LHS girls, boys fall to Mill Valley
Substate positioning was at stake Friday night when Mill Valley visited Lansing High for a girls basketball showdown.
The Jaguars hung on for a 51-46 victory and improved their chances of earning the No. 3-seed for substate, but the Lions found comfort in the fact that they rediscovered their defensive fire. They forced 26 turnovers and held the Jaguars to 36 percent shooting.
"Last game at halftime we weren't playing up to our potential, and coach had a couple words with us," junior Amanda Darrow said. "I think it helped us out a lot today because we knew what we could do. The last two quarters of the Perry game (on Thursday) we brought everything we had, so we tried to bring it all tonight."
Lansing's defense was stellar, but its offense wasn't. The Lions made just 31 percent of their shots, and their 17 turnovers all came at inopportune moments.
"We had a little trouble scoring, and you've got to find ways to get through that," LHS coach Keith Andrews said. "But we gave ourselves chances, and that's what you want. It doesn't always work out your way, but we gave ourselves chances. You want to put yourself in position to be close, to get that chance, and we were. But the ball didn't bounce our way."
Lansing spotted Mill Valley a 5-0 lead during the first three minutes before Katie Nietzke's jumper in the lane got the Lions on the board. They remained on the attack for the rest of the half and scored all of their points on free throws or shots within 10 feet. Nine of those points came off of turnovers. Junior Morgan Chiles and freshman Amy Briggs had six points apiece during that first half and Nietzke scored seven, but Mill Valley took a 28-23 lead thanks to a late put-back by Elise Umbarger and a last-second three-pointer from Carly Santaularia.
After trading baskets to open the third quarter, Darrow converted a three-point play that pulled LHS within 30-28. The Lions had the momentum at that point, but they gave it right back with five straight turnovers. They didn't score in the final five minutes of the quarter. During that time the Jaguars went on a 9-0 run and build a 39-28 lead.
LHS slowly regained its offensive touch during the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Mill Valley melted down at the free throw line. The Jaguars' 12-point lead with 3:30 left deteriorated to a 47-44 edge with 30 seconds left because they missed seven of eight free throws during that time and the Lions forced six turnovers with their full-court trap.
Umbarger stopped Mill Valley's bleeding with a pair of late free throws that helped secure the game.
Umbarger scored a game-high 15 points. Darrow led Lansing with 12 points, Nietzke had 11 and Briggs had eight.
Lansing (7-11) next plays at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Immaculata. LHS then will close out the regular season Thursday at home against Bonner Springs. Both games will have major implications of Lansing's substate positioning. The Lions are in a battle for the four-, five- and six-seed positions.
"Every game is crucial to us," Darrow said. "We just need to go out and fight for every game and win."
MILL VALLEY 54, LANSING BOYS 29
The Lansing High boys played two good quarters of basketball Friday night.
Unfortunately for LHS, Mill Valley played four quarters. The parity in performance led to a 54-29 Jaguar victory.
Lansing matched Mill Valley's intensity during the first half, and it showed on the scoreboard. After trading baskets throughout the first quarter, Clayton Hall nailed a late three-pointer that gave LHS an 11-8 lead.
The Jaguars opened the second quarter on an 8-0 run, but Lansing settled down and used baskets by Jeff Jackson and Stephen Didde to pull within 24-19 by halftime.
The Lions lacked focus and energy during the second half. They were careless with the ball and didn't finish scoring opportunities. Meanwhile, the Jaguars turned almost every Lion turnover into points. They outscored the Lions 14-4 in the third quarter and 16-6 in the fourth.
Lansing made just 12 of 38 shots. Mill Valley scored on 24 of 48 attempts. Andrew Wendorff led the Jaguars with 14 points and Michael Mahan had 10. Jeff Jackson led the Lions with 10 points and Stephen Didde had eight.
LHS (6-12) next plays at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Immaculata.