By Dustin Armbruster
Hays 42 – Manhattan 36
Wins sometimes come easy…sometimes it seems like even the rim wants you to lose. When trying to move to 11-0 on the season, at some point the wins don’t come easy. Friday night at the Dodge City Tournament of Champions semi-finals NOTHING came easy for Hays High.
Hays jumped out to an early 10-6 lead half way through the first quarter over Manhattan. The Indians had several opportunities to pull away but a cold night shooting and an even worse night at the free throw line allowed Manhattan to take the lead early in the second quarter at 14-12. Neither team was stellar in the first half and were tied at 17 a piece through the first two quarters.
Manhattan again lead by one or two points for a majority of the third quarter when Isaiah Nunnery and Jordan Windholz each hit a three pointer to give Hays a 26-21 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Those two three gave Hays a lead they never let go of.
Manhattan hit a three to open the fourth, before Hays pushed the lead up to six again. Manhattan again pushed back getting with in one at 34-33 with 2:30 to go in the game. Manhattan started to foul Hays High, who had been terrible at the free throw line making just 6 of 15 attempts. But over the final 2:21 Hays made 8 of 10 free throws and allowed just a single three point field goal allowing Hays to escape with a 42-36 win and stay undefeated at 11-0. Manhattan falls to 7-3.
Hays was led by Jordan Windholz scoring 19. He was the only player in the game to score in double figures.
Hays shot just 38% 12 of 32 and made just 4 of 16 threes. Manhattan was 14 of 36 for 39% and 5 of 16 beyond the arc. Hays made a living a the line finishing 14 of 25. Manhattan was just 3 of 6.
Hays will play undefeated Wichita East in the finals of the tournament Saturday night at 6:00. East is ranked #2 in 6A. Hays is ranked #3 in 5A.