Fire and ice. A one-two punch. The inside-out combo. A Taylor-made win with a cup of Jo.
Taylor Schieber and Josiah Ray were all of that for Derby on Friday, contributing flash and power that overwhelmed Manhattan in a 78-67 victory.
Schieber started the season off on a high note, punching in 10 points in the first quarter. Derby broke out with a 16-4 run on its way to a 22-11 lead after eight minutes.
“They were giving me open shots,” Schieber said. “The defense was sagging off of me, and my teammates were just finding me open.”
Uncontested opportunities are a mistake to give to Schieber. But Manhattan learned, eventually rerouting its zone defense to check Schieber – and in the process, leaving Ray unaccounted for.
Ray carried the load from there. He pierced the Manhattan defense for 19 points while chipping in nine rebounds and three blocks to seal the season opening win for the Panthers.
The Indians hung around late into the third quarter, staying within striking distance with a 47-33 deficit.
It was at that point that the rest of the Derby attack made its presence known.
Dylan Hunter waited for the defense to come closer to him. When Manhattan chose not to, he popped a 3-pointer. Paul Theis followed with a bruising two points inside. Tyler Chambers drilled one from beyond the arc.
It was all part of a 13-0 spurt by the Panthers, capped off when Shane Swink hustled for a rebound and fed the hungry Ray in the paint for a bucket and a 60-33 advantage.
“The unknown guys might be unknown to other people, but on our team, we know they can play very special roles when they get in the game,” Ray said. “It doesn't really matter who's in the game. They can provide a spark whenever needed, and they know what they need to do to carry the team.”
Manhattan put together its own 10-point run into the fourth quarter, but the damage was done. The final 11-point margin would be the closest the Indians would get again.
Jacob Holloway did his part to get Manhattan momentum in the fourth quarter, hitting 14 of his game-high 21 points in the final period.
“He's very confident. He's obviously able to shoot the ball, and we've got other guys that can, as well,” said Manhattan head coach Tim Brooks. “But tonight was his night. He was feeling it. They all came at good times.”
Holloway's late game performance made for a fun duel with Schieber, who finished with 17.
“He hit some shots on me. I hit a couple on him, but he probably had more on me,” Schieber said. “It was fun. He's a good athlete. Good shooter – great shooter.”
Winston Dimel added 13 points for Manhattan. Zach Osborn added 12 for Derby.
Brooks said the Indians are learning with an inexperienced varsity group. He saw positives, especially in his team's ability to break down the press in the second half.
That problem was not lost on the Panthers, even in victory. Derby vows to laser in on its lackadaisical ending.
“Defense, obviously,” Schieber said. “They scored over 50 points in the second half. We can't let any teams do that.”
The Manhattan girls' team started its campaign with a 60-36 victory at Derby.
Derby stayed in it late, as a 3-pointer from Chandler Benway trimmed the Indians' lead to 39-30. However, the fourth quarter started off as a disaster for the Panthers.
A technical foul on the bench gave a four-point swing to Manhattan, pushing its edge to 45-30. Later, Alyxis Bowens fouled out for Derby, leaving the Panthers without their best interior presence. Manhattan broke the game open from there.