Boys approach substate with confidence
Two close games ended with different results.
The team's focus is now on senior night Friday against Basehor-Linwood and a probable matchup with Sumner Tuesday in substate play.
Mike Webb, Tonganoxie boys basketball coach, is already preparing a game plan for Sumner, his former team and one of the strongest programs in 4A basketball right now.
Webb was the assistant coach at Sumner before coming to Tonganoxie this season. He said he knows the Sumner system including its strengths and weaknesses.
After losing a heartbreaker to Santa Fe Trail at home, the Tonganoxie boys basketball team traveled to DeSoto and ruined senior night.
The Chieftains led Santa Fe Trail by four points with one minute, thirty seconds to play, but missed the front end of a couple of one-on-one free throw opportunities. The Chargers hit a shot with only tenths of a second left on the clock and won the game.
The Chieftains came out hot at DeSoto. Brett Becker hit two jumpers including a three point shot, helping the Chieftains jump to an early 5-0 lead.
The Chieftains were up, 14-4, after three minutes before the offense started to unravel.
Tonganoxie scored only four points in the final five minutes of the first quarter. Tonganoxie scored only two points in the second quarter.
"We just seem to have a letdown in the second quarter," Webb said.
As a result of a nonexistent offense, the team trailed 20-25 at halftime. But, the Chieftains did not give up.
Scott Breuer opened the second half with a conventional three-point play, getting a basket and hitting the foul shot.
DeSoto decided to stall, holding the ball for more than a minute without dribbling or passing while Tonganoxie sat back on defense and waited for DeSoto to make a move.
With 24 seconds left in the third quarter, Scott Aligo hit a three point shot, knotting the game at 32. Kyle Rodell hit another three pointer as the buzzer sounded on the the third quarter, giving Tonganoxie the lead for good.
With 2:43 left in the game and a one-point lead, Tonganoxie gave DeSoto a taste of its own medicine. The Chieftains passed and dribbled without taking a shot until Neil Rieger was fouled at 1:01. He hit both free throws. The Chieftains won, 47-40.
Friday night will be senior night for the Chieftains. Rieger, Aligo and Becker will play their final game in the Tonganoxie High School gym.
"Senior nights are always very emotional," Webb said.
The Chieftains spoiled DeSoto's senior night. Now they hope to send their seniors out on the right note and build some momentum for substate.