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January 10. 2014 10:04PM

Big first quarter helps Manchester Central boys' to 67-56 victory over Exeter

EXETER — It's unlikely that the Manchester Central boys' basketball team will play a better eight-minute stretch this season than the first quarter it turned in during Friday night's 67-56 victory over Exeter.

After Exeter took a 2-0 lead, Central scored 30 of the next 32 points and led 30-4 entering the second. The Little Green made five 3-pointers in the quarter.

"They're a real good team and that first quarter was one of the best shooting exhibitions I've seen in 26 years of coaching," Exeter coach Jeff Holmes said. "Did they miss? No question that was the key to the game."

Senior guards Jon Martin and Brett Hanson each scored 10 points in the opening eight minutes. Central scored 16 consecutive points after Exeter opened the scoring. After the Blue Hawks made it 16-4 with 2:55 to play in the first, The Little Green scored the final 14 points of the quarter.

"It was just one of those quarters where everything went our way," Central coach Doc Wheeler said. "We've had stretches of practice where we've played like this, but we hadn't been able to translate anything like that to a game yet."

Central raised its Division I record to 3-0 with the victory. Exeter, which was 2-0 at one point, dropped to 2-3.

Martin, who played point guard for Palm Bay High School in Melbourne, Fla., last season, led all scorers with 18 points and added 10 assists. Hanson finished with 17 points, and Joe Martin, Jon's younger brother, tossed in 15.

"It was definitely the most special quarter I've ever seen," Jon Martin said. "When you execute offense like that the defense comes easy."

Central led 44-17 at halftime and 56-40 after three. Central's lead peaked at 29 points — 50-21 — early in the third.

Senior point guard Zack Holler led Exeter with 12. Max Medley, Exeter's 6-foot-6 center, had 11 and Bryant Holmes (Jeff's son) finished with 10.

It was the second time Central has beaten Exeter this season. The Little Green defeated the Blue Hawks 66-53 in the Queen City Invitational Basketball Tournament's championship game. Jon Martin had 11 rebounds in that game.

"He was excellent," Wheeler said. "Very rarely do you see a kid lead his team in scoring and assists. And he defended well, too. He just really played a great game. He's a very, very talented player."

Wheeler said the only negative from a Central standpoint was his team's performance in the second half.

"We went from playing 100 percent to 70 or 80 percent," Wheeler said. "For us, that's not good enough."

rbrown@unionleader.com


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