BLHS stifles THS for home victory
Thankfully, it was only the first game of the season.
After Friday night's 67-43 lopsided defeat at Basehor-Linwood, the Tonganoxie High girls basketball team just wanted to forget about it and move on.
"It just didn't go very well," junior point guard Chrissie Jeannin said. "They screened well and just hit everything. You couldn't really stop it. Even if you were in their face, they would hit a shot."
The Bobcats defended their home gym from the opening tip by jumping out to a 9-0 lead. Tonganoxie didn't score until junior forward Ronnie Grizzle came off the bench and finished a layup with 3:52 remaining in the first quarter.
"Our communication wasn't very good in the first half," sixth-year THS coach Randy Kraft said. "We left a lot of unguarded people and we didn't get on the boards well. There was a lot of mix-up."
It seemed Basehor-Linwood couldn't miss, even from long distance. BLHS hit 4-of-6 three-point shots in the first half.
The Bobcats made sure they had post players with position near the basket on the few times they did miss from the outside.
In the second quarter, for instance, Basehor-Linwood senior Ashley Jeannin missed a long-distance shot on a fast break. Finally, a sigh of relief for the Chieftains. It only lasted a second, though. Basehor-Linwood senior Cassie Lombardino established prime position in the paint, grabbed the rebound and put back the layup. The Bobcats exploded for 29 points in the second quarter and took a 42-16 lead into the half.
Lombardino, who will play basketball at Washburn University next season, finished with a game-high 17 points and 10 rebounds.
"She's 6-3 and you're not going to (guard her) with your 5-10 girls one-on-one," Kraft said of Lombardino. "It's really hard to provide help, particularly when they're making threes out there."
If the Chieftains took anything positive away from Friday night, it came in the second half. THS actually outscored BLHS, 27-25, in the final two quarters.
Tonganoxie's perimeter defense improved in the second half as well. The Chieftains forced the Bobcats to take tougher shots, as evidenced by Basehor's 0-for-7 effort from long distance in the second half.
Basehor (1-0) kept a 30-point lead for the majority of the game. The Chieftains (0-1) applied full-court pressure, even in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach. Kraft said it served a purpose: To show his players their potential and build confidence.
"That was our goal, to turn it around and not give up the easy baskets," Kraft said. "When you're down that much at half, to come back, fight like that and challenge them a little bit showed some heart."
Senior Shannon Carlin led Tonganoxie with 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting. Grizzle added 10. Senior Liz Baska had 10 rebounds.
The Chieftains will be back in action this week in the Girls Basketball Invitational at Paola High School. The tournament will conclude Friday.