Manhattan advances to Invite semifinals

By Steve Sell
January 22, 2015
Kendall Shaw

The Manhattan Indians are right where they want to be.

The No. 2 seed basically controlled Thursday's McPherson Invitational opener with tourney newbie Mill Valley by capturing a 63-50 victory, their eighth in nine games this year.

Manhattan, the Invitational champion in 2002 and 2008, will play Shawnee Mission East at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.

"They (Shawnee Mission East) did a good job playing that zone defense today against Blue Valley West. Blue Valley West had some trouble with it," first-year Manhattan coach Benji George said. "We're going to have to be ready for their zone. They've got some long kids. They're long and kind of athletic, kind of like the kids we have. It's definitely going to be a challenge and we're going to have to be ready for it. We've talked about it a ton. We've put ourselves on the right side of the bracket now where it's going to be a fun experience."

The Indians, spurred on by their second team that provided some early energy as George said his starters came out tight, rocketed to a 25-10 lead before the Jaguars adjusted to their new surroundings to shave the deficit to 33-24 by the half.

Mill Valley was able to melt the advantage to two, 37-35, but the Indians closed the third quarter with a rush to lead 47-37 and the Jaguars never applied any serious heat.

Pierson McAtee and Gabe Awbrey led the Indians with 17 points apiece and Garrett Francis scored 13, including 3 of 3 from 3-point.

Clayton Holmberg had a double-double for Mill Valley with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Logan Koch added 12 points. The Jaguars took 23 of their 48 shots from 3-point and were actually quite proficient by making 11.

Manhattan (63) — Ekart 1-5, 0-0, 3; Dillon 0-1, 0-0, 0; Francis 3-4, 4-4, 13; Hudgins 2-5, 0-2, 4; Munsen 2-2, 1-2, 5; Awbrey 5-10, 6-8, 17; McAtee 4-14, 7-9, 17; Gritton 1-2, 2-2, 4; Osterman 0-3, 0-0, 0. Totals — 18-46, 20-27, 63. 3-pointers — Francis 3, McAtee 2, Ekart 1, Awbrey 1.

Mill Valley (53) — Koch 5-13, 1-1, 12; Con. Kaifes 0-1, 0-0, 0; Conklin 0-4, 2-2, 2; Co. Kaifes 2-4, 1-2, 7; Widmer 2-8, 0-0, 6; Lane 2-3, 0-0, 5; Holmberg 5-7, 3-4, 14; Grauer 1-5, 3-3, 5; Jenkins 1-2, 0-0, 2. Totals — 18-47, 10-12, 53. 3-pointers — Co. Kaifes 2, Widmer 2, Koch 1, Lane 1, Holmberg 1.


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