Archive for Thursday, December 7, 2006

Snow days not ideal prior to playing Bishop Miege

December 7, 2006

Rod Briggs is no fan of snow days, and not just because students miss a valuable day of class.

The first-year Lansing High boys basketball coach was frustrated last week when winter weather cost the Lions three days of practice. After-school practices were canceled Wednesday as sleet and plummeting temperatures made roads icy. The weather kept students home from school on Thursday and Friday as well, and district policy says that if school is canceled, so are sporting events.

"You lose practice time, and you never get that back," said Briggs, whose squad was unable to play its scheduled season-opener Friday against Bonner Springs.

LHS practiced for four hours Saturday, Briggs said. The Lions also put in an extra 45 minutes of work before school Monday and Tuesday to make up for lost time.

"I've tried to get those days back as best I could," Briggs said. "But we lost a lot of conditioning during those three days and we lost some execution and focus. You can't do anything about the weather, but it really does hurt your progress."

Fortunately for Lansing, Bishop Miege had its first two games of the season canceled because of snow. That means both squads should be a bit rusty for their 4:45 p.m. game today in the first round of the Bonner Springs Metro Prep Tipoff Classic Tournament at Bonner Springs High School.

"One of the things to our advantage is Miege hasn't seen us and we haven't seen them," Briggs said.

Other teams in the tournament are Atchison, Shawnee Heights, Savannah (Mo.), Kansas City (Mo.) Northeast, Bonner Springs and Topeka Seaman.

Miege, ranked third in Kansas Class 5A, hasn't had the chance to see Lansing play a game under its first-year coach. Meanwhile, LHS hasn't seen the Stags play either, but Briggs has an idea what to prepare for. His 2004 club at Liberal faced Miege in the first round of the state tournament.

Briggs also said assistant coach Ben Doll was able to offer insight into Miege's strategy. Doll taught for seven years at St. Thomas Aquinas, Miege's biggest rival.

"We know that they're going to be very simple and try to use their athleticism," Briggs said.

The Stags return four starters from last year's state tournament squad. They've also added 6-foot-5 junior Travis Releford, a transfer from Kansas City (Mo.) Central who is a top 50 prospect according to Rivals.com.

"I don't know if we had a million years we could prepare for him," Briggs said of devising a plan to contain Releford. "But it's the preparation for the whole season that I'm concerned with."

Briggs chuckled at the thought that playing three games in three days at the tournament would help his players make up for any conditioning lost during the snow days. On a more serious note, he said the games would give the Lions a good idea what their strengths and weaknesses are.

"We'll see some different playing styles and different things defensively," he said. "It will help us see where we're at, and hopefully we'll come out of that with a positive attitude and we'll keep getting better. Whether we're winning or losing, we still have to be improving."

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