Lansing girls eager for postseason opportunity
One year ago the Lansing High girls' basketball team was counting down the days to the end of its seven-win, drama-filled season with many of the players ready for it to be over.
Not this time around.
No, this bunch of Lions boasts a 10-9 record and will be the No. 5-seed when sub-state play opens next week. These Lions are brimming with confidence and dreams of extending its season all the way to the state tournament.
"We had that big losing streak of seven or eight games in a row, and everybody wanted it to be over," senior Kendra Sickinger said of the 2003-2004 season. "Nobody really had the heart to want to win it. Our team was capable of doing whatever it wanted to, but nobody stepped up.
"This year it's definitely a different feeling. : I don't want this to end because it's my last year, and I want to keep going as far as we can go."
Leading scorer Amanda Radovich, a junior forward, agreed.
"Last year we were at each others' throats," she said. "This year we're definitely not ready for it to end. We want to do well at sub-state and keep going. We don't want it to end."
Lansing first-year coach Keith Andrews told his team at the beginning of the season that the key to its success would be maintaining a positive attitude regardless of what happened on the court. He said seniors Sickinger, Melissa Casto, Emily Goodlin and Monique Richardson took that to heart and made sure the squad had unity.
Even a few mid-season losing skids of two and three games did not derail the progress the Lions made.
"Win, lose or draw, we're playing hard and we're having fun still," Andrews said. "That's the most important thing. But they are doing some things right, and they have a better understanding of what we want to do. We're getting the ball inside, we're swinging it with Rachel (Darrow) and Katie (Nietzke) shooting the ball outside. That opens it up and makes us a little bit tougher to guard. It's fun, and it's neat to see."
Now, LHS is entering the home stretch of the season on a two-game winning streak and eyeing its best finish in recent memory. The Lions will try to make more progress during their 6 p.m. game tonight at Bonner Springs. It's their final tune-up before sub-state begins, and it's also an opportunity to gain some revenge after the Bravettes shocked Lansing, 52-51, with a last-second three-pointer on Jan. 14.
Regardless of the outcome against Bonner, however, the Lions said they are excited for the opportunity to take what they've learned during the regular season and try to upset either Gardner-Edgerton or Topeka Seaman in their first sub-state game as a member of Class 5A.
"We'll see who we've got and give them a good effort," Andrews said. "On any given night, if we get it going on all cylinders and play hard, we can compete with people. The biggest thing is giving yourself a chance."