Van Buren girls win thriller, boys fall

DONNELLSON — The Van Buren County girls are playing some of the best basketball in the area, and they showed that on Tuesday night. The Warrior girls won a nail-biter, 55-54 over Central Lee on Tuesday night. The boys followed with a 76-53 loss.

The Van Buren girls had to overcome a second-half deficit against a tough Central Lee squad. The Warriors trailed 14-13 after one quarter, and 29-25 at halftime.

Van Buren battled back to lead in the third period. The Warriors scored 18 points in that eight-minute stretch and held a 43-39 lead after three quarters. Isabel Manning scored an incredible 32 points in the first three quarters.

The game came down to the final seconds. Jaelyn Boley hit two free throws with five seconds left on the clock, and Ella Jirak made the defensive stop at the buzzer to help the Warrior girls win their third game in a row, and six of their last seven.

Manning finished the night with 36 points and 11 rebounds. She went 3-for-4 from 3-point range. Jirak scored seven points. Boley had six. Zoe Best scored four, and both Annabell Cormier and Ivey Davidson had one.

The Van Buren boys couldn’t contain Central Lee’s offense. The Hawks knocked down six 3-pointers in the first quarter to take a 34-13 lead into the first horn. Central Lee led 47-25 at halftime and 58-42 after three.

Jackson Manning scored 24 points for Van Buren, including four makes from outside. Wyatt Mertens had nine.

The Van Buren girls are now 8-3 overall and 7-2 in the South. The boys are 0-9 and 0-7. Both teams will host Notre Dame on Friday night.