Boys’ streak ends after five victories
Few fans expressed disappointment after Tonganoxie finished second at the 41st Tonganoxie Invitational Tournament Saturday.
After all, the team that struggled in December had won five consecutive games and reached the championship game.
Bonner Springs won that game, 69-52. The Braves might have had more talented players, but the Chieftains played with as much heart and desire as their 5A opponent.
The Chieftains advanced to the championship game with a 55-41 win against Hogan and a hard-fought 50-41 win against Eudora.
The Eudora game was a rematch of the semifinal game in the December DeSoto tournament. Eudora beat Tonganoxie down the court for easy baskets in the first game. Friday, the result was different.
"I thought Tonganoxie did a really good job of limiting our transition game," said Chad Eshbaugh, Eudora coach.
The defense played well, but the offense struggled for Tonganoxie, and the players looked tentative.
Eudora refused to go away. In the last two minutes, free throws and defense helped Tonganoxie win. The Chieftains hit 16 of 21 free throws including 13 of 17 in the fourth quarter.
Brett Becker proved to be the late game stopper.
"I've never seen him play defense like that," Webb said.
The team looked a little different both Friday and Saturday night. Kyle Rodell, the team's starting point guard and top defender, was at state debate and didn't play.
Neil Rieger played guard, and the team missed his low post defense and rebounding.
Younger players including Greg Burnett, Scott Jewell and Thomas Gilner stepped in to give the Chieftains some extra depth.
Webb said he plans to give the team some time off this week after they volunteer at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Then they'll work on improving before playing Basehor-Linwood next Tuesday. Webb said the team is still finding itself and hasn't become used to winning.
"I still feel they don't know how to react because they haven't been there before," Webb said.