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The Suburbanite
  • Manchester basketball teams off to a hot start

  • It looks as though this season has all the makings of something special for both the boys and girls basketball programs as they are off to a sizzling starts. Here’s a look at each squad in the early going.

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  • It looks as though this season has all the makings of something special for both the boys and girls basketball programs as they are off to a sizzling starts. Here’s a look at each squad in the early going.
    Manchester boys
    The Panthers boys basketball team is out of the gates fast, winning five of its first six decisions including Tuesday night’s 81-37 nonconference victory over Waterloo.
    It’s Manchester’s best start since the 2010-11 campaign when they began at 9-0, en route to an 18-2 regular season record.
    “I’m really happy with our start,” said veteran Head Coach Gene Schindewolf. “The kids are playing very well right now. Our only loss has been against St. Thomas, and I feel we that we grew some in that loss.”
    “Our depth has been a big key to our success. Our sixth man off the bench is our leading scorer. We have a very tight-knit group that works and plays well together. It’s a very unselfish team.”
    The red and black opened up with a 66-55 triumph over Fairless in PAC-7 action Dec. 14.
    Manchester (5-1, 2-0)  rolled out to a 36-17 halftime lead and coasted to an easy victory.
    Ten different players dented the scoring column, led by senior Nick Peyakov with 18 points and three assists.
    Junior Alex Klein added 14 points and seven rebounds, while senior Bryan Daily had 10 markers, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
     A day later, the Panthers won a hard-fought 65-59 overtime contest over Western Reserve Academy (Hudson) 65-59.
    Manchester trailed throughout the affair, falling behind 10-6 after one, and 24-18 at the intermission, but outscored the Pioneers 16-12 in the fourth frame, and 16-10 in overtime.
    Daily led the winners with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Peyakov tallied 17 points and snagged seven boards.
    Others contributing were senior Chad Robertson with eight assists and four steals, Klein with seven points and nine caroms, and senior Nick Jordan with seven points.
    “It was a big win, coming back after trailing most of the game,” Schindewolf said about his team’s win over WRA. “Our kids battled. This game was a real confidence booster.”
    The Panthers closed out their play with a rout of Portage Trail Conference foe Waterloo.
    Manchester never trailed in the game as the Panthers raced out to a 22-7 first-quarter advantage. Their biggest lead in the contest was 48 points (81-33) at the 2:37 mark of the fourth quarter.
    Dukes poured in 16 points, followed by Peyakov with 12, Klein with 11 and Daulton Baksa with nine.
    Baksa also had a game-high eight rebounds, while Robertson and Daily dished our five assists each.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We took care of business early against them (Waterloo),” Schindewolf said. “It was a good win, and everyone was able to contribute.”
     Upcoming action includes a road tilt at Triway on Dec. 27, and an appearance at the K.Jack Greynolds Memorial Classic on Dec. 29 vs. West Salem Northwestern at Barberton High School.
    Manchester girls
    The Lady Panthers have turned their season around quite nicely after an uncharacteristically slow start, winning five of their last six decisions and improving to 6-2.
    One of those victories came against Wooster Triway, which was expected by many to unseat the Panthers in the PAC-7 this season.
    Manchester (3-0, 6-2) had little trouble disposing of the Titans on their home court 70-40 last Saturday.
    The Panthers outscored Triway in every stanza leading 14-9 after one, 35-16 at halftime, and 55-30 through three.
    “It was by far our best performance this year,” Head Coach Tucker Pappas said. “We played a near flawless game, and it really got me excited to finally see the young team start jelling and playing to their ability even though they are so young.”
    Junior Karley Dougherty led a balanced scoring attack with 23 points, six rebounds and four assists.
    Teammate Kayci Kzynowek had 14 points, four steals and three assists. Sophomore Alex Klein finished with 10 points and three assists; freshman Grier Cowless had eight markers; and sophomore Emma Kreakbaum added seven points, three steals and three assists.
    “Karley (Dougherty) was awesome on both ends of the floor for us,” Pappas said. “Kayci (Kzynowek) was her usual self, controlling the tempo, and Grier (Cowless) had her best game of the season. We’re starting to show signs of having a very good team.”
    Manchester also captured another huge road win versus Tusky Valley, beating the Trojans 61-49 on Dec. 12.
    Kryznowek had a double-double for the winners with 24 points and 10 assists. She also had seven rebounds and four steals.
    Klein also had a fine outing for the red and black with 24 points, four boards and three assists. Dougherty hauled in six rebounds, and Kreakbaum had five points and three steals.
    “We came out strong and took the lead off the tip and never trailed,” said Pappas. “We led by as many as 18 and just played a decent game overall.”
    “Both Kayci (Kryznowek), and Alex (Klein) were outstanding.”
    The Lady Panthers will travel to Akron Buchtel on Thursday, and face East Cleveland Shaw in the Lady Vikings Classic (North Canton) on Saturday.