WEST PORTSMOUTH — In their final home non-conference game of the regular season, the West Senators slipped past the Manchester Greyhounds 56-49 in an exciting finish.
On Senior Night, West (11-9) saw five individuals play their final home game of their career. The seniors; Zach Frye, Zach Bolton, Austin Wetzel, Josh Bolton and JB Travis all combined for a total of 20 points.
“It was good to see those guys play together as one unit in front of the home crowd,” Senators coach Travis Bradford said. “I think they enjoyed it and those guys have worked hard.”
West will take on South Webster Friday night in the SOC II finale affair before taking on Adena Saturday. The Senators will then take on Rock Hill in a Division III Southeast Sectional Semifinal Tuesday.
Trailing by eight coming out of the locker room, Manchester (5-15) started the quarter on a 10-4 run to pull within 30-28 with 4:19 remaining. The Greyhounds then were able to grab their first lead of the game after Sean Frost hit a 3-pointer, giving them a 31-30 advantage midway through the third.
“They keep coming at us all night and it was a tough night,” Bradford said.
On the ensuing possession for the hosts, Zach Bolton answered with a 3-pointer from the corner, grabbing the lead once more. Manchester kept punching back as Austin Smith, who hit two 3-pointers in the quarter and finished with 11 points overall, answered Bolton’s triple with his own.
With both teams going back-and-forth, West appeared to be heading into the fourth quarter trailing by one. Nevertheless, sophomore Michael Davis grabbed the inbound pass with three seconds remaining and heaved up a 70-footer, only to watch the ball drop in the basket. The shot gave the Senators a 38-37 lead heading into the final frame.
“It certainly lifted our spirits and to be able to still have the lead heading into the fourth quarter after a lousy third was something we could hang our hat on,” Bradford said. “It helped us keep a positive attitude heading into the fourth.”
The battle continued in the fourth as the Greyhounds’ Braxton Gaffin tied the game at 41-41 midway through the quarter. West answered with a 7-0 run over the next two-and-half minutes giving the Senators their largest lead of the second half at 48-41.
Gaffin kept answering with baskets in the paint, scoring six in the quarter and a team-high 16 overall, pulling Manchester back within three at 50-47. But it was the senior Zach Bolton hitting two free throws that clinched the victory.
Hafer finished with a game-high of 21 points, 11 of them coming in the second half.
“We expect big games out of him and we need big games out of him,” Bradford said.
Manchester 7 11 19 12 — 49
West 13 13 12 18 — 56
Manchester — Brummet 1-0-3, Hughes 4-0-10, Frost 1-0-3, Gaffin 8-0-16, Smith 4-1-11, Hensley 1-0-2, Thomas 1-0-2, Totals 20-1-49.
West — Davis 1-0-3, Irwin 3-2-8, Frye 1-0-2, Bricker 1-2-4, Z. Bolton 3-2-10, Hafer 9-3-21, J. Bolton 1-2-5, Travis 1-0-3, Totals 20-11-56.
3-Point Goals — Manchester 5 (Hughes 2, Smith 2, Frost); West (Z. Bolton 2, Davis, J. Bolton, Travis).
Records — Manchester 5-15; West 11-9