Lions edge SFT, 47-44
Lansing girls fall on the road
After two overtime losses and a five-point defeat in the last four outings despite playing their best basketball of the season, the Lansing High boys were in desperate need of a victory.
Tuesday night's meeting with Santa Fe Trail was just as close as the last four games from start to finish, but in the end the result was finally different as the Lions pulled away for the victory at the Lansing Intermediate School gymnasium.
Lansing 47, Santa Fe Trail 44.
" We're happy to get the win, there's no doubt about that," LHS coach Don Allen said. "Especially against Santa Fe because they're always pretty strong. I think it just comes down to making better decisions and finally finishing one. We finally stepped up and finished one."
The game was tooth-and-nails from start to finish, and it was evident that would be the case from the opening tip. Throughout the first half Lansing's largest lead was three points and SFT's greatest advantage was four points.
LHS forced a slow pace from the opening tip as it played patient, disciplined basketball throughout. Chris Wagner drained a three-pointer 33 seconds into the game to give LHS a 3-0 lead, but Jake Carter, Trail's 6-foot-9 forward, quickly helped his squad respond. His pair of free throws and short jumper gave the Chargers the lead. Wagner then sank a 12-foot-jumper, but Carter answered with a lay-in.
Just as Carter was starting to heat up he picked up two fouls in two minutes while trying to guard Jeff Slater and David Kern in the post.
"On offense we wanted to make him move a little bit," Allen said of the strategy against Carter. "We wanted to make an extra pass, get him out of position and then attack and make him have to lean and have to reach a little bit. I think we did a good job of that. There were a couple of his fouls where he was trying to recover that we picked up on him. We wanted to go right at him. There was no real question about that."
Carter picked up his third foul early in the second quarter, so SFT was forced to rely on its perimeter game. Shawn Conklin buried a pair of three-pointers that helped the Chargers maintain a 22-20 advantage at halftime.
Trail nailed its first two baskets of the second half and pushed its lead to 27-20, but LHS responded by making four straight shots - two jumpers by Wagner, a lay-in by Kern and a three by Wagner - and suddenly the game was tied at 29-all.
Kern continued to heat up throughout the second half. His put-back early in the fourth quarter tied the game at 35-all, and then he made three out of four free throws for force another tie at 38.
Slater's baseline jumper with 4:58 remaining gave LHS its first lead of the second half at 40-38. A Slater free throw and a lay-in by Kern bumped the lead to 43-40 before Carter responded with back-to-back baskets that put SFT back on top, 44-43. Moments later he was whistled for his fifth foul for pushing Slater to the floor. With their giant gone from the inside, the Chargers never scored again.
Wagner's 15-footer with 1:54 left gave LHS the lead for good. Cody Mohan and Slater each sank a free throw to bolster the lead. Conklin's three-pointer at the buzzer rattled out and the Lions survived.
"It's a big confidence booster," Kern said of the win. "The last couple games we've dropped have been close. It just kind of hurt our self esteem. Finally winning one feels good."
Kern and Wagner led the Lions with 17 points apiece, Slater scored eight, Matt Warner had four points and a half-dozen rebounds, and Mohan chipped in a free throw. Jeff Jackson was the only other LHS player to get in the game and although he didn't score he contributed solid defense inside against Carter.
Lansing closes out the regular season at 7:30 p.m. Thursday when it travels to Bonner Springs High School. Bonner (13-6) won the first meeting, 67-56, on Jan. 14 at the Lansing Intermediate School gym.
Santa Fe Trail 64, Lansing girls 57
The Lansing High girls' offense was sizzling for the first three quarters as they matched Santa Fe Trail shot for shot, but when Trail's offense cooled off in the fourth, so did the Lions' hot hands.
SFT never made a definitive run, but it eventually pulled away for the 64-57 victory on Tuesday night at Trail.
Lansing had three players score in double figures, led by junior Rachel Darrow's 18 points. Senior Emily Goodlin scored 14, junior Amanda Radovich had 14, senior Kendra Sickinger scored four and freshman Katie Nietzke added three. Seniors Melissa Casto and Monique Richardson chipped in two points apiece.
Trail had three players score in double figures.
The Lions (10-9, 7-5 KVL) will close out the regular season at 6 p.m. Thursday at Bonner Springs. The Bravettes (7-12) edged LHS, 52-51, on Jan. 14 when they sank a three-pointer at the buzzer for the win.