Western Tech girl basketball senior Tiffany Manning proved why she’s the school’s all-time leading scorer with 19 of her game-high 24 points coming in the second half of the host Wolverines’ 56-40 victory over Perry Hall (5-7).
With the score deadlocked at halftime, 18-18, Manning scored the first eight points in 100 seconds, on two three-pointers and a layup, to put the Wolverines (10-3) ahead, 26-18.
She added two more points in the third quarter and nine in the final stanza. The three-time All-County selection also had 10 rebounds and three steals.
Sophomore Destini Ward added 14 points and seven rebounds, senior Sydney Stokes had nine points and seven steals and Dyanai Matar added 10 rebounds and three steals for the winners.
“[Coach Alan Lagon] said great shooters just have to keep shooting, so I knew I had to keep shooting,” said Manning, who passed Sydney Compton as the all-time leading scorer and has over 1,300 points.
“In the first half, I know I wasn’t scoring as well as I usually do and I was just trying to rely on my teammates and let the game come to me in the second half and I knew I had to step up because I’m a senior.”
Perry Hall was led by Brenna Ellenberger, who scored eight of her team-high 14 points in the first half.
“I felt comfortable and I wasn’t rushing my shot which I sometimes do, I got into a little rhythm in the game and I just took the shot, ” Ellenberger said.
Lily Hines added 10 points for the Gators.
Manning left the game with 1:57 left in the third quarter because she had blood on her leg.
Perry Hall cut the margin to three, 31-28 while she was out, on a short jumper by Jordan Giansante and two free throws by Mary Tolentino with 1:26 left in the quarter.
Western Tech answered with a three-pointer by Ward and layup in traffic by 5-foot-5 Samara Jones.
Coach Lagon didn’t hesitate putting Jones in the middle in the 2-1-2 zone even though she is the smallest player on the team. “She really gives us a burst of speed and she catches people by surprise because she can jump out of her shoes.”
“She is one of the best athletes I’ve ever coached.”, said Lagon, who noted she is also on the outdoor track team and he coached her on the JV volleyball team.
Manning also appreciates her sophomore teammate and the rest of the squad.
“This year has been great relying on my teammates, I can trust them a lot,” said Manning, who came into the game averaging 18 points a game. “I just want to trust them in a game because I know I can’t do it by myself, so I have faith in them even when I’m on the court or when I’m off.”
When she returned in the fourth quarter, she helped continue a 14-0 run that gave them an insurmountable 17-point lead.
“I thought we played good defense, their inside game was good, but we shot poorly, we missed so many free throws and so many layups the whole game,” Lagon said. “I told the kids at halftime, we start making shots, we’ll pull away and that’s what happened.”
“One thing they have that we are still trying to get is, off the rebound they work so fast on that three-man fast break and they pass to the block, not the person, so each person running knows that one of the two people are going to get it,” Perry Hall coach Linda Caccavalla said. “We will have that fast break for us way before the playoffs, we know that.”
Lagon is just happy to know his defense will be around no matter what happens between now and during the playoffs.
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“We’ve really put a lot of emphasis on defense and it was a great example of that in the first half,” Lagon said. “Even though your shot may not be there, which it wasn’t in the first half, you can still play defense.”