February 28, 2018
By: Erica Rose
The Phillipsburg boys basketball team has not won a state game in several years… but that all changed last night.  The Stateliners stepped on to their home court wasting little time, defending it. It was a crucial first quarter that looking back ultimately sealed the deal for the team. Led by the 6’6 senior, Chris Mann. Mann is headed to Army in the fall. He had 10 offers, and at first put Army on the back burner; but after stepping foot on the Black Knights campus, he knew. He knew that is where he would call home for the next four years. Mann didn’t stand out in stature, in fact there were several players who went head to head. Instead it was his talent that made an impression. Anyone who has seen him play knows what I am talking about – however it is the first time this year I was able to witness it first hand. 
Mann opened with the first two points of the game off of the rebound. That started a 12-point quarter for him, which included two 3’s. As a team the stateliners did not allow a field goal in the quarter and would lead 17-3. Dickinson would end their dry spell 9 minutes and 44 seconds into the game, and after that it would be quite exciting, but the Rams would never be able to overcome the deficit. Mann would have a quiet next two quarters but in the fourth, when it mattered most, he came alive once again. Mann would score 15 more in the 4th quarter (if my math is right, which is always questionable!) Phillipsburg would take the 74-66 victory advancing to the quarterfinal round on Thursday against the number 2 seed, in Scotch Plains Fanwood. 
***A few things to note, Mann had plenty of help in the win mainly from Richie Manigault, who finished with 21 points, 18 of them coming from behind the arc. Jayshawn Grant also had a big impact at crucial moments finishing with 13. Defense and rebounding also played a big role according to first year head coach Jerry Lloyd.