LHS boys want hot start to 2008
The Lansing High boys basketball team entered winter break with a 3-3 record - three wins more than it had at this point last year.
The three losses are to the defending Kaw Valley League champions and two 2007 state qualifiers.
The Lions also are 2-1 in the KVL and a buzzer-beater three-pointer away from being undefeated and atop the league standings.
With things seemingly going so good, the importance of Lansing's 7:30 p.m. Friday home game against Mill Valley almost goes unnoticed.
Second-year LHS coach Rod Briggs knows better, though. He points to the Mill Valley game, Tuesday's home game against Santa Fe Trail and the Jan. 11 non-league game against Class 5A substate opponent Turner as a critical eight-day period of the season that will determine if the rest of the year goes uphill or down.
"If we've got the right mentality, we can come out and play very well and get a lot of wins here," Briggs said. "The whole month of January we'll hopefully just continue improving. That's the big thing between now and then."
Briggs noted that no victories are guaranteed. LHS last played Dec. 19 - a 57-56 loss to Basehor-Linwood on the buzzer-beating shot. After eight days without practice, the Lions looked awfully sluggish upon returning to the gym Friday. Briggs said that must change quickly.
"With a layoff like we had, it's important to get back in the gym, get back in shape and get back where we were and not make a big step backwards," he said.
Beating Mill Valley would mark a major step forward for Lansing. The Lions' only victories over the Jaguars came when they swept the season series during the 2001-2002 campaign. Last year's games ended in losses by 13 and 25 points.
"Last year Mill Valley was the only game I felt like we didn't show up and give it our all," Briggs said.
At 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the KVL, Mill Valley is struggling this year. Briggs said the Jaguars are not to be taken lightly, however.
"I've seen them once and (assistant) coach (Ben) Doll has seen 'em twice," Briggs said. "We know they're pretty good, or they could be pretty good. They've lost some games, but they're going to get better. They have one of the best guards in the league, and they're fairly young. They've also got some guys that got some minutes on the varsity last year because they had some suspensions."
Mill Valley's lone victory came against Paola, 59-45, on Dec. 18. Its three losses were a 69-36 blowout against Shawnee Mission South, a 58-32 rout against Basehor-Linwood and a 45-38 setback against undefeated Perry-Lecompton.
Lansing's Tuesday opponent, Santa Fe Trail, is 0-3 and has lost its games by an average of 24 points.