Oh what a game it was. The Manchester and Wabash girls basketball teams were meeting Saturday for the Wabash sectional championship. Manchester made it to the championship game by defeating Lewis Cass and North Miami. Wabash was there by topping county foes Southwood and Northfield.
Manchester was seeking their first sectional championship since 2007, while Wabash was trying to win their fifth in a row. In a game that wasn’t decided until the last 10 seconds, Wabash would prevail 33-27.
Less than a minute in to the game Claire Cromer nailed a three pointer to put Wabash up 3-0. In a game were defense was physical, having to stop play at one time for blood when Bekah Brunn took a shot on the chin, the two teams battled for position, with neither being able to find the bucket for the next 6 minutes. Kyleigh Hampton hit for Wabash with 1:10 remaining to stop the drouth to go up 5-0, with Manchester responding the last 45 seconds. Tabby DeWitt hit, followed by a bucket from Kalene Freshour and Wabash led 5-4 after one.
The pace would pick up a little in the second quarter, but neither team could get clicking on all cylinders. Claire Cromer started the scoring to put Wabash up 7-4. Bekah Brunn would then connect on two free throws for the Squires and then score on a feed from Kayla Flack to give Manchester their first lead at 8-7. The lead would change four times in the next four minutes until Abby Stein hit for Wabash to give them a 13-12 lead with 2:06 left. Kyleigh Hampton and Lyndsie Thomas would finish the scoring in the half with buckets for the Apaches and Wabash led 17-12 at the half.
To start the third quarter it looked as though Wabash might run away from Manchester. Two minutes in to the quarter Lyndsie Thomas hit and was followed by two free throws from Sarah Puckett to give Wabash their largest lead at 21-12. Off the Puckett free throw, Kayla Flack took the ball out of bounds, hitting Kalene Freshour in stride on a full court pass for a layup to make it 21-14. After a Hampton bucket made it 23-14, neither team could find the bucket the next 3:38 with the exception of one Wabash and two Manchester free throws, making it 24-16 with a quarter to go.
Manchester, unwilling to just roll over and go away came out smoking hot in the fourth. Autumn Brewer hit two free throws and was followed by a Bekah Brunn bucket. With 6:39 to play Brewer hit two more free throws, with Brunn making one a minute later and with 5:38 remaining had cut the Wabash lead to 24-23. In the next minute the Apaches would find themselves getting in to foul trouble as Hampton picked up her fourth along with Cromer. With 4:44 remaining Tabby DeWitt would hit two free throws and Manchester was up 25-24. Cromer erased the Manchester lead a minute later with a three to put Wabash up 27-25 with 3:00 left and the strategy game was on. Manchester would work the ball for nearly a minute, looking for a good shot when Lyndsie Thomas came up with a steal with 2:00 remaining and the Apaches immediately went to the four corners. Manchester would finally foul with 55.2 on the clock and call time out. Thomas missed the front end of the one and one, with Manchester grabbing the rebound, only to be called for traveling with 43.5 left. The Squires fouled Thomas again with 35.6 left, with Thomas draining both free throws for a 29-25 lead. Tabby DeWitt would score with 17.0 left, making it 29-27 and fouling. Claire Cromer hit both free throws and the Squires hurried down the floor, with Hampton blocking the shot and Manchester fouling with 1.4 remaining. Cromer again drained both free throws for the 33-27 final.
Leading Wabash was Claire Cromer with 15 points, 1 rebound, 3 assist. Kyleigh Hampton added 8 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 6 blocks. Lyndsie Thomas had 6 points, 1 rebound. Abby Stein had 2 points, 1 steal. Sarah Puckett had 2 points, 2 rebounds. Katelyn Vogel had 1 rebound, 1 assist. Kristen Ford had 2 assist. Charlie Pardo had 1 assist.
For Manchester Bekah Brunn and Tabby DeWitt had 7 points each. DeWitt had 1 block, 7 rebounds. Kalene Freshour and Autumn Brewer had 6 points each. Freshour had 1 assist, 6 rebounds. Brewer had 9 rebounds. Kayla Flack had 1 point, 5 assist, 9 rebounds, 1 steal. Katelyn Andritsch had 2 rebounds. Sydney Snep had 1 rebound.