Archive for Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cyclones survive clash with Lions

February 15, 2006

The Lansing High boys basketball team had three shots for the win in the final 10 seconds Tuesday night against Bishop Ward.

All three shots missed.

Bishop Ward 62, Lansing 61.

The final seconds unfolded perfectly for Lansing. Trailing by three with 17 seconds left, David Kern sank a pair of free throws to trim the deficit to one. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Kern fouled Ward's David Yadrich.

Sixteen seconds left.

Yadrich stepped to the line for a one-and-one. His free throw try clanked off the rim to the left. That gave Lansing ample time to run its offense and go for the win.

Kern caught a pass. Took a hard dribble to the basket and put up a shot that was blocked by Yadrich. Chris Wagner came up with the loose ball and fired a three-pointer that was a little short. Wagner charged in, grabbed his own rebound and fired again from eight feet away. That one also drew the front iron.

"You think at home you'll get you a roll in that situation," LHS coach Don Allen said. "I thought it played out well for us. We had to give some fouls to keep some time on the clock. We got them shooting one-and-ones with 30 seconds left in the game and it's only a one-point basketball game. They did what we wanted them to do."

Still, the shots didn't fall and Lansing lost the game.

Allen wasn't frustrated with the last possession, however. It was what took place at the end of the first quarter and in the four minutes prior to the last shots that bothered him the most.

The Lions (8-9 overall, 6-5 Kaw Valley League) dug themselves a 16-6 hole late in the first quarter when they tried to go one-on-one too much and missed some easy shots. A hard-fought second-quarter effort turned things around. Cody Mohan sank back-to-back jumpers to kick-start a 21-5 run. Also during that stretch, Wagner banked home back-to-back jumpers, Stephen Didde had a steal and a bucket, and Kern and Jeff Jackson both blocked a pair of shots. Jackson capped the run with a tip-in in traffic.

Leading 31-21, LHS was in position to put the game away, but Jeff Slater missed a wide-open layup on a fast break. Ward took it the other way and scored on a layup by Xavier Credit. On its next possession, Ward's Chris Wing went the length of the court for a layup. That trimmed Lansing's lead to 31-25 at the half and caused a momentum shift.

"We give up a 10- or 12-point lead, whatever it was, and we go into the locker room up 12 instead of five," Allen said. "I think that changes the whole complexion of the basketball game."

The third quarter was played mostly even, thanks in large part to a few big shots by Matt Warner and two timely buckets by Jackson. When Wad pulled within four points, Warner drilled a three-pointer. After another Cyclone basket, Jackson answered with a lay-in. Later in the quarter after Ward took a lead, Slater scored on a jumper and Warner followed with a three-pointer to push the lead back to four points.

"Matt Warner continues to shoot the ball well," Allen said, noting that the senior sharp-shooter has been on fire for the last half-dozen games.

The Lions took a three-point lead into the fourth quarter, but it didn't last. The Cyclones' Jay Burns scored three quick points and tied the game with 7:27 left. Slater answered with four straight points to give the Lions a 51-47 lead with 5:20 remaining, but that wasn't enough.

The Cyclones hit four straight shots during a 9-0 run and surged to a 56-53 lead with 3:48 left. That proved to be too much for the Lions to overcome down the stretch.

"The tempo was more to our liking in the second half," Allen said, "but coming down the stretch we just didn't get it done. We didn't hit open shots. That's the bottom line."

Allen praised the defensive effort of Mohan, Wagner, Warner and Javen Kelly on the perimeter as they limited Ward to just five three-pointers, a low number for the Cyclones' lethal perimeter shooters.

"We went in with the idea of how we wanted to play it, and those guys - Cody and Matt and Chris and Javen - I'm extremely happy with the way we played defense on the perimeter," Allen said. "Those guys (Ward's guards), if they get stroking from the outside, they'll blow you out of the gym."

