Archive for Saturday, December 8, 2007

State champs loom for LHS girls

Lansing to play Bishop Miege in tournament semifinals

December 8, 2007

— It's time to bust out the old tape measure, because the Lansing High girls basketball team has a date with the defending Class 5A state champions.

LHS beat Savannah (Mo.), 43-42, on Friday in the first round of the Metro Prep Tip-off Classic Tournament at the Bonner Springs YMCA. Now the Lions will find out how they stack up with last year's No. 1 team when they play Bishop Miege at 4:30 p.m. today in the semifinals in the Bonner Springs High School gymnasium.

"To me, that's a bonus because we get to play them now, and we get to see what we've got and what they've got," LHS coach Keith Andrews said. "If you want to get to state and win, you're probably going to see them somewhere down the line, so you might as well play them now and get a feel for them.

"They're where we want to be," he added. "They're the kind of team we want to be, so we might as well play them now and get a taste of what it's like."

The Lions won on a layup by junior Alexis Ellis with 5.6 seconds left, but they should have put the game away much earlier. They opened the game on a 15-7 run and looked well in control, but then they went cold from the field. They sank just one of 14 shots in the second quarter and went the final 6:05 of the half without a point.

Despite forcing 18 first-half turnovers and committing only eight, the Lions trailed 18-15 at intermission.

"Really, if we had made our eight easy buckets in the first half, we might have had a nice little cushion and could have done some things there, but we didn't get that done and made it close," Andrews said.

Coach Keith Andrews' post-game comments

Coach Keith Andrews' post-game comments after Lansing's 43-42 victory over Savannah at the Metro Prep Tip-off Classic Tournament. Enlarge video

LHS turned the ball over four straight times to start the third quarter. A put-back by Ellis with 6:13 left in the quarter ended a scoreless drought of nearly eight minutes spanning the two halves, and it settled the Lions down.

Savannah's Beth Reine knocked down a jumper that gave the Savages their largest lead at 24-17. Three layups by senior Morgan Chiles sparked an 11-4 rally by the Lions as they forced a 28-28 tie entering the fourth quarter.

Savannah (3-1) opened the final quarter on a 7-2 run and was on the verge of putting the game away, but back-to-back three-pointers by senior Katie Nietzke - the second one was part of a four-point play - ignited the Lansing offense one last time.

"They got up seven in the third quarter and I told the girls either we're going to make a stand here or we're going to fold," Andrews said. "They played with a lot of heart, so that was a good thing."

An 18-footer by Amy Briggs tied the game at 39-39, and a put-back by Ellis gave LHS a two-point lead with 1:29 left.

After fruitless possessions by each team, Reine buried a three-pointer from the top of the key that put the Savages ahead 42-41 with 17 seconds left. The Lions quickly inbounded the ball and pushed it to the other end. Junior Brittney Lang dribbled to the right elbow and fired a bounce pass to Ellis for the go-ahead layup. The Savages were unable to get off another shot and the Lions survived.

"A great pass and a great finish," Andrews said of the game-winning bucket. "They put themselves in position to get there and they won the game, so that's the best part of it."

Nietzke scored a team-high 12 points for Lansing, Briggs had nine, Ellis scored eight, Chiles and Christine Cordes had six apiece and Lang added two. Reine led Savannah with 14 points, Chelsie Verbick had 10 and Kate Gallagher chipped in nine.

Lansing now is 2-0 for the first time in Andrews' four years at the helm. It also is in the tournament winner's bracket for the first time. The Lions' opponent, Bishop Miege, advanced to the semifinals with a 74-18 victory over Atchison on Friday.

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