The Wabash Lady Apaches would meet Manchester for the third time this year to try and capture their third straight sectional title. Wabash handled Manchester the first two times 70-42 to win the Wabash County tournament and then 77-41 two weeks later. Manchester was on a four game winning steak, including defeating Lewis Cass in the semi final round of the sectional and was playing their best basketball, despite losing two key players to injury.
The first quarter was like watching two thoroughbred horses race up and down the floor as each team wanted to play up tempo and strike a punch like Mike Tyson. Wabash scored first on a Kyleigh Hampton bucket, but was quickly answered by Kayla Flack. Kaleigh Hensley hit a deuce and was answered by a Erika Milam three to give Manchester a 5-4 lead. The two teams battled and when the dust settled at the end of the quarter, Wabash lead 14-10. Kaylee Watson hit a three for Manchester right before the buzzer.
The second quarter is where things changed. Wabash cranked up the defensive pressure and the offense got clicking. Up 16-12, Wabash went on a 15-0 run as everything seemed to work and the Manchester shooting went ice cold. Flack finally broke the ice for Manchester to make the score 31-15. Wabash would end the quarter on a 6-0 run to take a 37-15 lead at the half. The Lady Apaches had 5 players score in the quarter, lead by Hensley with 9. Gabi Nearing had 3 buckets for 6 points. Flack hit a three for Manchester and Watson had a bucket.
Manchester is a never die team and came out with desire and heart in the third quarter. After a Hensley three to start the quarter to give Wabash a 25 point lead the Lady Squires cut the lead to 20 on buckets from Flack and Milam. Wabash would answer the call with Hensley hitting from the outside and Cromer and Nearing dominating the inside to bild the lead to 30 at the end of the quarter, 57-27.
The two teams would play to a 10-10 tie in the fourth quarter with a lot of players from each team seeing action. Cromer and Hensley lead Wabash with 3 points each while Milam had 7 points for Manchester. In the end, Wabash had done one of the hardest things to do, beat a team three times in a season for a 67-37 win.
Leading Wabash was Kaleigh Hensley with 32 points. Kelsey Cromer and Kyleigh Hampton had 11, Gabi Nearing had 10, Lyndsie Thomas had 2 and Marin Hill had 1.
For Manchester Kayla Flack had 16 points. Erika Milam had 12, Kaylee Watson had 5 and Malyssa Bedke had 4.
#2 Wabash will play #14 Tipton in the first game of the Lewis Cass regional Saturday. #14 Seeger and #1 Ft Wayne Luers play in game two.