It had been 20 years since the Manchester boys basketball team had won a sectional title and Saturday night they had a shot at breaking the drought against Oak Hill at Oak Hill. The Squires defeated the Eagles 65-53 back on November 29th at Oak Hill and defeating a team on their home floor twice in a season would be a chore.
As expected the game was a knock down drag out with neither team leading by more than 6 points the entire game. There were 10 lead changes and 14 ties as Oak Hill knocked off the Squires 67-63 in double overtime.
Down 5-2 the Squires would take their first lead when Chase Fierstos drained a three pointer, then converted a three point play to put Manchester up 8-5. Chainey Zolamn made it 10-7 before Oak Hill would end the quarter on a 9-0 run to grab a 16-10 lead after one.
Manchester would score the first four points of the second quarter on two Fierstos free throws and a bucket from Cameron Brandenburg to close the gap to 16-14 as the two teams battled for momentum. Down 22-18 the Squires would knot the score at 22 when Chainey Zolman drained a three followed by a David McAtee free throw. Oak Hill would answer with a bucket before Fierstos hit a long ball followed by a Keelan Norwood bucket to give the Squires a 27-24, then stretched the lead to 30-25 on another Fierstos three. Oak Hill would score the final four points of the quarter as Manchester led 30-29 at the half.
In the third the Squires got two buckets from Zolman, one being a three and a deuce from Fierstos to lead 37-33 when Oak Hill made a 6-0 run to grab a 39-37 lead. Again Fierstos would hit to knot the score before the Eagles scored the last point with 1:07 left to lead 40-39 after three.
The fourth quarter would start with David McAtee nailing a three to put Manchester up 42-40 and had a 44-42 lead after another McAtee bucket when Oak Hill scored five straight to take the lead back at 47-44. The Squires trailed 50-48 when McAtee hit two free throws with 3:12 remaining to tie the score at 50 and tied the game again at 52 on a Fierstos bucket. After a couple failed possessions by Oak Hill the Squires had the ball with 17.7 on the clock with a chance to win the game. After working for a shot, the Eagles blocked the attempt and we were headed for overtime.
A minute in to overtime the Squires would grab a 54-52 lead on two Fierstos free throws, but the Eagles answered. Fierstos gave Manchester their second lead with two more free throws that Oak Hill answered with two free throws to make it 56-56. With 40 seconds left David McAtee hit to put the Squires up 58-56, but Oak Hill scored with 20.6 remaining to give the Squires a second chance to win it at the buzzer. The Chainey Zolman shot just missed and it was overtime number two.
Oak Hill would get the first bucket of the second overtime with Fierstos quickly answering to make it 60-60. Again Oak Hill would score, but this time Chainey Zolman answered to tie the score at 62. Oak Hill would then convert a three point play with 1:18 left, giving them a 65-62 lead as the Squires missed their attempt to tie or cut the lead. Oak Hill called time out with 53.0 remaining and the Squire defense came up big, forcing a 5 second call to get the ball back. The Squires worked the clock to 37.8, calling time out to set up a play, missing the shot. The Squires would foul with 19.5 on the clock with the Eagles hitting one free throw for a 66-62 lead. The Squire offense would hurry, missing the first shot with David McAtee getting the rebound and drawing a foul with 5.7 on the clock. McAtee would hit one free throw to make it 66-63 and intentionally miss the second hoping for a rebound that the Eagles grabbed and the Squires fouling with 2.7 left. Oak Hill would hit one of the free throws as the Squires didn’t have enough time to make up the deficit in a 67-63 loss to the Eagles.
Leading Manchester was Chase Fierstos with 32 points. Chainey Zolman added 14, David McAtee 11, Keelan Norwood 2, Cameron Brandenburg 2, Koehl Fluke 2.