Braves grab Lansing’s attention
Sure, there are a few wrinkles to be ironed out, but there's no question the Lansing High boys basketball team is focused and fired up for its season-opener against Bonner Springs.
How could LHS not be ready for its 7:30 p.m. Friday battle at the Bonner Springs YMCA? The last time they met - March 1 - the Braves ended the Lions' season with a 36-35 victory in the Class 5A substate opener.
"The first game's Bonner : that's a rivalry game. That's big time," senior Stephen Didde said. "We're going to be pumped up and ready to go for it. I can't wait to play."
The Lions hope to get off to a good start and build off of last season's improvements. After starting the season 0-6, they were extremely competitive the rest of the way and finished with an 8-13 record.
Second-year coach Rod Briggs said he expects his team to be much better.
"Usually most of the teams I've coached get off to a fairly good start in the second year, so we'll just have to see," Briggs said.
Briggs cautioned that Bonner Springs would be vastly improved from its 7-15 record last year.
"They've got some new guys that have moved in," he said. "They've got the Walker brothers (Harmon transfers and football standouts Jeremy and Jonathan Walker), plus they have five returning letterwinners back. They'll have L.T. Lee back, Ariel Adger and a couple other guys, so Bonner's going to be a decent team."
Briggs also noted that the teams played four times last season. Bonner won the first meeting in the third game of the season, 59-45. Lansing won rounds two and three, both times 50-43, before Bonner won the final meeting in substate.
Briggs said he expects both Lansing and Bonner to be in the running for the Kaw Valley League championship. That makes the season-opener even more important because the winner will take an early edge in the standings.
"That's huge, because it'll hopefully set the pace for the rest of the season," junior forward Cody Rush said of the importance of the first game.
In previous seasons Lansing has opened its season at the Metro Prep Tip-off Classic Tournament at Bonner Springs, so this year the Lions will have a game under their belt prior to the tournament. LHS will open the three-day tournament at 4:45 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, against Topeka Seaman in the BSHS gymnasium.
In addition to Lansing and Seaman, the tournament field includes Bishop Miege, Kansas City (Mo.) East Christian Academy, Lawrence Free State, Shawnee Heights, Bonner Springs and Atchison.