MCBAIN — Double-digit leads mean little in this rivalry.
Apparently, this is the way it's going to be.
McBain started strong and then had to hang on for dear life as it held off Manton 50-47 in a key Highland Conference boys basketball contest Friday night.
The win keeps the Ramblers unbeaten in the league race at the halfway point and the stress level down a little bit until later in February when the two see each other in Manton.
"It was the typical McBain-Manton finish," McBain coach Bruce Koopman laughed. "That's the way these games have all been lately.
"It was a great game. Both teams did some great things offensively and defensively, I thought."
Koopman got the start he wanted as McBain led 12-2 after the first quarter and 26-12 at halftime.
"We came out focused, played great defense, rebounded well and did so many good things," Koopman said. "Then Manton put the pressure on and we started playing on our heels."
The Ramblers were still up 41-31 going into the fourth quarter before the Rangers made things interesting.
Despite that, the hole was just a little too deep, Manton coach Ryan Hiller said.
"We dug a very big hole to start the game and even though we played really well in the second half, it was just too much to overcome. Our fourth-quarter defense was really good. We executed and it gave us a chance at the end.
"I was very proud of my guys in how they fought back. Coach Koopman had his guys ready to play. Now, it's time to learn from our mistakes and get better."
Daniel Rodenbaugh paced McBain with 15 points while Connor Murphy scored 14 and George Brown nine.
Koopman commended Brown for making a number of big plays down the stretch and helping the Ramblers preserve the victory.
"George was outstanding off the bench," he said. "We was 4 for 4 from the line down the stretch, hit a putback that was huge to put us up four and got a big defensive stop, too."
Kaleb Moore paced Manton with 17 points while Isaac Raden had 11 and Jacob Haun seven.