Senior Kamdyn Lester of Manchester looks to score as Spencer Sroufe of Whitko moves in to defend. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Senior Kamdyn Lester of Manchester looks to score as Spencer Sroufe of Whitko moves in to defend. Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
SOUTH WHITLEY – Every time Manchester inched closer, the Whitko boys basketball team pulled away.

The result was a 79-71 home victory for the Wildcats Tuesday in a Three Rivers Conference matchup.

“Those boys tonight, when we needed a basket they executed,” said Whitko coach Eli Henson.

The game was close throughout, with the Squires (12-9, 5-4 TRC) leading 18-15 after the first quarter and 39-37 at halftime.

The?Wildcats took a lead on a Brett Sickafoose three-pointer early in the third quarter that they did not relinquish.

They held a 66-56 lead heading into the fourth, but Manchester (11-10, 6-3 TRC) wasn’t done yet.

Manchester’s Brayden Casper sank two free throws and Weston Hamby hit a shot to cut Whitko’s lead to six.

Though Sickafoose drained two foul shots of his own, Thane Creager responded with a three-pointer.

Whitko and Manchester traded buckets before Sickafoose made another basket, but Hamby hit two from the stripe to bring the Wildcats’ advantage back to three.

The?Squires regained possession, and this time it was Kam Lester who hit two free throws to make it a one-point game.

Whitko was not deterred.

“When something would go wrong, we responded well to pick each other up and get to the rim,” Henson said.

The Wildcats broke a Manchester press and got the ball inside to Spencer Sroufe, who pulled off a brilliant post move on his way to a bucket.

Whitko got the ball back and dribbled around until Manchester fouled to stop the clock with 43.5 seconds remaining.

As he’d done all night, Sickafoose knocked down a pair of free throws.

The Squires forced a three from the right side, which was off the mark and scooped up by Sroufe, who hit William Rickerd in stride on his way to the basket and 78-71 lead.

One more Manchester three was no good, and Whitko’s Drake Lewis was fouled after grabbing a rebound.

He hit the first of two free throws to seal the eight-point win for the Wildcats.

“When we get down or fight through a little adversity, it’s good to see that they’re doing that, that they’re not hanging their heads,” Henson said.

Sroufe led Whitko with 32 points, while Sickafoose scored 21, Clayton Ebbinghouse had 12 and Drake Lewis added 10.

The Wildcats, who had been prone to turnovers early in the season, had just nine.

Henson was proud of all of his players, and commended Lewis’ improvement.

“He’s getting to the point he’s starting to finish, and it’s starting to click for him,” Henson said. “He just seems like he’s much more comfortable.”

Manchester’s Weston Hamby and Max Carter each scored 18 points.

“Manchester played well,” Henson said. “They’re a good team. They have guards. The only thing they’re lacking is somebody who can guard (Sroufe).”

Whitko will conclude its regular season Thursday at Heritage, while Manchester will finish its regular season Friday at Eastern.



M    18    21    15    17    –    71

W    15    22    23    19    –    79

Manchester – Weston Hamby 5-14 7-7 19, Logan Parrett 1-2 0-0 2, Kam Lester 2-6 3-3 7, Brayden Casper 2-8 2-3 7, Thane Creager 3-7 0-0 9, Kreeden Krull 3-5 0-0 6, Max Carter 7-13 3-4 18, Austin Underwood 0-1 0-0 0, Caleb Stout 1-1 0-0 3, Konrad Borgmann 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 24-61 15-17 71.  

Whitko – Brett Sickafoose 6-10 6-8 21, Clayton Ebbinghouse 4-8 0-0 12, Drake Lewis 3-4 4-5 10, William Rickerd 2-3 0-0 4, Spencer Sroufe 13-20 6-9 32, Devin Blaine 0-0 2-2 2, Micah Cokl 0-0 0-0 0,  Cameron Sapp 0-0 0-0 0, Totals

Three-pointers – Manchester 8 (Creager 3, Hamby 2, Carter 1, Stout 1, Casper 1), Whitko 7 (Ebbinghouse 4, Sickafoose 3); Rebounding – Manchester 23 (Hamby 5), Whitko 21 (Sroufe 10); Turnovers – Manchester 12, Whitko 9; Fouls – Manchester 20, Whitko 15; Fouled out – none; Records: Manchester 11-10, 6-3 TRC; Whitko 12-9, 5-4 TRC.