It wasn't Ward's offensive woes that ultimately were the difference, though. It was Lansing's. LHS made just 24 of 60 shots. Only Jackson and Didde made more than half of their shots. Didde was one-for-one and Jackson was three-for-four. Jackson also had four blocked shots.

"(Didde) and Jackson came in and really sparked us," Allen said.

Slater led Lansing with a game-high 18 points on six-for-14 shooting. Warner had 11 points, Kern and Wagner scored nine apiece, Jackson and Mohan each scored six and Didde finished with two. Brad Gard led Ward with 16 points, James Cox had 15 and Chris Wing added 14.

The Lions next play at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Turner at Johnsmeyer Gym. Friday is Senior Night.


Kiss that ranking goodbye.

Despite losing to Tonganoxie on Friday night, the Lansing High girls basketball team retained its No. 9 state ranking this week in the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association poll.

The coaches certainly won't give the Lions the benefit of the doubt again. Not after the way they squandered away what seemed to be a sure-win Tuesday night against the Bishop Ward Cyclones at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

The Lions lacked focus from the beginning, then wilted the moment the Cyclones turned up the intensity in the third quarter. Less than a week after being just one game out of first in the Kaw Valley League, the Lions are in a tailspin toward third place or worse.

Bishop Ward 59, Lansing 50.

Lansing (11-6 overall, 8-3 Kaw Valley League) lacked defensive intensity from the very beginning, but it was efficient enough on offense to take an early lead. Senior forward Amanda Radovich scored eight points in the opening quarter as LHS took a 14-12 lead. The advantage grew to 26-19 by halftime as Radovich continued to be effective inside and Katie Nietzke pumped in five points.

The Lions seemed to be in good shape, but that was the point things turned sour. The Cyclones caught fire early in the third quarter as Staci Grinostaff and Katie Delich each knocked down three-pointers. In previous games when such things happened, the Lions usually responded with a three-pointer by Nietzke, a steal by Nichole Twitchel or by pounding the ball inside. This time they did none of the above. Instead, they slacked off on defense and turned the ball over six times.

After being outscored 14-5 in the third quarter and falling behind 33-31, the Lions rallied behind an inspired eight-point effort from senior Rachel Darrow in the fourth quarter, but it wsa too little too late.

"In the second half (the Cyclones) came out and shot the ball well, and we sat back and watched them and let them," Andrews said. "We just weren't ready to play. We didn't practice very well last night. I think our No. 9 ranking went to our head or whatever.

"There's no way they should have beat us, but we come out without the energy and without the effort. We were just a step slow. It was just like practice last night. You play the way you practice, so that's exactly what we deserved tonight."

Radovich led Lansing with 22 points, Rachel Darrow had 12 and Nietzke scored 10. Twitchel scored three points and Amanda Darrow and Elizabeth Cristiano added two apiece. Delich led Ward with 22 points and Hattie Gorman scored 10.

Tuesday night wasn't the first time Lansing has given a halfhearted effort against a team of equal or lesser talent this season and lost as a result of it. The same thing happened during the Tonganoxie Invitational Tournament when effort was nonexistent in an 18-point loss to Silver Lake.

The loss to Ward was more troubling to Andrews because a lot more was at stake this time. For one thing, Lansing hurt its position in the Kaw Valley League standings. More important was the damage LHS did to itself in the substate standings.

"The worst thing is you're in a great position to get a good seed in substate, hopefully get Mill Valley here, and its like we're squandering it away," Andrews said. "We've got to get some momentum back. We've got to get a swagger back. We've got to get a little desire. I'll make some changes and we'll start some freshmen. I don't care. It doesn't make any difference. We've got to have somebody step up and want to play now.

"With three games left until substate, we're not ready to play. If we lose another game we'll probably be facing Topeka Seaman either here or there, and that won't be pretty. We've got to do something to right the ship."

A good start at righting the ship would be to beat Turner. That's who Lansing will face at 6 p.m. Friday at Johnsmeyer Gymnasium. Friday will be Senior Night.


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