Girls place fifth at DeSoto tournament
Team finishes strong after first-round loss
John Lee, Tonganoxie girls basketball coach, hadn't seen his team get really mad about a loss this season.
The Tonganoxie girls lost to Free State High School, 40-36.
The Chieftains scored only one point in the final five minutes of a game they could have won.
"We played three good quarters against Free State but couldn't finish," Lee said.
Instead of being disappointed about dropping from the winners' bracket, the team channeled its frustration and anger in the remaining two games of the tournament.
The result? Wins against Wyandotte and DeSoto, and a fifth-place finish.
"Any tournament you want to win two out of three games for success," Lee said. "It is better to be fifth than fourth."
Against Wyandotte, the team started as it ended against Free State. The players were gunshy and tentative, Lee said.
But Tonganoxie picked up the pace and won, 66-35.
Andrea Korb, who routinely draws the opponents' best defender, finished the game with 10 assists, five steals, eight rebounds and eight points.
The fifth place game was tight for the first half before Tonganoxie took over.
Tonganoxie pressed early and often, but was unable to turn steals and turnovers into much offense.
The Chieftains had the ball in the final seconds of the first quarter but never took a shot because no one on the floor recognized how much time was left.
The quarter ended in a 7-7 tie with the ball in Deaven Workman's hands.
Tonganoxie actually trailed 15-11 with about two minutes remaining in the first half. Missed shots hurt the team.
But Korb hit a three point shot, then hit Keri Walker with a long pass for another two and finished the burst with a follow on a miss by Aimee Eisman.
After leading only 19-15 at halftime, the Chieftains jumped on the Wildcats in the third quarter.
Walker hit three consecutive shots in less than a minute as the Chieftains opened a 27-17 lead.
Tonganoxie lead 36-21 at the end of the third quarter and won the game, 45-25.
DeSoto watched and waited while Tonganoxie held the ball and stalled early in the fourth quarter.
"Patience, patience, patience," Lee yelled to his players.
Tonganoxie's defense and slower offensive game in the fourth quarter held DeSoto to only 10 points in the second half.
The press was more effective in the second half, and DeSoto turnovers resulted in scoring opportunities for the Chieftains.
Aimee Eisman, who hadn't played many varsity minutes before the Wyandotte game, scored 11 points against Wyandotte and seven points against DeSoto.
When the team is more aggressive on offense, it creates matchup problems for opponents, Lee said.
"We have three-to-four guards on the floor at any time, and people have to worry about them," Lee said.
Tonganoxie played Tuesday night at Basehor-Linwood.
The next week is a reward for the grueling early-season road schedule. Tonganoxie plays Immaculata on Friday here and Piper on Tuesday here.