Manzanero came out hard in the third quarter, scoring three straight baskets in less than two minutes to keep Unatego ahead.
“This was a close game and we needed to get it going,” said Manzanero, who also had four rebounds, two steals and drew a charge in the third period, following a four-point first half. “If at least someone on the team keeps going and shows that we’re going to be there and play, then the rest of the people pick up on the enthusiasm. I think that’s what happened and it worked.”
Manzanero’s mini-run in the third turned a 30-28 deficit into a 34-30 lead for Unatego, which stayed ahead by five points or less the rest of the game.
Manzanero came through at the foul line twice in the last 2:03. She first hit both ends of a 1-and-1 opportunity to give the Spartans a 46-41 lead, then did the same with 21 seconds to go for the final margin.
There was no question, though, that this was a true team victory for the Spartans.
“That’s what sectionals is,” said Manzanero, who finished with a game-high 14 points and 10 rebounds. “Everyone has to contribute. If you have a team with one great player, it’s really hard to win sectionals. I think I’ve had under 10 points every (sectional) game and I’m fine with that because we’re winning. The only thing that matters is we have one more point than the other team.”