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The Suburbanite
  • Manchester girls fall to Norton in district title game

  • Manchester head coach Tucker Pappas saw his youthful squad grow by leaps and bounds this season as it was just one step away from a regional appearance. The Panthers’ hopes were dashed after falling to Norton 55-40 at the girls Division II district title game.

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  • Manchester head coach Tucker Pappas saw his youthful squad grow by leaps and bounds this season as it was just one step away from a regional appearance. The Panthers’ hopes were dashed after falling to Norton 55-40 at the girls Division II district title game.
    Norton, which gained its second sweet 16 berth in three years, took control of the contest midway through the second quarter by turning a one-point deficit into a 10-point lead (36-26) at the intermission.
    The Panthers (22-4) never fully recovered, although they pulled within six points on two occasions in the third period.
    Their youthfulness showed in the contest against a veteran Norton club that featured four seniors. Manchester’s starting lineup consists of two juniors and three sophomores.
    The Panthers, who saw their 15-game winning streak snapped, never looked in sync the entire evening, shooting just 28 percent from the floor (13 of 46) and three of 24 behind the three-point line (12 percent). They also committed 21 fouls and had 12 turnovers.
    “It was just one of those days,” Pappas said. “I knew we were in trouble after playing a physical game against Triway. That game beat us up. I felt their (Norton) experience was a big difference. We’re so young, and we’re not real deep.”
    Junior Kayci Krzynowek led the red and black with 15 points, while Karley Dougherty tallied 11.
    Sophomore Brittni Porter was tops in rebounds with eight, while Alex Klein had seven boards and four assists.
    Cara Cook paced a balanced scoring attack for Norton with 16 points. She was backed up by Nina Dzombic with 10 markers, and Brooke Robinson, Carolyn Ivy and Jaclyn Fortner had nine apiece.
    After a memorable season winning a ninth-consecutive PAC-7 championship and ninth-straight sectional title and playing in their fifth-straight district title game, Pappas said the loss was tough.
    “It’s hard to end the season on a game like this,” he said, “but the girls accomplished so much. If anyone would have told me before the year began that we would  be in this position playing in a game like this, I would have thought they we crazy ... We just have tough Manchester kids on the team that never quit or give up. I’m very proud of them. They are a great group.”
    Looking at the not-too-distant future, better days should be in store for the program as all players will return, with the exception of senior Morgan Petroff. A more experienced and hungrier group possibly could take it to the next level.
     “As long as the kids work hard during the off season,” Pappas said, “we’ll be back next year.”