NORTH MANCHESTER - The Manchester Lady Squires appear to be finding their stride.

Playing just its second game with a full roster, Manchester opened Three Rivers Conference play Friday night with a 63-39 high school girls basketball win over the visiting Whitko Lady Wildcats.

After an 0-4 start to the season, and setbacks because of Covid-related reasons, the Lady Squires have won their last five games.

Second-year head coach Josh Troyer, who has also enjoyed many successful seasons as Manchester’s girls golf coach, said it was the program’s first five-game win streak prior to Christmas break since 2005.

“We started the season with a tough schedule,” said Troyer. “When you gotta go up against Lenny Krebs’ Warsaw team, they’re hitting their stride now with everybody back, that’s tough. We played Columbia City. Blackhawk Christian was 10-1 the last time I checked.

“We played some really hard opponents, and we were just kind of figuring ourselves out. We’ve had kids gone every other day it seems like, and we’re finally starting to come together. This is the first two-game stretch where we’ve had all of our varsity players available.”

Like its season, Manchester had to overcome Friday night what Troyer labeled a sluggish start.

The Lady Wildcats, who fell to 2-6 overall and 0-2 in the league standings, took a quick 5-0 lead and appeared to have the energy and momentum.

Manchester, however, responded with a 13-0 run and led from that point on, with Whitko getting no closer than two points the rest of the way.

“We came out and we were a little sluggish,” said Troyer. “It’s hard sometimes. Whitko is struggling a little bit right now, and I just didn’t think we gave them the respect they deserved.

“That No. 12 (freshman Kloe Krieg), she can play, she’s a good player. No. 15 (junior Kylie Fugett) did some good things for them. We just weren’t as disciplined as we needed to be, and we had to clean some things up.”

Manchester led 15-10 after one quarter of play, 31-22 at halftime and 40-27 heading into the final frame.

Junior Makenzy Meyer tallied 15 points and seven rebounds for the hosts, while senior Morgan Parrett was a point short of a double-double with nine points and 11 boards.

Senior Eva Bazzoni and juniors Keilan Creager and Ainsley West scored nine points each in the win.

Krieg scored a game-high 21 points for Whitko, while Fugett chipped in with nine.