The Manawa boys’ basketball team finished as consolation champions at the Almond-Bancroft Holiday Tournament held Thursday and Friday, Dec. 27- 28.
Thursday evening despite trailing by as many as 13 points the Wolves narrowed the gap to three points several times during the final quarter but couldn’t get over the hump and dropped a 51-44 decision to Almond-Bancroft. Friday evening the Wolves also found themselves trailing by 13 points but this time they were able to rally to defeat Northland Lutheran 79-78.
Manawa 79, Northland Lutheran 78
The Northland Lutheran Wildcats, with their run and gun offense opened the game with an 8-2 lead before Dean and Wesley Krause drained two three-pointers apiece and were tied at 15 at the end of one quarter. Tim Venus knocked down three treys during the second quarter to put Northland Lutheran up 35-26 at halftime.
Manawa’s defense forced 10 third quarter turnovers and trailed by only five points entering the final quarter.
A wild fourth quarter followed as the teams combined for 56 points including 31 by the Wolves. With each possession the Wolves slowly crept closer to taking the lead. Bartels lay in and steal and lay in gave the Wolves the lead at 72-70 with 2:22 left to play.
The Wildcats tied the game at 72 only to see the Wolves take the lead for good on Bartel’s basket and Krauss’s three-pointer for a 77-72 lead with 1:10 left to play. Northland pulled to within two at 78-76 with 18.8 seconds to play.
Logan Hass canned one of his two free throws and the Wildcats called time out to setup their three point shooters. Their three-point attempt fell short and with no time showing on the clock the Wolves appeared to have a victory. But Bartel fouled the shooter who stepped to the line for three shots. He calmly drained the first two and his third attempt hit the rim and bounced away, giving Manawa the 79-78 victory.
Krauss led the Wolves with 26 points including five three-pointers and Alex Thompson added a career high with 16 points.
Almond-Bancroft 51, Manawa 44
The Eagles took advantage of a listless Manawa team as they quickly opened an 11-2 lead with 3:51 left in the first quarter. After a pep talk by coach Karl Morrin between quarters, the Wolves opened the second quarter with a 6-0 run paced by Aaron Strebe’s two baskets and found themselves down by four at 17-13. Evan Pagel knocked down a three-pointer to end the run.
Brandon Bartel and Austin Dean came back with baskets and pulling Manawa to within two at 20-18 with 4:24 left in the first half. Pagel knocked down another three-pointer and the Eagles finished the half with a 7-0 run and a 27-18 halftime lead.
Almond-Bancroft opened the second half with a 7-2 run sparked by another Pagel three to open their largest lead of the game at 34-21 with 4:43 left forcing the Wolves to call a time out. Following the timeout the Wolves reeled of ten unanswered points as they pulled to within three at 34-31 with 6:27 left to play.
On three different occasions the Wolves trailed by three only to see the Eagles hit key free throws down the strech to secure the victory. The Eagles finished 10 of 14 from the charity stripe during the final two and one half minutes.
Dean led the Wolves with 11 points.
On Thursday, Jan. 3, Manawa travels to Iola to take on the T-Birds.