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Manning High School

Manning boys and girls fall in third round of the AAA play offs

By Neill Kirkpatrick

Staff Writer

Goose Creek – The Manning boys basketball team went 6-2 down the stretch with the only losses coming at the hands of the region VII champions Bishop England to get the third seed from the region in the Class AAA play-offs which meant they would be on the road for the play-offs.

Their first-round game was at Lake City where they eked out a 53-51 win which put them on the road at the top seed from region VIII and the team that knocked them out of the play-offs last season the Jaguars of Ridgeland-Hardeeville. Led by seniors Leondria Nelson and Xavier Hicks they ran away from the Jags to post a 64-36 win at Ridgeland-Hardeeville. Nelson led the team with 20 points while Hicks dropped in 16.

Their season came to an end in their next game as they fell to Cheraw 63-58. The Monarchs fell behind by 10 at the half and never recovered. They ended the year at 17-10/ 6-4.

“We have played well down the stretch and in the play-offs, but it took us a while to get where we needed to be as a team,” said head coach Rolando Shuler. “We started to play like I knew we were capable of all year. It is still more of a mindset and we just need to get there if we want to achieve the goals, we will set every year”

Coach continued, “We are still trying to set a standard and to get the guys to understand you have to bring it every day to reach that standard. It is a process, but we will get there.”

Senior Leondria Nelson (6-3) had an outstanding season as he was recently named to the SCBCA AAA All- State team and the North/ South All Star game is s averaging 12.8 points a game. He led the Monarchs in scoring (14.5), rebounding (9.7), assists (3.7) and steals (3.8). Nelson shot 48% from behind the arc hitting a team high 41.

“Leondria deserves all the accolades as he game to play every night and was a force on both ends of the court.,” coach Shuler said.

While the Monarchs loss some talented seniors they will have junior JaQuan Fletcher (5-9) back. He finished second in scoring at 11.2 points per game and in steals with 2.4 a game and was named to the All-Region team

Two freshmen who made impacts this year are guard Justin Daniels (5-11) who averaged 9.1 points per contest while fellow freshman forward Jehqwauyn Hilton (6-4) was second on the team in rebounding at 7.3 and chipped in with six points a night.

“We lose a good senior class, but I am excited for the young guys we have returning. We have to strive to get better and to change our mental approach if we want to get to be one of the top team sin the state,” coach Shuler said.

The Lady Monarch’s had another outstanding year going 19-6/ 7-2 making it into the third round of the class AAA state tournament where they fell to upstart May River 63-55.

“I’m proud of the girls and how hard they worked all year One of our goals for the season was to make a deep run in the play-offs and any time you play three games you have done that but we are still have to figure out a way to get by Bishop England if we want to win the region,” said Manning head coach Darren Mazyck.

The Lady Monarch’s will loss three seniors that have helped the program become one of the best in the lower state in 5-9 Measha Jones, 5-11 Myisha Smiling and 5-10 Sequoia Junious.

Jones led the Lady Monarchs in scoring at 18 points a game, in assist with 8 a game and steals at 5.5. She finished her career at Manning with over 1600 points scored.

Smiling was recently named to the SCBCA AAA All-State team after averaging a double/ double on the year. She led the team in rebounding snatching 15 boards and scoring 14 points a game. She joined the 1000-point club during the year.

Junious was third on the team in scoring and rebounding averaging 10 points and 9 boards a contest while another senior Tajabrenoca Dow chipped in with 7 points a game.

“One of our strengths coming into the season was in the low block and Measha, Myisha and Sequoia have played well all year. We feel they gave us an advantage every night in the paint,” said coach Mazyck.

 Coach Mazyck has a solid group returning in junior center Star Logan, sophomore Staclyn Bell and freshmen Taylor Gourdine and La’tavius Wilson. Wilson was second in assists a night with five and steals, swiping five balls a game.

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