8th-graders win tournament
De Soto The roster was loaded with talent; Bryan Shelley knew that much before the season ever started.
Still, Shelley didn't know what to expect prior to coaching his first boys basketball A team practice.
Two months later, Shelley looks back on the season with amazement. How could a team this talented be so unselfish?
"I had to yell at people more this year to shoot the ball than I could have imagined," Shelley said. "Not once did I yell at somebody for being selfish. At times this group was too unselfish.
It's rare to have so many talented kids that don't care if they're in the limelight or not. They just wanted to win. We don't stress winning 100 percent of the time to kids this age, but these kids would do anything to win the game."
They certainly won plenty of games. They posted a 13-1 record this season and rolled to the Lexington Trail Tournament on Saturday at De Soto High school.
Lansing beat Tonganoxie in the first round, 59-32, and then hammered Lexington Trail in the finals, 54-38.
The Lions won both games doing what they've done all season: finding the open shooter, no matter who it is.
"We don't have a standout scorer on our team this year," Shelley said. "Any given night it could be somebody else, and that's what made it so exciting to watch, and that's what made is so exciting for the players."
The leading scorer against Tonganoxie was Alec Zeck with 14 points. Parker Gibson had 13 points in the victory, and Michael Grote added 10.
Grote led the way in the finals with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Gibson also was in double-figures with 11 points, Zeck had nine, and Calvin Schneider and Colby Gwartney scored six apiece.
Eight different players scored in each of the tournament victories.
Zeck was the team's most skilled player all season, and Shelley described him as "the most talented eighth-grader in the area, no question about it."
For Shelley, though, the whole team was special.
"You dream about having a group of kids like this, and I was lucky enough to have one in my second year (coaching)," he said. "It's one of those groups that you're just proud to be a part of their basketball careers, because you know some of them might go on to do something special. It's one of those classes that's just a special group of kids talent-wise, leadership-wise and personality-wise off the court. They're just a special group of kids, and it was a privilege to coach them."
Team members are Colby Gwartney, Calvin Schneider, Kaleb McQuillan, Sean Tweet, Parker Gibson, Zak Haller, Matt O'Brien, Matt Stratton, Chris Rathjen, Ryan O'Donnell, Alec Zeck and Michael Grote.
The Lansing Middle School seventh-grade boys basketball team won the Lexington Trail Tournament on Saturday at LTMS.
Lansing defeated Perry-Lecompton in the first round, 41-32, and then hung on for a 36-31 victory over Tonganoxie in the finals.
LMS ends its season with a 12-1 record. Team members are Chance Martell, Jonathan Hill, Clayton Pfrimmer, Preston Padgett, Nick Hughes, Logan Mance, Justin Lozenski, Cole Taylor, Nick Andring, Grant Greenberg, Cameron Decker and Michael Miller. They are coached by Doug Faught.