Archive for Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Tournament title game ends busy week for Tonganoxie sports

January 23, 2002

Whew. Who's winded?

The Tonganoxie Invitational concluded Saturday, and the 43rd installment might have been one of its best.

Tonganoxie's eight-team field brought schools from four different classes and included a few memorable ingredients.

The invitational was exciting.

The tournament's 12 games included six decided by three points or fewer. Ironically, Saturday's game provided fewer thrills, as only one game the seventh-place contest was decided by 22 points or less.

The invitational had impressive individual performances.

Van Horn's Michael Lang logged 82 points in three games, including 38 against Bonner Springs on Friday. A total of 30 of those came in the second half against the Braves.

Bonner Springs' Sean Birdsong also reached the 30-point mark, scoring 32 against Tonganoxie. Although he scored just six against Van Horn, he had 21 against Oskaloosa while battling the flu.

The invitational saw frustration turn into celebration.

Olathe Christian, which lost to Tonganoxie and Lansing in the final seconds, defeated Oskaloosa in overtime, 69-67, in the seventh-place game.

The invitational featured Cinderellas.

Perhaps records were deceiving, but three higher seeds fell in the opening round, with Bonner Springs, the No. 4 seed, the only team to advance on the winner's side. Last year, all four higher seeds fell.

The invitational had quirks.

Things became crazy from time-to-time. Dunks seemed more common than usual and coaches sounded a little louder than usual. Even some fans tried to throw off a free-throw shooter with a banner and some taunting. This is acceptable in college, but not so much at the prep level.

The invitational had perks.

This wasn't available to everyone, but coaches and other officials were treated to food in Tonganoxie's Hospitality Room, which had the potential to be the Gluttony Room. Volunteers should be commended for their contributions.

Any way it's sliced, this year's tournament was a success.

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The basketball tournament was the second half of arguably the busiest stretch of the year for Tonganoxie sports. First, the Randy Starcher Invitational was held Jan. 12, also at the high school. Tonganoxie took second out of 11 teams participating in an all-day event in Phil Lobb Gymnasium.

The mats stayed down for a youth wrestling tournament on Jan. 13, when 301 wrestlers ages 6-14 competed for another all-day event.

The 6-year-olds were the most entertaining, as some might have trouble spelling the sport, but all were definitely competing.

A few years ago, it was a possibility wrestling at THS would be discontinued. After the recent wrestlingfest, it's clear that the sport has life in Tonganoxie.

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OK, so a game show isn't technically a sport, but it is a game, so it fit in this column.

New shows The Chamber and The Chair are basically extreme Who Wants to be a Millionaire? After watching The Chamber on Sunday, I realized that these contestants probably wouldn't be millionaires, but would earn some money after answering questions while being situated in an enclosed contraption or a chair.

Contestants are subjected to extreme temperatures and other contraptions while answering questions. In "The Chamber," participants are hooked up to monitors that decide if their vitals are stable.

Hmmm, it's interesting that the U.S. government's concerned about China's human rights.

Ah, but these game shows are voluntary, so it makes for great television.

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