THS strikes Immac back
Randy Kraft told his players earlier in the season that defense might not win games, but he guaranteed a lack of it would lose games.
The Chieftains found their coach's words to be true Dec. 10 in Tonganoxie.
Playing against Immaculata, a team the Chieftains hadn't defeated since 1991, Tonganoxie limited the Raiders to 38 points. Although the game was tied six times and had six lead changes, a late surge helped THS to a 47-38 league-opening win.
"The de-fense is as good as it's been," Kraft said. "They even surprised me a little."
Tonganoxie led after one quarter, 12-8, but the low-scoring affair was helped by the second quarter. Immaculata edged the Chieftains, 6-5.
The Raiders came out after the half with more fire, taking their first lead, 18-17, early in the third quarter. Immaculata would grab its largest lead at 34-31 later in the half, but that would be the last time they would enjoy it. Tonganoxie went on a 7-1 streak that gained some punch on one methodical play.
With 4:04 left in the game, the Chieftains brought the ball down the court, trailing 34-33. THS didn't employ UTEP's four corners play or a textbook Princeton backdoor, but Tonganoxie milked the clock for just more than a minute and brought home the prize cow.
Senior Jennifer Reischman's bucket with 3:03 left ignited the home crowd and helped the Chieftains to their third win of the season.
"I am still excited," Reischman said about the win. "I am overwhelmed. It was awesome."
Addie Heim was Tonganoxie's leading scorer again, tallying 16 points. Michelle McWilliams, Kelly Breuer and Madison Weller also chipped in with seven points each.
Immaculata (1-2 overall and 0-1 in the Kaw Valley League) has had problems this year with foul trouble. Tonganoxie went to the line 27 times, making 13. Immaculata was 5-for-8. The foul trouble forced the Raiders to run more zone defense.
THS held its own against both defenses and helped Tonganoxie's seniors register their only victory against IHS during their prep careers. Reischman said some strong underclassmen and Kraft's coaching knowledge have helped the Chieftains this year after losing five senior starters last year.
"I think we've gotten lucky to have all these people to create these things," Reischman said. "A lot of things have fit together like a puzzle. It's been a lot of fun."
After Tuesday's game in Basehor-Linwood, Tonganoxie on Friday heads to Shawnee to face Mill Valley for the last game before the winter break.
But after Tonganoxie defeated the Raiders, Kraft wasn't ready to look ahead quite yet.
"Right now I just want to enjoy this win," he said with a smile.
Immaculata (1-2, 0-1) 8 6 14 10 38
Tonganoxie (3-1, 1-0) 12 5 12 18 47
Immaculata Clare Bassett 4, KC Bassett 7, Amanda Donnelson 5, Emily Vosseller 6, Daley Leintz 10, Beth Lemm 2, Maddie Waldeck 4.
Totals 16 5-8 38
Tonganoxie Michelle McWilliams 7, Addie Heim 16, Laura Korb 4, Madison Weller 7, Katie Jeannin 2, Kelly Breuer 7, Jennifer Reischman 4.
Totals 17 13-27 47