Archive for Thursday, March 2, 2006

Wristen: Full house would give LHS girls a boost

March 2, 2006

When Keith Andrews took over as the Lansing High girls basketball coach last year, he established the goal of advancing to the state tournament within four years.

Now, it looks like the Lions might beat that goal by a good two years. They surpassed expectations this year when they won 14 games and placed second in the Kaw Valley League. In doing so, they also locked up the No. 3-seed in the Class 5A substate tournament, which begins at 7 p.m. today at Johnsmeyer Gymnasium against the Mill Valley Jaguars.

The road to state is clear for Lansing: Beat Mill Valley tonight, then travel to Topeka and knock off the Shawnee Heights-Highland Park winner Saturday.

There's no reason to believe the Lions can't make it to state, but they can't do it alone. They've had two close contests with the Jaguars this season - both games were five-point victories - but it's tough to beat anybody three times in a season. That's the Lions' task. Fortunately for them, tonight's game is at home.

That's where you come in.

It has been clear all season that the Lions are most focused and most intense when they have a spirited crowd behind them. They feed off the fans. Their biggest wins - twice against Bonner Springs and at home against Mill Valley - all were watched by noisy crowds. Their worst defeats - against Silver Lake and at Bishop Ward - had sparse crowds.

Fans don't win basketball games, but they can influence the outcome. They don't make jump shots or play defense, but they can provide a spark of energy when players need it most.

That's what the Lions need tonight. This is the postseason. They're playing at home. With a little boost, they could be on their way to state.

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