THS girls earn win on emotional night
Tonganoxie High coach Randy Kraft had seen it earlier in the week.
Piper used a deliberate offense early against Tonganoxie in a game Feb. 15.
On Friday, Mill Valley used the same game plan. The Jaguars used several passes before taking a shot. Pick after pick, screen after screen, the Chieftains didn't score early because Mill Valley was holding onto the ball in a methodical offense.
That eventually changed.
Addie Heim scored Tonganoxie's first five points, then Ali Pistora scored the next five -- and the Chieftains were in business.
Tonganoxie's 10-0 lead held up during the Senior Night 57-32 romp over the visiting Jaguars.
Heim was one of four seniors playing in her final home regular-season game. The forward went out in style, scoring a game-high 20 as Tonganoxie improved its records to 15-2 overall and 10-0 in the Kaw Valley League.
"It was just awesome," Heim said. "I couldn't ask for anything better. We came out on fire."
Once the up-tempo Chieftains started forcing Mill Valley turnovers, the game swung toward Tonganoxie's style of play.
The Chieftains led, 16-7, after the first quarter and were up, 31-15 at halftime.
Kraft challenged his team to come out of the gates again after the break, but the Chieftains struggled. Mill Valley (4-14 overall and 2-10 in the KVL) played even with Tonganoxie throughout a good portion of the third. At one point, Mill Valley cut the lead to 34-22 and again at 36-24.
"I think part of it might have been trying to go out and put the final nail in the coffin," Kraft said.
In the fourth, though, Tonganoxie had the nail lined up just right and hit the hammer squarely on the head.
A 15-6 fourth-quarter advantage pushed Tonganoxie to its 13th straight victory.
With the Santa Fe Trail game the next day, Kraft wanted to keep his starters out of the game longer against Mill Valley, but every time Kraft was ready to keep some starters on the bench, Mill Valley would cut into the lead.
As Kraft put it, though, playing back-to-back games this time of year is something the Chieftains need to get used to.
"It's just like substate," Kraft noted. "We have to play back-to-back. We better be ready for that, hadn't we?"
Heim and her fellow seniors -- Laura Jeannin, Heather Deaver and Madison Weller -- are eager for a run at a state berth.
But Friday night, as seniors for all winter sports and activities were introduced between the girls and boys games, it was hard for the girls to bid farewell to the THS gymnasium in their regular-season home finale.
"Usually I'm pretty fine, but once everybody started tearing up, I started to lose it," Heim said.
Tonganoxie 57, Mill Valley girls 32
Mill Valley 7 8 11 6 -- 32
Tonganoxie 16 15 11 15 -- 57
Mill Valley -- Heuback 3, Grant 4, Corley 14, M. Niemann 8, N. Niemann 2, O'Hara 1.
Tonganoxie -- Pistora 16, Heim 20, Deaver 10, Re. Bogard 4, Ra. Bogard 3, Baska 4.