Manchester boys want revenge

If Manchester boys can keep their winning pace, look out.

That seems clear for the Blue Devils, who sit atop the Class AA rankings at 13-2, entering road games Friday against struggling Chattahoochee County and Heard County, who have only three wins combined.

Increasingly, as the postseason nears, the Devils appear destined for an 11th consecutive state playoff appearance, and potentially, a chance to avenge last season’s loss to Laney in the championship game.

Ranked No. 1, Manchester no doubt is entitled to have a swagger. But there’s also a degree of uncertainty for the perennial playoff contender since winning its lone state championship in 2007, then coming no closer than the second round twice and falling short in last year’s final.

Motivational might be still-raw memory of last year’s 67-53 championship loss to Laney, after the Devils (23-3) appeared to be world beaters by stunning two-time defending state champion Greater Atlanta Christian in the quarterfinals. Offensive firepower came too late against Laney, though, as the Devils were overwhelmed by pressure defense and athleticism.

Zay Echols scored a game-high 29 points for Manchester, including five 3-pointers and 17 points in the final quarter, but no other Manchester player scored more than four. The Devils trailed the Wildcats by 10 at halftime and 20 in the fourth quarter, and never drew closer than within 56-48 with about three minutes left.

Still, Manchester coach Curtis Echols said, “We never quit. I challenged them right there to keep fighting. I’m proud of them for coming back and fighting like they did.”

“We came in knowing that Laney was a physical team, and they were,” Echols added. “They really took it to us.”

This season, the Devils look like they’re on a mission, having lost only to AAAA Westover and Albany. Manchester has dominated opponents by 10 points on average. It began the season by winning five straight and enters Friday’s Region 5-AA matchup against the Panthers having ripped off seven in a row.

Heads are turning to look at Manchester, and the Devils are turning to look to the light of center stage.

If you make it to Manchester, you’ll see some high-scoring hoops. The Devils have scored more than 80 in three of the last four games and even topped 90 in a 94-81 win over Spencer two outings ago.

6 comments Add your comment

Weston

January 17th, 2013
12:11 pm

Curtis Noble is the coach

lightsoutfrom3

January 17th, 2013
8:44 pm

They better worry about the region first. They were supposed to play jordan last week but the floors were being done. They refuse to reschedule because their scared. It was a home and home series. The other game is of course is at Manchester. I bet that game doesnt get canceled! Man up and reschedule the game Coach Noble! They lost by 16 last year when they came to town. We know they dont lose at home because its always 8 on 5. They have the worst officiating crews ever when you play there. Well they’re great if your a blue devil fan. Guarantee you the fouls will be 10-1 in favor of them after the 1st quarter. Gooooooo Jordan Jackets! We are about to start rolling.

Greg

January 18th, 2013
5:45 pm

But Greater Atlanta Christian is another level of basketball – they are a top 5 team in the State amoung all levels and possibilly a top 50 national team – there will not be an upset for them this year – they will win the 3rd championship in 4 years easily – and sadly for everyone else, they will be even stronger next year

FSU Fan!

January 18th, 2013
10:07 pm

Manchester is not as strong as they were last year,their rivals Greenville should have beaten them twice this year and they are 5A

MHS Die-Hard Fan

January 20th, 2013
4:26 pm

Hey Lightsoutfrom3, Your information is incorrect! We were suppose to play them in Columbus and Jordan’s floors were wet again, just like last year! They did the same exact thing. We tried to get them to come up here and play us, and they wouldn’t!!! Curtis Noble is a great man and Coach. He would not do something like this! Get your facts straight. They are afraid of us and want more time to practice!

afan

January 21st, 2013
1:23 am

Actually MHS Die-Hard Fan you need to get your facts straight…..last year wasn’t the floor it was the whole gym and the pipes that was being worked on….and Jordan is never scared of playing Manchester Jordan coach tried to switch the game to your place first then play at Jordan…but your coach did not want to do it…..I wonder why????