Boys basketball struggles in Atchison tourney
Tonganoxie boys' teams have had their fill of Atchison.
The Chieftains traveled north for a frigid bi-district football game last month, but fell to the Redmen in a postseason clash.
Last week, the basketball team tried its luck in the Atchison High gymnasium, a parking lot away from Amelia Earhart Field.
Tonganoxie dropped two games during the Atchison Tournament before winning its first game Saturday in the Atchison Elementary School.
THS took fifth out of six teams in the tournament with a 77-34 win against Flint Hills. Tonganoxie is now 1-2.
"We still have a lot to improve on, but we don't feel down really," said senior guard Jon Gripka, who tallied 12 points against Metro Academy on Friday and nine against Flint Hills on Saturday.
Against Flint Hills, the Chieftains held a 37-9 advantage at halftime, thanks in part to a 20-3 run that closed out the first half.
Shane Howard and Jacob Walker led the Chieftains in scoring with 12 each.
After entering the season with three games in three days, Tonganoxie won't play again until next Tuesday against Basehor-Linwood.
"We're really looking forward to next week," THS coach David Walker said after Saturday's game. "Everybody else will be playing games.
"It was a good experience to get three games in early, but it's great to get in five practices."
Lansing won the tournament, defeating No. 9 Atchison 57-35 Saturday.
Metro Academy 67, Tonganoxie 59
The Chieftains had an up-tempo first half against Metro on Friday, pushing a 20-13 first-quarter lead to a 37-28 halftime advantage.
In the third quarter, though, the Mavs stampeded back with a 13-2 run. Metro took the lead for the first time, 39-38 and never looked back. A Joe Calovich bucket with 3:01 left in the third was Tonganoxie's first score after the half.
THS trailed 47-45 going into the fourth quarter and later cut the lead to one, but Metro held on for the win.
"We just have to get tough with the basketball," coach Walker said after Friday's loss dropped his team to 0-2. "We've got to get better at the little things. Right now the little things are adding up."
Shane Howard led Tonganoxie with 13 points, while Jon Gripka also was in double figures with 12. Joe Calovich and Jacob Walker each contributed nine in the losing effort.
Atchison 64, Tonganoxie 60
The cast members were different, but the season-opening stage provided the same storyline for Tonganoxie and Atchison.
In a rematch of last season's Class 4A substate finals, Atchison's quickness prevailed again Thursday but just barely. The teams battled through 10 ties and three lead changes before the Redmen pulled away late.
Junior Luke McCarty carried Tonganoxie early, scoring the team's first eight points. No. 9 Atchison led 15-12 after the first quarter and then 29-23 at the break. The Chieftains, however, stormed out of the locker room, opening the third quarter with an 8-0 run. The spurt put Tonganoxie up, 31-29, but that would be the Chieftains' last lead. Atchison's lead grew to its highest margin at 54-47 before claiming the victory in the first night of its own tournament.
McCarty finished with 12 points, while Jacob Walker racked up 10. Chad Turner, Justin Walker and Joe Calovich each had eight in the loss.
Tonganoxie didn't help its own cause from the free-throw line. The Chieftains went 1-for-11 from the charity stripe against Atchison.