Archive for Saturday, January 22, 2005

Boys trip Tongie in OT; girls fall to Jeff West

January 22, 2005

— Just when it looked like the Lansing High boys' basketball team was about to cash in its chips on the season, the Lions responded with a vengeance.

They gave away a game against Pleasant Ridge on Monday for their fourth straight loss, but then gritted out a 56-41 win over Silver Lake Friday. Then they took it up another level Saturday in the fifth-place game of the Tonganoxie Invitational Tournament.

Lansing played a putrid first half but scrapped back from a 15-point deficit. Junior Chris Wagner made back-to-back steals in the final minute that led to layups and forced overtime. Then the Lions (4-6) surged away for the 49-46 victory over rival Tonganoxie.

The Kaw Valley League foes will meet again at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at THS when they return to league action.

Lansing scored the first four points of the game while Tongie missed its first four shots. After that, the Chieftains closed the first quarter on a 9-2 run. A three-point play by LHS junior Jeff Slater tied the game, but Tongie then blew the game open with a 9-0 run. THS stretched its advantage to 27-14 before Lansing coach Don Allen had seen enough. Irked by the lack of focus by his starters, Allen rarely-used reserves Jeff Collins, Joe Kohl, Javen Kelly, Austin Reynolds and Keith Valverde.

The back-ups gave LHS the burst of energy it needed. Kohl and Kelly sank jumpers and Valverde drained a pair of free throws as Lansing pulled within 24-18 by halftime.

Tongie pushed its lead back to 11 in the third quarter before the Lions began their final march back. Two turnaround jumpers by Slater, a jumper by junior David Kern and a put-back by sophomore Jeff Jackson trimmed the deficit to 35-30.

Lansing inched closer on buckets by Slater and junior Cody Mohan. A three-pointer by Mohan trimmed the deficit to two. A blocked shot by Jackson kept things close before Wagner's steals forced overtime.

Wagner scored on a layup on Lansing's first possession of overtime for a 43-41 lead. Then Slater sank two free throws for a four-point lead. Tongie's Sam Mitchell drained a three-pointer to pull the Chieftains within one, but Mitchell was whistled for an intentional foul at the other end. Mohan confidently sank both free throws, and Slater added two more from the stripe that sealed the win for the Lions.

Slater scored a game-high 22 points, Mohan had seven and Kern added six. Mitchell led Tonganoxie with 20 points. Kirk Rodell added 10 for the Chieftains.

Jeff West 65, Lansing girls 61

After winning four games in a row, the Lansing High girls are starting to find out they still have some weaknesses to improve upon.

They've lost three of their last four games, including two straight after losing a 65-61 decision to Jeff West in the third-place game of the Tonganoxie Invitational Tournament.

The Lions (5-5 overall, 3-1 KVL) likely could be 8-2 however, if they'd make their free throws, box out occasionally and play better interior defense. Those are three areas coach Keith Andrews has harped on his squad about for weeks, and the Lions finally may be getting the message.

The Lions trailed by as many was seven points in the first quarter but trailed just 17-14 after the first eight minutes because of timely three-pointers by Rachel Darrow. Most of Jeff West's points came off of easy put-backs of misses.

There was more of the same in the second quarter as the Tigers continued to dominate with offensive rebounds. Improved free throw shooting helped the Lions hang around, though, as Monique Richardson and Katie Nietzke each sank a pair from the stripe and Melissa Casto and Nichole Twitchell added one apiece. Riann Deere's put-back at the buzzer brought LHS within 33-26 at intermission.

Fortunately for the Lions, they haven't quit in any game this year. That never-say-die attitude is why they almost rallied for the win.

LHS came out firing in the third quarter and surged into the lead, 38-37, when Casto found Amanda Radovich under the basket for back-to-back lay-ins. Jeff West retook the lead, but Darrow sank her third three-pointer of the game to put the Lions back on top, 41-40. The Tigers scored the last four points of the quarter and Lansing never led again. Twitchell scored 10 points in the quarter and kept LHS close, but it never was quite enough.

Twitchell led the Lions with a season-high 15 points. Radovich added 10, Darrow scored nine and Casto chipped in a season-best eight points.

The Lions next play at 6 p.m. Tuesday when they play at Tonganoxie.

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