It wasn’t the complete performance head coach Jimmy Just wanted, but the Manual High School boys’ basketball team was good enough Tuesday to remain undefeated.
North Carolina-Asheville signee Dwayne Sutton posted 22 points and 15 rebounds and Chris West added 18 points as the Crimsons beat host Butler 66-64.
Manual (6-0) — No. 24 in The Courier-Journal’s preseason poll of coaches — built a 45-26 lead midway through the third quarter before Butler (2-4) rallied.
“I wasn’t pleased with the way we played tonight,” Just said. “We were doing some things better offensively and defensively, but tonight I thought we started relaxing.”
Sutton’s two free throws gave the Crimsons a 45-26 lead with 5:11 left in the third quarter before the Bears rallied.
Austin Wise’s 3-point play pulled the Bears within 58-55 with 2:16 left, but West hit four straight free throws to put Manual up 62-55.
With the Crimsons ahead 66-61, Will Johnson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the final margin.
Manual finished 30 of 39 (76.9 percent) from the free-throw line, including 20 of 26 in the second half.
Johnson scored 25 points to lead the Bears, who played without two senior starters. Coach Rick Gibson said Drue Wardrip likely will miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury. Jalen Bradley’s status is uncertain because of a heart condition.
“Down 19, we would have folded in that situation last year and it would have been a 30-point game,” Gibson said. “I’m not into moral victories, but I’m proud of the way we kept competing.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and followed on Twitter @kyhighs.