Imac ruins boys surge to finals
The magical ride ended one half too early for the Tonganoxie High boys team.
A win Saturday would have given the Chieftains a Tonganoxie Invitational on the tourney's 45th anniversary. A title victory also would have put THS back at .500 for the year heading into the brunt of the Kaw Valley League.
For a half, it seemed both goals were in reach.
Tonganoxie answered every Immaculata run and held a one-point lead twice in the first half before heading into the locker room trailing 29-28.
Despite shooting just 34 percent from the field in the first half, Tonganoxie held the state-ranked and once-beaten Raiders in check. THS also kept 6-4 Danny McEvoy from having a quick start. The junior had just six points at the break.
But things went south for Tonganoxie in the third quarter.
Danny McEvoy Immaculata
Shane Howard Tonganoxie
Kirk Rodell Tonganoxie
Jeff Slater Lansing
Sterling Jackson Maur Hill
Matt Scanlon Immaculata
Brady Rodecap Jeff West
Chris Gabriel Eudora
Billy Morehead Lansing
Tim Supplee Immaculata
Most Valuable Player: Danny McEvoy
Most Inspirational: Derek Sparks
Tournament champion: Immaculata
Up-from-under award: Tonganoxie
The Raiders opened the second half with a 6-0 run. And even when McEvoy was called for his third personal early in the second half, the Raiders made adjustments with their star player on the bench.
Immaculata held the Chieftains to just 12 points in the second half as THS shot a miserable 21 percent (5-of- 24) from the field.
The Raiders, meanwhile, kept their offensive output at about the same rate on their way to a 60-40 victory.
After attacking the basket in the first half, the Chieftains couldn't do the same in the final 16 minutes.
"They did a good job of going to a real compact defense," THS coach David Walker said. "We were just missing some outside shots and didn't get the opportunities.
In the second half, that wasn't the case for Immaculata, which improved to 10-1 on the season. And despite containing McEvoy in the first half, the IHS standout came back with 14 second-half points and was named the tournament MVP after the game.
Senior Luke McCarty, who was one of Tonganoxie's scrappier players during the tournament, said the Chieftains were forced out of their game plan.
"We just didn't have patience," McCarty said. "Everybody wanted to score the points. We still played as a team but took the shots too early."
Junior Kirk Rodell also spent plenty of time on the floor hustling for loose balls. On one occasion, Rodell flew out of bounds headfirst to save an errant rebound.
"We're a scrappy team," said Rodell, who along with Shane Howard were named to the all-tournament team. "When we hustle, we get loose balls. That's pretty much our defense.
"It really pumps up the team and gets them going."
Now 4-6, the Chieftains will have another five weeks of regular season before entering their next tournament -- a Class 4A substate in Lansing.
Although Jeff West was in the Tonganoxie Invitational, the Tigers never faced the host school in the boys bracket.
The two teams will meet Friday in Meriden. The teams met last year in the Tonganoxie Invitational when the Chieftains survived a Jeff West rally in the quarterfinals. THS won, 60-56.