MANHATTAN — Manhattan Christian College has its best men’s basketball team in years.
The Thunder certainly showed that on Monday against Central Christian College, but the Tigers still came away with a hard-earned 83-78 victory.
It was Central’s third straight win since a 1-3 start. It had to overcome a 15-point deficit for the victory.
“Winning is not always pretty," CCC coach Tony Romero said. "Sometimes it is ugly and that is how I would describe tonight. We came out and got hit in the mouth the first 15 minutes, clawed back and then came out the first 3 minutes the second half and got hit again."
The Tigers’ experience certainly helped them win this one.
"It was looking bleak," Romero said. “But our seniors stepped up and played like seniors down the stretch. The guys showed a lot of character and guts tonight, not easy being down double digits on the road. They just stuck with it and kept grinding."
Four Tigers hit for double figures, led by Kendric Warren and Michael Gholston with 14 points apiece and Warren also pulled down 14 rebounds to complete a double-double.
Sam Clayborn and Steve Kuming added 13 points apiece. Jubril Osagie, Daniel Nwosuh and Ernest Burton just missed double figures with 9 each.
The Tigers will play an exhibition game on Wednesday at Fort Hays State. McPherson High graduate Kyler Kinnamon starts for Fort Hays and former Bullpup Payton Stephens also is on the team.
CCC (83) — Warren 14, Gholston 14, Clayborn 13, Kuminga 13, Osagie 9, Nwosuh 9, Burton 9, Gaxiola 2.
Manhattan Christian (76) — McDonald 14, Turner 16, White 17, Babalola 15, Awbrey 11, Houston 3.
• CCC WOMEN 77, MANHATTAN CHRISTIAN 73 — Central’s women have their first winning streak of the year.
The Tigers won their second straight game as they put it away with some fine foul shooting.
Kelsey Grimaldo led the Tigers with 23 points, while Piper Kalthoff tallied 18 and Abbie Banks furnished 13.
"Very proud of the effort tonight,” said CCC coach Chris Honeck, whose team is now 3-5. “Manhattan is a tough place to win and we did a great job battling through everything. It was a bit sloppy at times, but that's to be expected when it's your seventh game in 11 days, and third in the last four. Overall, I am very pleased with how hard the girls fought — great performances across the board.”
The Tigers finally get some rest as they’re off until Friday when they travel to Bolivar, Mo., to play an exhibition game against Southwest Baptist University, which is led by former Hesston star Caylee Richardson.
CCC (77)— Grimaldo 23, Kalthoff 18, Banks 13, Rhoton 9, Glessner 5, Hearne 5, Floyd 4.
Manhattan Christian (73) — Wenger 6, Jennings 11, Briggs 23, Reynolds 4, Chaflant 23, Cathemer 4, Ryan 2.