Moment of truth
LHS girls ready to prove they belong among best in KVL
The Lansing High girls basketball team will be playing just its fifth Kaw Valley League game at 6 p.m. Friday when it travels to Bonner Springs, but LHS already is in must-win mode.
After all, a victory is necessary to keep pace with defending league champion Tonganoxie if Lansing hopes to remain in the running for a league title.
"The Bonner game will be a point of showing how we really do stand in the league," senior Rachel Darrow said. "We can show a lot of things from that game."
The Lions (4-3 overall, 3-1 KVL) dropped a 60-43 decision to the Chieftains on Jan. 3, but they rebounded and crushed the Piper Pirates, 66-50, on Friday night. That victory - keyed by an 11-0 run during the first 4:08 of the second half - kept the Lions' dreams of a league title alive.
"For us to stay close, we had to have this one, so we got it," LHS second-year coach Keith Andrews said. "Now, it's the same deal. We've got to be 1-0 on Friday night, and if we really want to be a league champion or contender, or at least be second place right behind (Tonganoxie), we've got to stay on their heels, so we've got to get Bonner. We can't afford to slip up on anybody."
Bonner is expected to be much tougher than Piper, however. After all, the Braves have multiple threats on offense. Their inside game has improved leaps and bounds compared to last year, and sophomore guard Kelsey Stanbrough has developed into a multi-dimensional player. No longer just a long-range threat - she sank buzzer-beater three-pointers in both victories against the Lions last year - Stanbrough now has a decent mid-range game and is an improved rebounder.
"If we play together and we run our offense well and get a hand up in the face of the three-point shooters, I think we'll be OK," Lansing senior Nichole Twitchel said.
Lansing's goal will be to play a complete game. That's something it hasn't accomplished yet this season - but it's getting close. LHS played 14 solid minutes during the loss to Tonganoxie and then had a stellar second half against Piper.
Friday night would be an ideal time to put a full 32 minutes together. Not only would a victory keep the Lions in the league race, but it would make a statement that they are serious contenders for a title. After all, the Braves lost just 44-43 to the Chieftains on Dec. 16.
"It'll be big to go out and beat them because they only lost to Tongie by one," Twitchel said. "If we go out and make a statement, I think that will help us."
A LOOK BACK
Despite shooting 50 percent from the field during the first two quarters Lansing trailed Piper, 32-30, at halftime Friday.
"(In) the first half we were kind of slow," Darrow said. "I don't think we had the enthusiasm that we should have had. We just weren't as pumped as we should have been. We came out in the second half a little more enthused and it paid off."
The Lions played with furious intensity on defense in the second half and delivered an 11-0 run that put the game out of reach quickly. Senior forward Amanda Radovich scored 14 of her game-high 23 points in the second half and hit seven of nine shots during that span. Darrow added 13 points, Twitchel had nine, Katie Nietzke scored eight and Christine Cordes chipped in six.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
For the first time in their high school basketball careers, Lansing High senior Rachel Darrow and sophomore Amanda Darrow appeared in the starting lineup together. LHS coach Keith Andrews broke the news to the younger Darrow at practice Thursday.
"She said it was like a dream come true," Rachel Darrow said of her sister's reaction to the news. "She came running in the locker room and screamed, 'You won't believe it!' She never thought it would happen. I never thought it would happen. It was special, and it was something I will never forget."
JV NABS FIRST WIN
The junior varsity girls basketball team picked up its first win of the season Friday as it disposed of Piper, 36-29.
The Lions (1-3) never trailed in the game. They surged to an 8-2 lead and cruised the rest of the way. They used a balanced scoring attack in the victory. Christine Cordes led the way with 11 points and Morgan Chiles and Nakia Becker added five points apiece. Katie Smith scored four, Brittney Lang had three, and Natalie Loreti, Kara Ritchey, Mary Lyon and Liane Swisher chipped in two points apiece.