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Aricka Prentice

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The Lady Crimsons (12-4) prevailed over the Sacred Heart Academy Valkyries (7-5) last Friday, January 9 with a score of 56-52. This game snaps Manual’s two-game losing streak, after close losses to both Mercer County and Central.

Head coach Jeffery Sparks (History) was happy to see his team rebound from recent struggles.

“Offensively we did a good job and settled down a little bit, and we started to understand our looks,” Sparks said. “We just kept getting better and better at learning how to play those close game situations.”

Krystalline McCune (11, #55) put up 21 points and Manual held Sacred Heart to just nine points in the first quarter. McCune was also awarded player of the game, according to high school athletics stats source Maxpreps.

“We really bounced back from the Central game,” McCune said. “We played way better team ball, we talked more, we trusted each other, we had confidence, and I think that’s what really made us successful.”

The team has implemented several adjustments in recent practices, according to Sparks.

“We try to simulate a game during practice, and we try to teach them how to handle their emotions when it matters most,” Sparks said. “We shoot a lot of pressure free throws in practice.”

“(The team chemistry) is way better than last year,” Aricka Prentice (12, #25) said. “Just being together, playing together with this group of girls. We’re anxious and yearning to go back to state, and we’ve got to take it one game at a time, as we go into LIT (Louisville Invitational Tournament).”

The Lady Crimsons will play at home against Mercy (9-4) on January 13th at 7:30 p.m. Maxpreps ranks Mercy as #3 in the state.

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Tonysha Curry (10, HSU) goes up to shoot against Shawnee in the first quarter. Photo by Shea Dobson

The girls’ basketball team trounced Shawnee 58-20 to improve to an overall record of 2-0 on the season.

After Tonysha Curry (23) won the opening tip-off, Aricka Prentice (25) started off the game with a series of free throws. Ami Ballard (11) and Jaela Johnson (33) knocked down the first two threes of the game shortly after.

Manual’s defense successfully kept Shawnee’s explosive offense from scoring until halfway through the first quarter, and kept them to only two points in the third quarter, during which the running clock, or ‘mercy rule’, was put into effect.

“The other day we said we needed to get better at a few things,” said coach Mr. Jeffery Sparks (Social Studies). We didn’t have Krys [McCune (#55)] tonight, so some people had to step up and play some different roles and I thought it was really good for us

With McCune, one of the team’s top defenders, out, Manual still held Shawnee down to 20 thanks to a well-rounded full-court press defense, as well as strong defensive performances by Angelica McBride (24) and Roncayle Hunter (15).

Despite the win, Coach Sparks was not fully satisfied with the team’s performance. “We need to work on shot selection, and that’s gonna come with more game experience and more practice,” he said. “We need more assists and more shots that lead directly to baskets.”

The win puts Manual at the top of District 25, with Shawnee and Central tied for second place one game behind. Manual’s next game, the first away match of the season, will be against Presentation High School on Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Photo by Kyla Drozt
Jordan Myles (12, #21) carries the ball away from Eastern. Photo by Kyla Drozt.
Sierra Zwenger (12, VA) leads the Dazzlers in a performance at halftime. Photo by Kyla Drozt.
Sierra Zwenger (12, VA) leads the Dazzlers in a performance at halftime. Photo by Kyla Drozt.

Manual football defeated Eastern 43–13 and took the field for the final time in the regular season last Friday, Oct. 31, the night of Halloween. Captains Jake Rist (12, #7) and Damien Smith (12, #14) led the game and Manual scored a touchdown within the first five minutes.

The temperature dropped throughout the game, and it began to snow around halftime. This did not stop Manual from defeating Eastern and winning their final game of the regular season after losing three consecutive games to Trinity, St. X, and Male.

“We slopped around the first half and didn’t really play championship ball.” Head Coach Oliver Lucas said. “We can do much better than what we showed.

Manual began to play better when it started snowing.

“The weather has no bearing on how you play,” Lucas said. “Great teams will go ahead and play well even in the snow or rain. It wasn’t just snowing on us, it was snowing on them as well. We began to play the type of ball that we needed to play.”

As Manual gears up for the playoffs, they will try to fix all the little things that plagued them throughout the season.

“We expect to do well,” Lucas said. “We aren’t just going to go and show up, we want to win it.”

The Crimsons’ defense will be a major part in Manual’s first game in round one of the playoffs.

“We came out horrible tonight,” middle linebacker Daylen Eichenberger (12, #81) said. “We tried to input new things for our game tonight, and it just messed us up, we will be prepared for the playoffs. As long as we play like we should, if we capitalize on picks and stop the runs, then we will win state.”

Manual will face McCracken County in round one of the playoffs at McCracken County on Friday, Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

In addition to Friday’s game being the last of the regular season for football, the Crimson Sound marching band performed for the last time and held their senior night: