Freshman Gavin Betten of Manchester maneuvers to the basket through a pair of Maconaquah defenders during the first quarter of Friday night's home game.
Freshman Gavin Betten of Manchester maneuvers to the basket through a pair of Maconaquah defenders during the first quarter of Friday night's home game.
NORTH MANCHESTER – The visiting Maconaquah Braves shifted their fast-break attack into high gear in the fourth quarter on 10 for 12 shooting to defeat the Manchester Squires 61-41 in Three Rivers Conference (TRC) basketball action in Manchester’s Jungle Friday night.

The Squires, trailing 30-29 with just over two minutes remaining in the third period, saw their chance to reverse their fortunes slip away with the Braves scoring three straight layups to end the period leading 36-29. Maconaquah used the late period momentum to score on two more layups, then combined some 3-point shooting with their effective transition game enroute to victory.

Both teams - Manchester averages 60.5 points per game offensively, and Maconaquah averages 68.2 points per game - shared shooting woes in the first half. The Squires hit 6 of 21 (29%) from the field, and the Braves connected on 9 of 29 (31%) field goals leading to a relatively low scoring 24-21 first half Braves lead for the two squads.

The Braves, however, broke the cold spell with a 6 for 10 third quarter, and the en fuego final period to hit 16 of 22 (73%) shots in the second half.

Manchester was competitive in the first half while the Braves encountered early foul trouble attempting to contain 6’5” freshman wunderkind Gavin Betten, who had 13 first-half points, and was fouled after making his first three inside buckets.

Betten, who’s 8 first period points led the Squires charge toward a 14-5 first period lead. Led all scorers with 26 points.

The Braves, however, found some later period outside shooting touch from Brayden Betzner, who sunk three 3-point buckets to overtake Manchester for good late in the second period. Betzner was 5 of 10 beyond the arc for the evening, finishing the night with 22 points.

The Braves (now 15-5, and 6-1 in the TRC) had additional double-figure scoring evenings from Hayden Maiben (15 points), and 6’4” freshman Josiah Ball (12 points). The Braves’ freshman also grabbed 9 rebounds.

Betten added 8 boards to his game-high scoring effort, and William Rickerd added 8 points for the Squires. The hosts finished the night hitting 10 of 39 field goals (26%) including a frosty 3 for 22 (14%) from 3-point range.

Manchester (8-12, 3-5 in the TRC), who was trying to rebound from a tough road loss to a 15-5 Class 4A Columbia City squad, hosts Whitko Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.

The junior varsity Squires fell to the Braves 59-58 on a put-back basket with 4.7 seconds left. Trevor Heath’s game-high 24 points led the Squires’ offensive effort. Wyatt Prater (16 points), and Carter Wagoner (9 points) also chipped in for Manchester in the early contest.