Junior high girls work hard early in the season
Hard work, hustle and solid team play have helped Tonganoxie's eighth-grade girls basketball team earn a successful early season.
"This is a team effort," said Coach John Korb. "These girls like to run, and they're getting to be very unselfish."
Right now the A-team is 4-2.
Its first loss of the season came Oct. 31 at the hands of Xavier.
So, the team went into its Nov. 14 game against Xavier hoping to pay the team back.
But with several Warriors hampered by influenza, Tonganoxie wasn't able to beat the strong and healthy team, and lost the game 23-33.
At first it seemed like the Warriors had a chance to beat Xavier. The score was tied 12-12 at half.
But in the second half, sickness and an explosive run by Xavier caught up with Tonganoxie, which was outscored 21-11 after the break.
Several of those 21 points came at the very end of the game when Tonganoxie was forced to foul Xavier to stop the clock.
Xavier responded by making eight consecutive freethrows to end the game.
A once-again healthy Warriors team rebounded from that loss on Thursday, beating Basehor-Linwood, 33-10.
In that game, Basehor-Linwood came out playing a defense designed to stop Warrior top scorers Madison Weller and Addie Heim.
Blanketing those two man-to-man, with a three-player triangle zone to play the rest of the team, Basehor-Linwood left the Warriors wide open from outside and they made Basehor-Linwood pay.
With most of the team's defensive attention focused inside, guard Hannah Heintzelman scored seven points on long-range jumpers in the first half.
The Warriors were ahead 19-3 at the half, and Basehor-Linwood stopped running the triangle-and-two defense in the second.
Weller was the Warriors high scorer with 12. Jessica Bogard led the team in steals with six.
Coming off the bench, Ashley Elliott was an important contributor in the game, Korb said.
In her limited time on the court, she scored three points and grabbed four rebounds.
Korb said that guard Laura Jeannin, who left the game with a twisted ankle in the third, was crucial in the win and was a big reason the Warriors had a winning record.
He said she may not get the stats some of the other girls do, but that was because intelligence and court vision are hard to put a number on.
"She's the girl that does all the little things," Korb said.
The team's next game is 4 p.m. Tuesday at Lansing.