TOPEKA — Manhattan gave Heights a little taste of what could be in store at the Class 6A tournament this week. It didn't fold under Heights' press. It capitalized off of every Heights mistake, and it made shots.
The top-ranked Falcons were pushed in their 64-49 win Saturday night, probably more than they've been pushed all season. That they didn't succumb to it probably bodes well for this week.
"It's all about battling," Heights' Mary Sims said. "It's all about the war. For the past month with Bishop Carroll and Northwest, it was a dogfight and we ended up pulling out. That goes to show that it's all about heart. It's all about as a team how bad you want it. We're looking forward to playing good teams at state. We have three days to prepare."
Heights led 46-36 entering the fourth quarter. Manhattan managed to stay within striking distance for most of the game thanks to the hot shooting of Onyeka Ehie, who had a 5-for-7 shooting night, including a 4-for-5 performance from three-point range.
"When you're No. 1 in the state and you've got a bull's-eye on your back, you're going to get everyone's best shot," Heights coach Kip Pulliam said. "I'm just glad we got out of here with a win."
Manhattan cut its deficit to 51-44 with just under five minutes left, but a seasoned Heights team found a way to pull away.
Tahlia Pope made a layup. Then Taylor Candler had the ball in transition and got past her defender. The help defense arrived and Chandler had the awareness to pass out to a wide-open Allegria Chisom for three. Chisom's shot gave Heights a 56-45 lead with three minutes left. Heights maintained its double-digit lead from that point.
"It's all about knowing our personnel," Sims said. "We know that if I'm driving them somebody's moving. We know that if Taylor is driving then somebody's moving. It's all abut having that connection on the floor. As soon as Taylor is moving (Chisom) knows that I'm going to get my shot. She spotted up. She got an open basket, and it was a great shot."
Wichita Heights (22-0) 14 18 14 18 — 64 Manhattan (13-9) 9 12 15 15 — 51
HEIGHTS: Chandler 2 0-4 4, Lynch 2 0-0 5, Pope 4 0-0 8, Jharian Bowen 1 0-0 3, Palmer 1 0-0 3, Sims 4 4-4 12, Chisom 4 0-0 12, Jhasmin Bowen 7 3-3 17. Totals 26 (5) 7-11 64.
MANHATTAN: Spilker 0 0-1 0, Crusinbury 1 0-0 3, Motley 5 1-3 15, Miller 2 1-2 6, Thompson 3 1-2 8, Massenot 2 1-2 5, Woods 3 4-4 10. Totals 16 (7) 8-14 51.