ew Manchester kept its hope alive of getting the No. 2 seed and bye in the Region 5-AAAAA Tournament with a 36-25 win at Alexander Tuesday night.
The Jaguars, who improved to 14-6 overall and 9-4 in region play held Alexander to only one point in the fourth quarter in a hard-fought, physical game.
“Second half, I was happy with the defense, we played very well,” New Manchester coach Vincent Parks said.
The Jaguars led 12-7 after one quarter and started the second quarter on an 8-1 to run as Jalisya Glover connecter on a three-pointer to put them up 20-8 with 3:10 left to play in the quarter.
However, Alexander (8-11, 7-6) fought back and went to half time trailing 21-15 after baskets by Dria Thomas and Kiara Watson. Alexander got within 28-24 by then end of the third quarter, before New Manchester went on its final run.
Parks was happy with how his team played, but felt the physical nature of the game had an affected on his team and the score.
“They did everything I asked them to on the offense,” Parks said. “We just didn’t get calls. I hate to say that, but that’s the absolute truth. I kept telling them to drive the ball and they did. We were getting fouled. [The officials] just weren’t calling them.
“When you’re getting hit under the rim time and time again, […] it’s going to be a low-scoring game.”
Glover led New Manchester with 11 points, while leading scorer Deesha Brefford finished with 10. The senior Brefford has stood out with her play this season once again, but is getting more help now.
“I think we have a [better] team than what we had in the previous years,” Glover said. “We got more people who are stepping up. We got better post-[players]. The guards are a big help.”
Glover, a sophomore, and junior Shemyah Wilson are two New Manchester players who are helping Brefford in the backcourt this season.
“They do everything I ask them to,” Parks said of Glover and Wilson. “They’ve actually improved their scoring which has helped us. The last two years we haven’t had that second and third scorer. Now we have four or five players who can get double digits every night.”
New Manchester came into the game in third place in Region 5-AAAAA, while Alexander was tied with South Paulding for fourth.
Both teams had games postponed due to the winter weather that caused practically no Metro Atlanta high school basketball games to be played last Friday and Saturday.
New Manchester is slated to host the second-place team Villa Rica in a key region matchup on Friday before traveling to face Allatoona on Saturday. Alexander was set to travel to pay the top team in the region, Hiram, on Friday.
New Manchester will now play at Allatoona on Feb. 4 and host Villa Rica on Feb. 5. Parks likes where his team stands in the region standings.
“If we win out we’ll [probably] finish second in the region,” he said. “If we don’t we’ll probably stay in the third spot, depending on if we handle business from game-to-game.”