New Manchester hosted a pair of Region 5-AAAAA games with East Paulding Tuesday night. The Lady Jaguars jumped out to a huge lead early and then had to hold on late for a 40-32 victory. The New Manchester boys trailed most of their game, but took a lead early in the fourth quarter and never let up for a 73-67 victory.
The Lady Jags dominated early in the game, taking a 9-4 first quarter lead. They let 21-10 at the half.
“We came out looking pretty good and executing well. We played good defense and pressured a little bit more,” said NMHS girls coach Vincent Parks. “At the half I told the girls we should have been up by more but we missed a lot of easy shots. We were playing down to our competition and I asked them to pick up the intensity.”
The Lady Jags did the opposite, coming out flat in the third quarter and allowing East Paulding to cut the deficit to seven points. New Manchester’s lead was down, 27-20 with eight minutes to play, but they managed to pull away late in the fourth quarter.
“We had a ball game at the end and we had to scrap and get our heads back into it,” Parks said. “I said after the game that a good team would have put their foot on the neck of a team like that and an average team lets them get back into the ball game. We did not play well enough and did not execute.”
Deesha Brefford scored 14 points in the victory. Taiylar Hibbard followed with seven.
In the boys game, New Manchester was tied, 13-13 after the first quarter but trailed, 31-27 at the half. They went up 45-42 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth, East Paulding fought back to a tie, but the Jaguars quickly took the lead back and held on for the win.
“The game was close throughout and in the fourth quarter we started knocking down free throws and handling the press,” said NMHS boys coach James Bailey. “We were able to get a little spurt from the guys off the bench and forced a few turnovers.”
Tyler Edwards led the Jaguar scoring with 27 points. He scored 20 in the second half and 14 in the fourth quarter. In the final eight minutes, Edwards hit 9-of-10 shots from the free throw line.
“He had a very slow first half but got it going in the second half,” Bailey said. “He was able to score from the outside and penetrate. He scored on put-backs and steals, and had a nice dunk. He had an all-around good game.”
Greg Ringer followed Edwards with 14 points and Momodou Singhateh added 12 off the bench.
“Greg had a solid game despite playing through a knee injury. He is tough and was able to knock down some shots,” Bailey said. “Mo is a magnet for loose balls and is a big hustler. He is a scrap player and played scrap minutes.”
Aaron Reddick got into a little foul trouble early in the game but managed to come away with 10 points.
The Jaguars will be back in action on Friday when they host Villa Rica. Bailey went to high school and coached at VR. His jersey number was recently retired by the school. This will be his first time facing the Wildcats.
New Manchester will host Allatoona on Saturday. Both are region games.