GRAYLING — It’s one thing to know high-pressure defense is coming. As Hart learned Tuesday, it’s quite another to actually go up against it.
The Pirates were blitzed early by an aggressive, quick and athletic Manton defense in the Division 3 regional semifinals, falling behind big early and never overcoming it in a 51-36 defeat.
The #10-ranked Rangers relentlessly got in Hart’s face when the Pirates had the ball, even after defensive rebounds, flustering the Hart players. Manton also came out red-hot from the field, building a 19-4 lead after a quarter that swelled to 30-9 at one point in the second.
“We knew it was coming,” Hart coach Travis Rosema said. “We’d watched them on film. Obviously, they’re the best defensive team we played this year. No offense to anyone in our conference, but that was a different level tonight. It took us a minute to adjust to it.”
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