Manchester 61, Triway 58
UNIONTOWN: It’s tough to beat a team three times. Just ask Manchester girls basketball coach Tucker Pappas.
His defending Lake Division II district champion Panthers hung on Thursday to defeat PAC-7 rival Triway and will meet Norton at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Lake High School for the district title.
“That was a good game,” Pappas said. “I knew they were going to play zone and that’s all we did yesterday in practice. We came out and hit three 3-pointers early, but [Triway coach B.J. Sanderson] stuck with his game plan.”
The game was decided at the free-throw line where Manchester (22-3) made 19-of-26 compared to 15-of-31, including 5-of-17 in the fourth quarter, for Triway.
“If we make free throws, we win the game,” Sanderson said. “Our kids battled and played extremely hard.”
Manchester junior point guard Kayci Krzynowek connected on three 3-pointers and 12-of-15 from the foul line on her way to a game-high 23 points.
“I’ve always played up, ever since I was little,” said Krzynowek, with an ice bag strapped to her shoulder. “I’m ready to take on that responsibility. I’m ready to lead my team to victory.”
The Panthers rallied from a 33-26 halftime deficit and finished the game with 10 3-point baskets. Junior Karley Dougherty’s 3-pointer capped a 13-4 run to start the third quarter and gave Manchester a 39-37 lead.
Triway (19-6) stayed in contention, thanks in large measure to 5-foot-10 freshman Sara Skeens, who scored 18 points.
“That Skeens is unbelievable,” Pappas said. “We couldn’t guard her.”
Manchester carried a 47-42 lead into the fourth quarter but Triway cut it to 58-55 on a banked 3-pointer by senior Hannah Marcum with 52 seconds left.
“Tucker knows me and I know Tucker,” Sanderson said. “We had a game plan and we stuck to it. Our kids were poised and confident.”
Dougherty (15 points) sank two clutch free throws and sophomore Alex Klein (14 points) one of two in the final 47 seconds to keep the Titans at bay.
Norton 47, Fairless 33
The clock struck midnight Thursday for the Cinderella Falcons.
After stunning No. 1 seed Archbishop Hoban last week in a sectional title game, Fairless was no match for Norton’s Panthers and leader Cara Cook.
Cook a 5-9 senior had 20 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three steals as Norton (17-7) jumped out 7-0 and led wire-to-wire in securing a berth in Saturday’s Lake Division II district title game.
“I feel like we played well, but not to the best of our ability,” said Cook, who was a contributor on Norton’s 2011 district championship team, along with senior Jaclyn Fortner and junior Brooke Robinson.
“Coaching is easy when you’ve got good players,” Norton coach Brian Miller said. “Every one of these kids has come through our youth program.”
Norton had a 21-10 halftime lead and Cook’s 12 points at the break were more than what Fairless could produce.
“Offensively, we couldn’t get into a rhythm,” said Fairless coach Lindsey Gaut, a former Fairless star and collegiate player at Ashland. “We just got outplayed tonight.”
Senior Maggie Rush and freshman Ally Leeman each had eight points for Fairless (11-14).