Archive for Thursday, December 9, 2004

LHS boys win season-opener; girls fall to Free State

December 9, 2004

— The Lansing High boys' basketball team knew it would have its hands full with Harrisonville (Mo.) High's 6-foot-7 forward, Drew Gray, in the Lions' season-opener Thursday at the Bonner Springs Metro Prep Tip-off at Bonner Springs High School.

Their balanced offensive attack and aggressive defense didn't allow the big guy to be effective, however, and Lansing knocked off the Wildcats, 61-55.

The Lions will play Topeka Seaman at 4:45 p.m. Friday in the tournament semifinals at the YMCA building on Bonner Springs High's campus. Seaman knocked off Hogan Prep, 64-57, in their first-round pairing.

"I thought defensively our best work came on the boards," LHS coach Don Allen said. "We did a great job blocking out. I don't think they got more than a half-dozen second shots. Everybody locked up when the shot went up and we did a good job keeping them off the boards.

"Offensively, obviously there were some kinks. First game. I don't know if we worked some of them out tonight, but we worked them out well enough to have a little bit of success on the offensive end."

Harrisonville (1-2) came out on fire as it nailed two three-pointers and opened up an 8-2 lead. Lansing charged right back, however, as a pair of free throws by Jeff Slater and a lay-in by Ryan Robbins sparked a 9-2 run. The Lions closed the first quarter on an 8-2 run and built a 19-15 lead.

A three-pointer and two free throws by Gray pulled Harrisonville back within two points midway through the second quarter, but Lansing surged ahead behind a jumper by Chris Wagner and another put-back by Robbins and took a 30-26 lead into halftime.

Despite a big third quarter by Slater and Cody Mohan, the Lions were unable to shake Harrisonville. The Wildcats took a three-point lead late in the quarter, but Gray picked up his third foul.

Gray added a fourth foul with 7:04 left in the game and was forced to sit for the next three minutes. During that time Slater heated up and helped the Lions pull ahead by six. Harrisonville rallied and pulled back within 49-48, and had a chance to take the lead. Wagner stepped in and took a charge on the Wildcats' Reuben Hartzler that nullified a basket and swung momentum back to LHS.

"That was a big play for us," Allen said of the charge. "It turned things around. It got the momentum back in our hands a little bit and I think we came down and scored on the next possession."

A three-pointer by Mohan, two free throws by Wagner and some strong defensive play by Slater helped the Lions pull away in the final 2:25.

Slater led Lansing with a game-high 19 points. Wagner scored 12, Mohan had 10 and Robbins added eight in the win. Harrisonville had three players in double-figures, led by Gray's 15 points on 4-of-14 shooting.

Lawrence Free State 61, Lansing girls 37

For the first five minutes Thursday afternoon the Lansing High girls' basketball team resembled the crisp, up-tempo team that first-year coach Keith Andrews had envisioned.

The final 27 minutes were another story, however, as Lawrence Free State burst past LHS and handed the Lions a 61-37 loss in their season-opener and first-round game of the Bonner Springs Metro Prep Tip-off Tournament.

Amanda Radovich led the Lions with a game-high 14 points. Free State sophomore Jenna Brantley led the Firebirds with 14 points, while junior Tricia Dunham scored 12 and sophomore Lauren Kimball added 10.

"We got a real good start, I thought," Andrews said. "We came out and we rebounded well out of the zone. We got a little lead. We did some nice things, got the ball inside, and then a corner kind of turned and we kind of started thinking - or not thinking - and throwing the ball away. They had a game under their belt. We now have one.

"We're going to have some growing pains, but we've got to be able to transition to offense and defense much better."

Lansing (0-1) opened the game on-target as it burst to a 10-6 lead in the first five minutes off four points apiece from Radovich and freshman Katie Nietzke and a long jumper by senior Kendra Sickinger. At that point Free State called a timeout. Following the break the Firebirds went on an 11-0 run and never looked back.

Radovich's lay-in with 4:56 left in the second quarter snapped a 5:50 dry spell for the Lions, but it wasn't enough to get them back in the game. Instead, Free State remained red-hot. It used a balanced scoring attack throughout the first half and opened up a 31-16 lead at intermission.

The second half didn't get any prettier for LHS as it had eight turnovers in the third quarter alone and slipped further behind the Firebirds.

Lansing's lone extended stretch of clean basketball in the second half came midway through the fourth quarter when freshman Amanda Darrow sparked a Lansing spurt with a steal and layup. Radovich added four points during that run as well.

Andrews wasn't afraid to give plenty of his players an opportunity to see some action. In fact, all 13 players who suited up made it into the game. That likely will be the case again Friday when the Lions play Harrisonville (Mo.) at 3 p.m. in their consolation pairing at Bonner Springs High School.

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