Wristen: Just a blip, but Lions are on the radar
Part of me hates to even bring this up, because it doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things. Still, it is worth mentioning.
If you glance at the scoreboard on page 4B in today's Current, you'll notice that the Lansing High girls basketball team is receiving votes in the Topeka Capital-Journal's state rankings. It's not an official ranking - the C-J only ranks its top five - but it is a nice tidbit of recognition for a group of girls that has come a long way in less than two seasons.
If you recall, Lansing went just 7-14 two years ago. It lost numerous close games during a frustrating season. Last year LHS took some major steps forward. It went 10-11 and put a good scare into Topeka Seaman during the first round of the Class 5A substate tournament. Still, LHS lost numerous close games and was unable to record a winning season.
This looks to be the year for Lansing. Right now it is 7-4 and second in the Kaw Valley League behind Class 4A's fourth-ranked team, Tonganoxie. LHS has a string of winnable games coming up, beginning with its 6 p.m. Friday contest at Basehor-Linwood.
It is conceivable the Lions could run their two-game winning streak to six and be 11-4on Feb. 10 when they have their rematch with the Chieftains. If the Lions make that happen, it is reasonable to believe they might be ranked by then.
But does a ranking even matter? Not if you ask second-year LHS coach Keith Andrews.
"A loss here or two losses in a row and all of a sudden you're off that list," he said. "It's flattering for us as a program, but it doesn't mean a whole lot right now."
What the ranking does mean is that the Lions are taking steps in the right direction. In fact, their improvement is coming along nicely enough that people beyond the city limits are taking notice.
Andrews said he thought Lansing's 22-point pounding of a good Bonner Springs squad on Jan. 13 helped LHS garner a few votes. Somewhat surprising was the fact that an 18-point loss to Silver Lake three days later didn't wipe away all of the votes.
"We had a great game against Bonner, and that was nice," Andrews said. "But you have to do it night after night to become a great team."
It is worth noting that Shawnee Heights (8-1) is ranked No. 4 in the Class 5A poll and Paola (11-1) is receiving votes. Both schools are in Lansing's substate this year.
Only two teams from each eight-team substate pool make it to the state tournament. That means at least one team considered for the rankings won't go to state. It's a harsh reality, but then again, it's why the games are played.
After all, rankings are pretty unimportant in the grand scheme of things. What matters is who's hoisting a trophy at the end of the season.
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