Chieftain girls seek tourney crown
Team finished second at last year’s inaugural girls tourney
Jeff West denied Tonganoxie High from winning the inaugural Tonganoxie Invitational girls tournament last season.
The teams could meet again Friday in this year's tournament semifinals.
A Jeff West win against Immaculata and a THS victory against Atchison would put the two teams together this week.
The two squads actually played again after last year's tournament with a regular-season game in Meriden in late January last season, a rematch Tonganoxie won.
The Chieftains, ranked in the top 15 in Class 4A, sported a 6-2 record entering the invitational.
Most of Tonganoxie's wins have been blowout victories, while their two losses were heartbreakers at the Ike Cearfoss Memorial Invitational early last month at Central Heights.
Tonganoxie is a team that can get up and down the court.
And with some height in seniors Addie Heim and Heather Deaver and sophomore Ali Pistora, Tonganoxie poses a threat.
Pistora sometimes plays in the guard position, which also makes coach Randy Kraft's job a little easier.
"We create some match-up problems with a 6-1 point guard," Kraft said.
Tonganoxie features two other seniors in Laura Jeannin and Madison Weller, but the Chieftains also have decent balance among classes.
Amanda Lenon and Kelley Stauch are the varsity team's juniors, while Rebecca and Rachel Bogard join Pistora in the sophomore class.
The tournament team also includes freshman Elizabeth Baska.
With Jeff West, Silver Lake, Immaculata and upstart Lansing in the mix, this year's tournament looks to be a good one.
"It's going to be tough," Kraft said. "It will be a tougher tournament than last year."
But as Deaver pointed out, being at home for the tournament is a big plus.
Instead of traveling back and forth to another site, players can keep tabs on all the other squads from the comfort of their own gymnasium.
Being at home also helps bring the fans out, especially parents, Deaver said.
"The parents are always there," the senior said. "Even if it's slick outside or it's zero degrees."
Tonganoxie will play either Thursday in the consolation bracket or Friday in the tournament semifinals. A win Friday would adavnce them to the championship game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.