Chieftains upend Charger boys
Tonganoxie had a two-game losing streak going into Friday's game against Santa Fe Trail.
The solution to end the Chieftains slight skid play the No. 8 team in the state.
Tonganoxie, playing at Santa Fe Trail, improved to 8-9 overall and 6-6 in the Kaw Valley League with a 49-43 win against the higher ranked Chargers, who fell to 11-6 and 8-5.
THS coach David Walker, though, didn't look at the records too closely.
"Our philosophy is that it's only an upset if we believe it's an upset," Walker said. "A lot of people might call this an upset for us, but we don't."
The game opened as a defensive showdown. The Chargers led 8-7 after the first quarter and had a 24-18 lead at halftime.
In the second half, though, Tonganoxie slowly built momentum.
The Chargers extended the lead to 27-18 with a three-point shot, only to have the Chieftains answer with a 6-0 run. THS outscored Santa Fe Trail 13-8 in the third, and senior Bryan Gurss had 10 of those.
In the fourth quarter, the Chieftains finished with 18 points and went ahead for good, despite a late Charger rally.
Friday's win came after the Chieftains dropped a home game to Immaculata on Feb. 12. The Raiders won 61-50, as Thomas Gilner scored a team-high 13 points and Shane Howard had nine in the loss.
The win against Santa Fe Trail, though, puts the Chieftains in position to register a winning season. If the Chieftains win their final three games against Piper, De Soto and Mill Valley, they'll finish 11-9. Tonganoxie once again faced a highly regarded opponent in No. 11 Piper (15-4 and 12-1) on the road Tuesday. Those results will appear in next Wednesday's edition of the Mirror. The Chieftains have followed a trend of physical games lately, and Walker hopes it will help as sub-state nears.
"We knew it was going to be physical," Walker said. "It's coming close to that time of year when if you lose you go home. We just need to keep kicking and fighting."