LHS girls hang on, stay on roll
Defensive intensity has been the key to the Lansing High girls' recent hot streak, but Tuesday night against Piper the Lions' aggressiveness almost was their downfall.
Three Lansing starters got into early foul trouble by being overly aggressive. Then a few errant fouls allowed Piper to climb on top before LHS regrouped and pulled out a 48-41 victory at Johnsmeyer Gymnasium in Kaw Valley League basketball action.
"We do foul a lot," third-year LHS coach Keith Andrews said. "And when you're playing that aggressive defense you're going to get some more of that. You're also going to give up some layups if you're not getting good traps, and we did a little bit of that.
"But the biggest thing is when we fouled we kept them on the free throw line and we kept them in the game."
Lansing (6-7 overall, 2-4 KVL) dashed to a 16-7 lead during the first seven minutes by forcing six turnovers and converting them into points. Christine Cordes scored six points and Katie Nietzke had four during that quick start. Trouble arose quickly, however, as starters Elizabeth Cristiano, Amanda Darrow and Nietzke all were whistled for two fouls. Piper went to the free throw line, converted most of its chances and hung around.
A four-point play by freshman Amy Briggs midway through the second quarter helped LHS rebuild a 12-point lead by halftime.
Piper scorched the nets early in the third quarter. It made six of its first eight field goal attempts and then capitalized on more chances from the free throw line. Meanwhile, Lansing was frigid from the field. It made just two of its first 16 shots of the second half. The Pirates outscored the Lions 23-5 during the first nine minutes of the second half. Suddenly the Lions' double-digit lead was a 40-34 deficit with seven minutes left in the game.
Although the Lions were down, they weren't out. Nietzke buried a three-pointer from the far corner with 6:49 left. Brittney Lang drove for a baseline layup the next time down the court and pulled the Lions within a point. A Pirate turnover turned into a Briggs layup and gave the Lions the lead with 4:22 left.
Piper slowed the pace and attempted to milk the clock. That's when Briggs struck again. She made a steal and a coast-to-coast layup, then stole the inbounds pass and fired to Cordes for another layup. That gave LHS a 45-40 lead. Nietzke and Lang then iced the game at the free throw line.
"Amy Briggs was huge, Andrews said. "But the team effort was the biggest thing."
That "team effort" included seven players scoring and five players grabbing three or more rebounds. Six players had steals.
Nietzke scored a game-high 13 points, Cordes and Briggs added eight apiece, Lang had six, Darrow scored five and Chiles and Chanel Johnson each had four.
Lansing now has won five of its last six games. It will try to even its record at 6 p.m. Friday at home against Basehor-Linwood. Basehor won the previous meeting this season, 42-23, on Dec. 12.
"We're a different team than what we were that first game. We're totally different from that point," Andrews said. "I'm sure Basehor's adapted a little bit too. I think Basehor's going to think they can come in and walk all over us, and we're going to be ready for them."