LHS boys earn season sweep of Tongie
68-55 victory is Lansing’s third of year against THS
Tonganoxie It's hard to imagine seeing a pretty game when Lansing and Tonganoxie meet in boys basketball, but that was the case Friday night during Lansing's 68-55 victory.
Get this: Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the field. Both teams shot better than 70 percent from the free throw line. The two teams combined to go 6-for-10 from three-point range. All of that, and there were just 31 fouls called in the entire game.
It was an unusual sight from two teams that are known for their hard-knocks clashes every time they step on the hardwood, but it was a sight that was pleasing to LHS coach Don Allen.
"We sure tried on the defensive end to not get into that kind of (an ugly) basketball game," Allen said. "When it gets physical, like a lot of those games are, sometimes you have a tendency to get lazy on defense and kind of go with the flow. We had talked about that we didn't want it to end up with 40 fouls on each side of the board tonight."
The Lions (8-8 overall, 6-4 Kaw Valley League) avoided letting the game turn sloppy because they played smart, tough defense. They turned turnovers into points, and they limited the Chieftains to just four free-throw attempts all night.
"I thought for the most part tonight we did a pretty good job of blocking out moving our feet on defense," Allen said.
Lansing found an offensive rhythm early. Chris Wagner scored the game's first bucket on a put-back. On the next three possessions, Matt Warner, Jeff Slater and Cody Mohan all knocked down open jump shots. Then Warner came off a screen and sank another. That gave LHS a 10-2 lead after two minutes.
Slater, David Kern and Jeff Jackson quickly became comfortable in the post and started piling up the points for Lansing. As the three forwards found a rhythm, the lead grew to 22-13.
"It was just a good tempo to it for us," Allen said. "They shut down some of the inside, (and) we had a couple guys step up and hit some mid-range jumpers. That opened it back up a little bit. Then we went back inside to Slater and Jackson and David."
Tonganoxie (0-16, 0-9) never let up, however. It slugged its way back into the game with a bucket by Bryan Morris, a floater from Tyler Miles, a layup by Gabe Belabrajdic and a three-pointer by Jordan Herron.
Just as the Chieftains pulled close, the Lions closed the first half with a pair of free throws from Wagner and a bucket by Slater to take a 35-26 lead into halftime.
Lansing opened the third quarter strong as it turned two Tongie turnovers into baskets by Warner. That pushed the lead to double-digits, but it didn't last long. Miles scored two buckets for THS and Jeff Hughes drained a three-pointer to pull within 41-34.
A put-back by Jackson with 3:30 left in the third quarter halted Tongie's 7-0 run and helped LHS regroup and put the game away. Mohan scored seven points in the next four minutes to help push the lead back to double-digits. Four straight points from Austin Reynolds midway through the fourth quarter pushed the lead to 18 points and officially sealed the victory.
"Reynolds had a great game tonight. He played real for us," Allen said of his reserve forward. "Jeff Jackson played pretty well. I thought the inside guys played real well for us."
Although Tonganoxie remains winless this season, Allen said he was impressed with their gritty effort from the opening tip to the final whistle.
"They played as hard in the half-court set as anybody we've played all year," Allen said. "They made us work."
Slater led Lansing with a game-high 20 points on eight-for-15 shooting. Mohan scored 12 points, Warner had 10, Jackson and Wagner added eight apiece, Kern had six and Reynolds chipped in four. Miles led Tonganoxie with 18 points and Kissinger and Hughes had 11 apiece.
Lansing next plays at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when Bishop Ward visits LHS.