Manton Using Postseason Losses as Motivation in 2016-17
MANTON – After posting successful campaigns of 16 and 17 wins over the last two seasons, respectively, the Manton boys basketball team still went home empty-handed at the end of the year.
In each of the previous three years, the Rangers saw their seasons come to an abrupt end in district play – the result of a trio of heartbreaking losses by a combined seven points.
The Rangers are a determined group in 2016-17 and are reminding themselves of those losses by wearing the number 7 on their practice jerseys as they look to add a piece hardware to their trophy case in March.
"The big games are one of my favorites, you know, it’s so loud in there you can’t even hear what you’re thinking, and Coach loves the games, our team loves the games,” senior Wyatt Baker said. “It’s just a challenge, and everyone on the team likes the challenge games."
Since opening the year with five straight wins, Manton (7-2, 4-2 Highland) has dropped two of its past four contests by a combined three points, falling to McBain (57-55) and Beal City (54-53). The Rangers aren’t letting those losses get in the way of the bigger and have followed up each of the losses with 30-plus point wins.
"Every play matters, is what it’s really about. So, you can’t let one play slide with lack of effort, otherwise you end up with a seven on your back,” senior Treh Helsel said.
With the exception of its two league blemishes, Manton has made quick work of its opposition this winter, including posting three impressive victories over Big North Conference foes Traverse City West (76-72), Petoskey (52-48) and Gaylord (81-51).
Boasting a 12-man lineup that features 11 upperclassmen, including six juniors, Manton believes it has the potential to make a lengthy postseason run.
"We have a lot of potential, we’re just trying to make sure that we reach it,” Manton coach Ryan Hiller said. “That’s been the thing at this point. I don’t think we’re there yet, but we’re getting closer."
The Rangers are back in action at home Friday, hosting McBain Northern Michigan Christian.