Early lead slips away for Chieftains
Just before winter break, on Dec, 20, Tonganoxie appeared determined to win its first game of the season.
The Chieftains boys held a 16-6 lead against visiting De Soto after the first quarter. Although the Wildcats found their offense in the second quarter, THS still had a 28-27 halftime lead. The Chieftains then lost the lead in the third quarter and trailed by four.
It was an even rougher fourth quarter, and that spelled doom for Tonganoxie.
De Soto went on a 10-0 run midway through the final quarter and tallied a 64-49 victory over the winless Chieftains.
The first half of the game, according to THS coach David Walker, was the Chieftains' best, in terms of both offensive and defensive execution.
In the second half, the Chieftains put more pressure on the Wildcats' inside game, but De Soto responded with four three-point shots.
There were times when De Soto's defense pressured the Chieftains into something Walker has said repeatedly that his team needs to reduce -- turnovers.
"We panicked a little bit," Walker said. "We got in a hurry and gave them the ball."
And the coach said the Chieftains needed to control the tempo better.
"We have to learn when to speed up and when to slow down," Walker said. "Because tonight we sped up when we needed to slow down."
Although De Soto outscored Tonganoxie in the second, third and fourth quarters, the Chieftains seemed in control in the opening quarter.
De Soto didn't score its first field goal until the 3:19 mark of the first quarter after connecting on one free throw in the first five minutes.
Of course, Tonganoxie only scored seven points to that point, but the team gained momentum and went on a 9-3 run in the first quarter's final three minutes.
Jeff Hughes led Tonganoxie in scoring with 17, while Jordan Herron also was in double figures with 11.
The Wildcats, though, had three players in double figures -- Scott McElvain with 20, Andrew Linzy with 11 and Taylor Burnett with 10.
The loss dropped Tonganoxie to 0-5 overall. The Chieftains will play again Tuesday at Lansing.
De Soto, a former Kaw Valley League team now playing in the Frontier League, improved to 3-3 on the season heading into the winter break.
After Tonganoxie's game next week against arch-rival Lansing, the Chieftains will play Jan. 6 at home against Mill Valley and Jan. 10 at Immaculata.
The team will be home Jan. 13 against Basehor-Linwood before the Tonganoxie Invitational starts Jan. 16 in Tonganoxie.
De Soto 64, Tonganoxie 49
Score by quarters
De Soto 6 21 15 22 -- 64
Tonganoxie 16 12 10 11 -- 49
De Soto -- Jake Morse 6, Corey McElvain 4, J.T. Thompson 8, Andrew Linzy 11, Erik Hill 2, Jake Collier 1, Taylor Burnett 10, Scott McElvain 20.
Tonganoxie -- Zack Pistora 3, Tyler Miles 5, Jeff Hughes 17, Gabe Belabrajic 4, Bryan Morris 2, Zeb Kissinger 7, Jordan Herron 11.
By the numbers
Free throws: THS 12-22 (54.2 percent); DHS 22-34 (64.7 percent).
Field goals: THS 19-44 (43.2 percent); 18-59 (30.5 percent).
Three-point field goals: THS 1-7 (14.3 percent); DHS 4-7 (57.1 percent).
Points off turnovers: THS 17, DHS 13.
Total rebounds: DHS 42, THS 37.
Points off bench: DHS 18, THS 5.