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Manning High School

Manning heads to Bishop England looking of the sweep

By Neill Kirkpatrick

Staff Writer

Goose Creek – This Friday is “Showdown Friday” in region VII AAA as the Manning high Monarchs head to Daniel Island to take on the Battling Bishops of Bishop England in key boys and girls regions games.

The Lady’s match up is a battle of top three teams in second ranked Manning and third ranked Bishop England. Manning comes into the game at 14-3/4-0, having won five in a row while Bishop England is 11-6/4-0 and has won three in a row. Both team’s play excellent defense allowing less than 40 points per game and they score 55 points a night. This should be a great game.

“One of our goals for the season is to win the region and to do that you have to go through Bishop England,” said Manning head coach Darren Mazyck. “We know this will be a tough match up, but we feel our schedule has us ready. This type of game is why you play and coach.”

Leading the Lady Monarch’s this season is one of the top players in the state 5-9 senior Measha Jones. The returning All-Region performer leads Manning in scoring at 18 points per game and has a chance to reach the 1000-point mark for her career this season. She can score on the inside and step out to drain a three while dishing out four assists per night.

Jones is also a demon on the defensive end of the floor, leading the lady Monarchs is steals with 8 a game to go with 5.5 blocks per contest. By the way she pulls down 10 rebounds as well.

“Measha is the engine that makes us go. She leads by example and gives it her all every night,” says coach Mazyck.

Far from a one-lady show the Lady Monarchs have two other seniors who dominate in the low block in Myisha Smiling and Sequoia Junious. Smiling (5-11) is also a returning All-Region performer who passed the 1000 career point mark earlier this year. She averages 14 points and a team high 15 rebounds. She is looking to have her second season averaging a double/ double. Last year she scored 19.8 points per game and grabbed 10 boards a game.

Junious (5-10) is also averaging in double figures at 10 a game and she pulls down 9 boards a night. She has been on the varsity since eighth grade.

“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 give us an advantage every night in the paint,” coach Mazyck said.

The Lady Monarch’s fourth senior is Tajabrenoca Dow. The 4-10 guard is a terror on defense and is chipping in 7 points a game.

Junior center Star Logan has provided solid minutes off the bench and swats away four shots a night. She is also one of the teams three-point threats from the wing.

Two freshmen and one sophomore are also counted on heavily by coach Mazyck in Taylor Gourdine and La’tavius Wilson and Staclyn Bell. Bell has moved up from the JV while both Gourdine and Wilson came from the middles school team.

Wilson (5-10) is handing out five dimes a night and leads the team in steals at five per game.

The rest of the Lady Monarch are juniors guard Meyah Andrews (5-6) and center Arionna Murray (6-0), sophomore center Keyah Jones (5-5) and freshmen forwards Essence James (5-9) and Diamond Dundy (5-9).

 “Our expectations coming into the season are to win the region and make a deep run in the play-offs and possibly win a state championship. Friday night we can take a big step toward that goal,” said coach Mazyck. “We just need to relax and play within ourselves. We have been inconsistent at times this season on offense, but we have played good defense all year and that is what we preach. We tell the girls to take care of the little details and the big things will take care of themselves.”

The Manning boys team has a tall task ahead of them Friday night when they take on the undefeated and second ranked AAA Battling Bishops. Bishop England comes into the game at 19-0/ 4-0. They have outscored their opponents by 15 points a night averaging 65.7 points per game while only allowing 50.5 points per game.

The best word to describe the 2019/20 Monarchs is Inconsistent. They are currently 10-7 overall and just 2-2 in the region two games behind Bishop England. Which makes Friday night’s game a must win for the Monarchs if they want to defend their 2018/19 region championship.

“We have played well at times this season, but we haven’t been able to get a win streak going since early in the year. We had a good win Tuesday against Hanahan, but we had lapses in that game where we didn’t play Manning basketball,” said head coach Rolando Shuler. “We will have to play our best game of the year if we want to have a chance to pull out a win.”

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 more of a mindset and we just need to get there if we want to achieve the goals we set for the year.”

Senior Leondria Nelson (6-3) continues to have a stellar senior season as he is s averaging 12.8 points a game. The 6-3 wing player also leads the team in rebounding, assist and steals at 9.8, 3.8 and 4.3 respectively.

“Leondria has been the one consistent for us all year. He comes to play every night,” coach Shuler said.

Junior JaQuan Fletcher (5-9) is second in scoring at 10.6 points per game and in steals with 2.4 a game.

Freshmen guard Justin Daniels (5-11) is close to averaging in double figures at 9.7 points per contest while fellow freshman forward Jehqwauyn Hilton (6-4) is second on the team in rebounding at 6.8.

Aaron Smith (6-1) is third in the team in rebounding at 6.3 a game. The senior was recently named to the High School Sports Report AAA All-State team at linebacker.

Guard Xavier Hicks (5-9) and wing Dejuan Felder (5-11) have played well off the bench with both averaging over five points a night. The seniors also play good on the ball defense.

“We can’t wait to throw the ball up Friday night. Games like this are you lace them up,” coach Shuler said.

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