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PETOSKEY Breslin was calling. Manton answered.

With a shoulder shimmy on the left wing, an explosive drive to the elbow and a picture perfect pull up jumper over the defense, Jayden Perry hit the game winning shot in overtime to beat Negaunne 51 49 and send the Rangers to the Class C state semifinals and Michigan State’s Breslin Center.

“I like taking jump shots. That’s my shot, and I practice that all the time,” Perry said. “I knew as soon as I jumped. I knew it was going in. I could feel it.”

Manton head coach Ryan Hiller said Perry’s shot embodies the work the junior has put in since his freshman year when he had the ball in his hands during the closing moments of a loss to rival McBain.

“It was emotional for him, but he built on that,” Hill said. “I knew Perry was taking the (winning) shot. He works so hard. He’s the hardest worker out of anybody I’ve ever coached.”

Manton’s student section the Ranger Rowdies roared, Hiller led the charge off the Manton Bench to celebrate the shot and teammate Hunter Ruell lifted Perry off the floor.

Only the game wasn’t over.

Officials ruled Negaunee had called a timeout immediately following the basket and placed two seconds back on the clock, which had erroneously expired amid the celebration.

Manton remained calm through a series of consecutive timeouts by both teams and forced a heavily contested last second shot for Negaunee that failed to hit rim.

“Everyone was jumping around and we were all happy,” Perry said. “They put the two seconds back on, and I thought we did a great job regrouping and finishing it out.”

Manton’s victory marks the Rangers’ first trip to the state semifinal round since 1996, when the Rangers led by then player Ryan Hiller reached the state championship game.

Hiller said reaching the Breslin Center as a coach tops his visit as a player.

“It’s more gratifying,
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” he said. “I have fond memories, but you don’t realize how much work you put in as a coach. Hours and hours and hours of preparing and all the decision making.”

Perhaps one of the biggest decisions of Tuesday’s game came in the closing seconds of regulation. Negaunee had the ball with 25.5 seconds remaining and the score tied at 42. The Miners were going to hold the ball for the last shot, but Hiller decided to have him team trap the ball handler. The move paid off as the Rangers forced a turnover and wound up with the final chance to win the game in regulation.

Hiller knew it was a gutsy decision because of what might happen if the trap didn’t work an easy Miner basket and a loss.

“You don’t want to let down your community,” he said. “You don’t want to let down your kids. They trust you.”

Manton got off to a quick start in overtime with a 3 pointer by Trever Salani on the Rangers’ first possession. The lead held until Negaunee’s Dre Tuominen made a twisting layup he shot facing away from the basket to tie the game at 49.

Perry’s winner made the tremendous bucket moot.

“I’m having trouble with words,” Salani said after the game.

Ruell filled them in: “Best feeling ever.”

Ruell and Salani led the Rangers with 14 points apiece, while Perry scored 13. The trio were the only three players to score in the overtime session for Manton.

Treh Helsel added six points, and Darius Potter contributed solid production off the bench with four points.

The Rangers had yet another great night at the free throw line, converting 9 of 11 shots.

Manton practiced various zone defenses all week to try to stop Negaunee’s two headed monster of Tuominen and Trent Bell.

They played man to man exclusively after Jacob Ennett hit three three pointers in the second quarter.

“He was the guy we were gonna let beat us, and he was having a good night,” Hiller said. “You have to switch your game plan.”

Ennett finished with nine points, Tuominen scored 12 and Bell led all scorers with 22, including 10 of 11 at the charity stripe and several easy buckets via offensive rebounds.
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