Manchester girls focused on conference title in blowout win
The Manchester High School girls basketball team started the season 7-0. The streak was enough to grab the attention of the Michigan Associated Press, as the Flying Dutch received votes in the state rankings.
Being in contention for the Cascades Conference title seemed a foregone conclusion.
But consecutive losses to Michigan Center and Grass Lake at the turn of the New Year greatly decreased the likelihood of that happening.
To even have a chance at the conference title, Manchester will likely have to win out. Which is why in a 49-8 win over Vandercook Lake on Thursday, the game ending in a jump-ball situation with Manchester players still fighting for possession was no surprise to players.
“We were up by a lot in the games that we lost and we didn’t give it our all (in the second half),” said McKenna Erkfritz, who led all scorers with 13 points on Thursday. “We go out in the second half now and act like we already lost.”
With a 25-5 halftime lead, acting was the only way Manchester (10-2, 7-2) could fathom a loss to Vandercook Lake (3-10, 0-9) on Thursday.
Despite the huge lead, Manchester came out in the third quarter with no let up whatsoever, going on a 15-0 run before the Jayhawks got on the board. Manchester shot an efficient 64.2 percent (9-of-14) from the field in the third quarter.
“Good shot selection too, that’s what hurt us in our two losses, which was we tried to force things instead of allowing things to happen and develop,” said Manchester coach Cori Kastel.
Kastel was encouraged to see her players diving to the floor for loose balls -- six times in the fourth quarter alone -- despite a running clock and the game being well in hand.
“We have to play our style of basketball, it doesn’t matter who we play, we play the same way,” Kastel said. “If we’re up 40, if we’re down 40 they’ve gotta give that same kind of effort.”
Taylor Manders was the only other Dutch player in double digits in scoring with 12 points.
“Our main goal this year is to win conference; after those two losses, especially to Michigan Center, it was a reality check,” Manders said. “We have to go out like this is our last game.”
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For Washtenaw County high school swimming, wrestling, and competitive cheer results from Thursday night, check out MLive.com's Ann Arbor region page.