Hightower had to dig deep Friday night for this one. But that’s every night in District 24-5A.
Manvel rallied from 13 down in the third quarter to force overtime, then built its largest lead of the game in the extra period, before the Hurricanes pulled out an 87-83 road win behind Bryce Griggs’ 27 points.
“This is a very good district, and (Manvel) is a very good team,” Hightower coach Stephen Woods said. “We knew it was going to be like this. Coach (Chris) Wilson has done a very good job of preparing his guys. I’ve seen him at about five of our games, so I knew he was going to have a game plan.”
The win pushed Hightower to 20-5 overall, 7-1 in district going into the start of the second round next week.
Manvel slipped to 16-9, 4-4.
“This was very important, especially looking at the district standings,” Woods said. “We have one loss in district, and our short-term goal is to win district, and in order to do that, the way Shadow Creek is playing, we can’t lose anymore, and this was another important game because Manvel was 4-3.
“Had we lost, they would have only been one game behind us.”
A Hightower loss looked unlikely through the first three quarters.
Manvel briefly took a 21-20 lead in the second quarter before the Hurricanes reeled off an 11-0 run with help from 3-pointers by Nick Hale and Cameron Collins (17 points) to build a 31-21 edge. They out-rebounded Manvel in the first half, forced five more turnovers and hit five 3s to none for Manvel.
The result was a 36-27 Hightower lead at halftime.
The Hurricanes grew it to 46-33 mid-third quarter on another Collins 3 in transition, and led 53-44 after three.
Then the Mavericks went to work.
They opened the fourth with back-to-back three-point plays by J’Vaun Walker and Myles Levine, cutting Hightower’s lead to 53-51, tied it 62-62 on a Shaun Walker (16 points) layup with 2:40 left, and took the lead on a pair of Mason McBride (16 points) free throws with 25 seconds to go.
“Second-half defense,” Woods said. “We weren’t getting any stops, they were beating us to loose balls, (and) we had some uncharacteristic turnovers. We never really got into the flow of the game.
“Odd as that sounds – we scored 87 points – we never found the flow, and that’s why they were able to come back.”
Griggs hit two free throws with 18 seconds left, eventually sending the game to OT, where Levine promptly hit a 3 for a 73-70 lead. Manvel led 79-74 with 2:26 to go after a fastbreak dunk by Jacob Koontze.
But Griggs drained a clutch trey for an 82-81 lead with 47 seconds remaining, and Hightower went 8-of-9 from the free-throw line in OT to salvage the victory.
“These guys are battle-tested,” Woods said.
“I was real proud of how they stuck together, and they made plays when we had to make plays, and got stops when we had to get stops.”
Griggs went just 1-of-4 in the first half and 8-of-20 for the game but scored 15 of his 27 in the fourth quarter and overtime. Hightower finished 29-of-67 from the field and 19-of-27 at the charity stripe.
“That’s (Griggs),” Woods said. “He has the confidence, he has the green light, and what people don’t understand, if you watch that overtime, and you watch the fourth quarter, a lot of times when he drove to the basket, he could have forced up shots, but he was still looking to pass the ball.
“You’re going to have games where you don’t make all your shots, but you can’t let that affect your game.”
Manvel, after beating Hightower to the glass throughout the second hal... Click here to read full article