern is just an exceptionally good basketball team this year."
The depleted Hounds managed to keep the game close for the first few minutes. After falling behind 7-2, the Hounds got a pair of Tyler Brummett free throws but that was as close as the home team could get for the rest of the night.
The Warriors finished the first quarter on a 13-4 run to increase their three point lead to a 20-8 advantage after eight minutes.
The second quarter began with Eastern's Chase Lawson hitting a three and after the Hounds got a Braxton Gaffin foul shot, Eastern rattled off the next six to move out to a huge 29-9 lead. Manchester's Sean Frost drained a three but the talented Warriors again ran off six in a row to finish off a dominating first half that sent them to the locker room on top 35-12.
Even though the scoreboard didn't reflect it, the Hounds were putting together one of their best efforts of the year , just against overwhelming odds. On offense, the Greyhounds were quite patient facing an always stingy Eastern defense and though most of the Eastern shots were falling, the visitors were forced to work on each possession.
"We knew we could control what we did on defense tonight," added Lockhart. "I thought that our defensive hustle and effort was very good in the second half."
A pair of Cole Hensley free throws began the second half but the Warriors strung together a 9-0 run late in a relatively low scoring third quarter and when Frost got the last bucket, the two teams headed for the fourth with Eastern up 46-17.
The Greyhounds put together their best eight minutes of the night in the fourth stanza, outscoring the Warriors 15-8. Though Eastern coach Rob Beucler substituted freely, the Hounds still showed some resilience with their fourth quarter effort.
Frost hit another trey with 5:25 to go and two buckets on the inside by Gaffin made up a 7-0 spurt for the blue and gold. The Hounds them finished the game on a 6-2 run, getting two baskets from Austin Hughes and another from Jordan Freeman, making the final 54-32 in favor of the Warriors.
For the victorious Eastern squad, it was senior Chase Lawson topping all scores with 17 points, followed by teammate Nathan Scott with 14. Eastern was 52% from the field, hitting 23 of 44.
For Manchester, no one reached double figures and of the six players on the scoring column, Tyler Brummett was tops with 9 points. Next in line was Sean Frost with 8 and Braxton Gaffin with 7. The Greyhounds shot just 31% from the field for the game, connecting on just 12 of 39 attempts.
The defeat dropped the young Greyhounds to 4-10 on the year (1-6 SHAC) and was their fifth loss in a row. Coach Lockhart and his troops looked to right the ship last night but faced the daunting task of the always difficult road trip to Fairfield. On Friday, the Hounds will be looking to avenge a December defeat when they again hop on the bus and head to Fayetteville.