Balanced effort helps Lansing girls
Leavenworth With the Class 5A substate basketball tournament right around the corner, the Lansing High girls are gearing up for a postseason push.
They took a major leap forward Tuesday night when they turned in one of their top defensive efforts of the year in a 46-28 victory over Immaculata at the IHS gymnasium.
The Lions forced 29 turnovers and turned them into 19 points.
"We're getting contributions from people that we want this time of year, and we're getting balanced contribution," LHS coach Keith Andrews said. "It's not just three, four or five kids. It's 10, 11, 12, so that's the nice part about it."
Immaculata (3-15) jumped out to an early 8-6 lead as senior Jessica Todd nailed her first three shots. Then Lansing cranked up the defensive pressure and took advantage of its superior depth and athleticism.
The Lions hit the Raiders with waves of fresh legs. After the starting five of Amanda Darrow, Christine Cordes, Brittney Lang, Elizabeth Cristiano and Katie Nietzke applied a full-court trap for a few minutes, the next five entered and blanketed the Raiders with pressure. On two occasions three speedy freshmen - Amy Briggs, Abbey Lozenski and Katelyn Griffen - were on the court at the same time. At other times it was waves of post players Kara Ritchey, Alexis Ellis, Mary Lyon, Morgan Chiles and Chanel Johnson bolstering the defense.
Anchored by its defense, Lansing forced 12 turnovers and closed the first quarter on an 11-0 run. Chiles had three steals in the quarter. LHS forced eight more turnovers in the second quarter - two of them on steals by Cordes - and built a 26-17 lead by halftime.
The Lions extended their lead to 18 points in the third quarter before cruising to the finish.
As balanced as the Lions were on defense, they also had a balanced scoring attack. Briggs netted a game-high 12 points, Nietzke had 11, Lang had eight, Chiles scored six, Ritchey had four and Cordes added three.
Lansing closes out the regular season at 6 p.m. today at home against Bonner Springs. It's another rivalry game that the Lions have had circled on their calendars for months, and it also has substate implications surrounding it. Bonner is 9-9 and Lansing is 8-11.
Fortunately for the Lions, they're entering the game with a lot of confidence after a strong showing against Immaculata.
"It's a real confidence-booster to get these last couple of wins going into substate," Chiles said. "But Bonner beat Tongie (Class 4A No. 1-ranked Tonganoxie), and Bonner's going to be up, so we're going to have to get them when they're at the top of their game."