From staff reports
MANTON — Manton (10-11) rallied from a six-point fourth-quarter deficit to edge visiting Lake City 56-55 in a Class C district semifinal clash and earn a berth in Friday’s district title game with Traverse City St. Francis. The Rangers, who are 8-3 at home this season, will host the game.
Manton trailed 44-38 at the start of the fourth quarter but came back behind a ball-hawking full-court press to outscore the Trojans 17-3 in the first four-and-a-half minutes of the final period. A 3-pointer from freshman Treh Helsel capped the run and gave the Rangers a 55-47 lead with 2:30 remaining.
Lake City (12-10) then rallied in the final minutes to get within striking distance. Senior Austin Booms, who finished with 11 points and was one of four Lake City players in double figure, hit four straight free throws in a 30-second span to trim the deficit to 55-53 with 1:21 left.
A free throw from Manton’s Jonah Nelson pushed the lead to 56-53 with 59 seconds to go. Lake City tried to close the gap and force overtime with the game clock winding down but the Rangers were able to hold on and earn their berth in the championship game. Jordan Sinkel and Nelson made key steals down the stretch for the Rangers.
“This was a game of runs and fortunately we were able to get the lead in the fourth quarter and keep it,” said Manton coach Ryan Hiller. “When they were up by eight (late in the third quarter) we could have folded the tent and said it’s over but we didn’t. We came back in the fourth quarter and played the best stretch of basketball we’ve probably played all year. This is a great accomplishment for these kids.”
Freshman Wyatt Baker paced the Rangers with 19 points to go with five rebounds and three steals. Sophomore center Tyler Swing hit for 10 while Chandler Shazri and Nelson each scored eight. Matt Skiver, Shazri and Swing each grabbed six boards.