For three plus quarters Thursday it looked as though a repeat of the county tourney championship game was on hand as Northfield and Manchester went to battle. Northfield led by a point at the half before Manchester tuned the table in the third to lead by a point heading to the fourth before the Squires hit 12 fourth quarter free throws in a 65-55 win over the Norse.
Neither team could get the upper hand in the first as the Squires held a slim lead early. Koehl Fluke and David McAtee gave the Squires an early 7-4 lead with Noah Shear and John Schuler keeping pace. With Manchester up 12-8 after a McAtee bucket Cody Holmes put back a rebound and was followed by Shear draining a three to give Northfield a 13-12 lead. Chase Fierstos would answer the Norse buckets with a two and a three for a 17-13 lead before Shear ended the quarter with two free throws and the Squires leading 17-15.
Joe Halderman would hit a three to start the second quarter and was followed by a Shear three to put Northfield up 21-17 when Fierstos answered with a three point play and a three to give Manchester a 32-21 lead. Back came the Norse with a long ball by Ryan Driscoll for a Northfield 24-23 lead when Braydon Sewell connected and was followed by two Fierstos free throws to put Manchester back up 27-24. After made free throws by Schuler, Fierstos would strike from behind the arch again to give Manchester a 30-26 lead when the Norse ended the half with buckets from Austin Trump and a Shear three to take a 31-30 halftime lead.
The tempo would remain the same in the third as Fierstos and McAtee gave the Squires a 34-31 lead when Kyle Reed got on the board. Reed converted a three point play and followed with a free throw to put Northfield up 35-34 when another Fierstos three gave the lead back to Manchester 37-35. The Squires built their lead to 46-41 when Halderman drained a three and was followed by two Shear free throws to tie the game at 46. Mason Hamby would hit a free throw with 1.1 seconds left in the quarter as Manchester led 47-46 with a quarter to go.
Koehl Fluke would get the first bucket of the fourth quarter that was answered by Shear to make it 49-48 when things changed. Off a Northfield bench technical foul the Squires would hit 5 straight free throws and get a bucket from McAtee to open a 56-48 lead before Trump stopped the run with a free throw. Three more Manchester free throws made it 59-49 with Northfield closing the gap to 59-52 off a Reed free throw and a Trump bucket. The Squires would then get a bucket from Hamby before two more free throws with 34.7 left to make it 63-52 as a combined 5 more free throws were hit the last few seconds for the 65-55 final.
Leading Manchester was Chase Fierstos with 36 points, which also out him over the 1000 point mark for his career. David McAtee added 10, Koehl Fluke 9, Braydon Sewell 4, Mason Hamby 3, Matthew Pegg 2, Keelan Norwood 1.
Leading Northfield was Noah Shear with 24 points. Kyle Reed added 7, Cody Holmes 6, Joe Halderman 6, Austin Trump 5, John Schuler 4, Ryan Driscoll 3.
Manchester won the junior varsity game 55-19.
Leading the Squires was Devon Rooney with 10 points. Braxtin Wilson added 7, Brayden Casper 6, Kam Lester 6, Andrew McAtee 6, Levi Hicks 5, Jake Schannep 4, Kane Gable 4, Isaiah Davis 3, Spence Trick 2, Mason Meyer 2.
Leading Northfield was Joe Halderman with 9 points. Logan Peas added 3, Nate Drancik 3, Cole Rosen 3, Jared Peas 1.