Varsity boys beat Baldwin
Up and down the court. Run, press, shoot. Attack, steal, run. Pressure defense is exciting to watch, and teams score in spurts.
The Tonganoxie boys team showed intensity, heart and an up tempo game in a 54-52 win against Baldwin Monday night.
Bryan Gurss, sophomore center, took a pass from Scott Breuer and hit a jump shot from the free throw line with only a second or two remaining on the clock. The basket enabled the Chieftains to advance to the semifinals of the DeSoto Wildcats Hoopfest.
"That's a heck of a shot for a sophomore to make," said Mike Webb, Tonganoxie coach.
They played Eudora Tuesday night and will play again Thursday night.
Webb, who is in his first year at Tonganoxie, said he was pleased by the team effort.
"What a way to start," Webb said.
The Chieftains jumped to a nine point lead early and led 12-6 after the first quarter. But Baldwin came back and closed to within three at halftime with a dunk to end the second quarter.
"That dunk kind of took a little wind out of our sail going into the half," Webb said.
The Chieftains came out strong in the third quarter, scoring the first six points before the game became a battle that ended with Gurss's basket.
Baldwin took advantage of its team height and Tonganoxie's lack of size, pounding the ball inside during the second half, Webb said.
Scott Aligo, a senior guard, scored 19 for the Chieftains. He hit Tonganoxie's two three point shots in the first half, and he scored eight points in the fourth quarter.
Kyle Rodell shut down Sam McCall, Baldwin guard, for much of the game, holding him to seven points after Webb challenged him to turn up his defense.
"Kyle Rodell just hounded their point guard," Webb said.
Eudora beat DeSoto 52-36 Monday. The games on consecutive nights will be a good test for the Chieftains. Eudora isn't big, but they are disciplined, Webb said. Webb said he was concerned that fatigue might play a role in last night's game.
Other scorers included Gurss with nine points, Brett Becker with eight, Neil Rieger with seven, Scott Breuer with seven and Rodell with four.
Tonganoxie made 18-of-31 shots and 12-of-17 free throws. Tonganoxie committed 15 fouls to Baldwin's 17.
The Chieftains have four returning letter winners and two returning starters on this year's squad. They finished 9-12 last year in fifth place in the Kaw Valley League.
Webb said he expects Becker, senior forward; Rieger, senior forward; Breuer, junior forward; and Rodell, a junior guard; to lead the team. Gurss and Aligo, as they showed Monday night, should also contribute.