THS in Sub-state title game after knocking off No. 1 Lansing
For Tonganoxie, one out of three wasn't bad.
The Chieftains, who dropped two regular season games to Lansing, defeated the top-seeded Lions 70-64 on Friday in a 4A Sub-state in Hiawatha.
Lansing looked to advance early, thanks to four three-pointers in the first quarter and a 20-11 lead, but Tonganoxie changed the momentum and outscored Lansing in the next three quarters. The Lions finished 10-for-30 from behind the arc, and shot 36 % overall, while Tonganoxie was at 50% from the field.
Chieftain coach David Walker said he was impressed with how is team responded in the fourth quarter. Tonganoxie led or was tied the entire quarter.
"That was the key," Walker said. "We kept our composure."
The No. 5 Chieftains got a big lift in the fourth from sophomore Shane Howard. Howard was four-for-four from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, one of which came on a three-point play. The sophomore also finished the game a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe and had 15 points. Bryan Gurss led the Chieftains with 16 points, while Jacob Walker was also in double figures with 11.
The win might be even more meaningful because of the timing. Tonganoxie hasn't had a winning season in 10 years, and has never made it past Sub-state's first round in that span either. Now, the Chieftains (12-10) are ensured their first winning campaign in a decade.
The team's seniors Gurss, Matt Alexander, Thomas Gilner, Jordan Glenn and Kraig LaRosh, couldn't explain what the run has means for a program that's been starved for success for some time.
"We'll talk about that when it's all finished," Gilner said.
Tonganoxie will play No. 6 Atchison on Saturday in the Sub-state finals.
Tonganoxie (12-10) 11 23 15 21 70
Lansing (16-6) 20 17 9 18 64
Jacob Walker 4-8 1-3 11, Shane Howard 4-6 7-7 15, Jordan Glenn 4-7 0-0 8, Thomas Gilner 2-5 4-5 8, Jon Gripka 2-5 1-2 5, Matt Alexander 3-7 0-0 6, Bryan Gurss 5-10 4-6 16, Joe Calovich 0-2 1-2 1. Team Totals: 25-50 18-25 70
David Jackson 6, Hosea Morgan 11, Brian Kern 12, Billy Morehead 4, Joey McKee 14, Thomas Davis 17.