Senior staff writer
Manual warmed up for sectional action by winning two games Saturday to win its inaugural End of Season tournament.
The Redskins (17-6), who face host Brebeuf Jesuit (13-8) in an opening-round sectional game today, disposed of Indiana Elite Academy 62-57 in the morning and later disposed of beleaguered Bowman Academy 77-50 in Cummings Gymnasium.
Manual coach Donnie Bowling said the result was far better than practicing for six days after defeating Liberty Christian Feb. 21.
“I call Aaron Sembly (Manual athletic director) the mad scientist because this turned out more positive than negative,” Bowling said. “It’s so hard to simulate another team in practice, so it was a huge benefit for us to play instead of practice.”
The Redskins practiced Monday and Tuesday for the Braves, who feature a strong offensive perimeter game. The winner likely will face sectional favorite Crispus Attucks at 7:30 p.m. Friday, with that winner reaching the title game Saturday.
“We are gaining confidence, and we learned in the last half of the season that we can play tough basketball,” Bowling said. “We had a little trouble hitting free throws late against Indiana Elite, but we moved the ball and shot well against Bowman.”
The Redskins feature one of the state’s top five scorers in 6-5 Courvoisier McCauley, who hit for 25 points against the academy and 26 against Bowman. McCauley had help in the championship game from Nathanial Merriwether, 13 points, and 6-6 guard Cameron Sembly, 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Manual’s bench produced 20 points in handing Bowman, under a two-year IHSAA ban from postseason play, its worst defeat of the season.
Manual seeks its 12th sectional championship and its first since 2012.
Slightly favored Beech Grove takes on Indian Creek at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Danville.
Semifinal sectional action Friday finds: Southport vs. Perry Meridian or Roncalli at 7:30 p.m. at Decatur Central; Franklin Central or Greenwood vs. Franklin at 6 p.m. and Center Grove vs. Whiteland or Martinsville at 7:30 p.m. at Franklin Central; Greenwood Christian vs. Morristown or Edinurgh at 6 p.m.; and Lutheran vs. Arlington or Central Christian at 7:30 p.m. at Edinburgh.
All sectional championship games start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.