Lansing girls thrive on new team unity
The story of the year in the Kaw Valley League this season quite easily could be the girls' basketball revival taking place at Lansing High School.
One year removed from a 7-14 season, the LHS girls are near the top of the standings in the KVL with a 5-3 overall record and 3-1 mark in the league.
The Lions haven't just been winning. They've been winning big, with blowouts of Atchison, Basehor-Linwood, Mill Valley and Piper to their credit so far.
What once was a frustrated squad has turned into the happy fun bunch.
"We're working hard for our wins, said junior Amanda Radovich, who leads the Lions with 15.5 points per game. "We're working hard and we're winning. We're going out to win, and the fun is a result of the winning."
So, just how has this quick turnaround happened?
It starts with first-year coach Keith Andrews.
He has demanded his players work harder while at the same time fostering an atmosphere at practice that always is positive.
He scripted an up-tempo offense and a swarming defense.
The Lions bought into Andrews' system immediately, and the results have spoken for themselves.
"The intensity is good and the kids are having fun," Andrews said. "They're high-fiving and jumping around."
As they should be. The Lions won three straight heading into winter break and then returned for a fourth straight victory when they throttled Piper, 61-45, for the first four-game winning streak in recent memory.
"I don't think I've ever won four in a row at Lansing. That's exciting," said Radovich, a third-year varsity player.
Lansing hasn't been an offensive juggernaut, averaging just over 51 points per game, but the defense has limited opponents to 45 points per game and consistently keeps its foes around that mark.
The Lions play a swarming defense and use a balanced scoring attack, which has made them difficult to stop in recent games. Although Radovich has been the go-to scorer, seniors Emily Goodlin and Monique Richardson and junior Amanda Darrow all average about eight points per game.
Andrews hasn't been afraid to go deep into his bench either, having used 12 players in all but one game this season. Of the reserves, freshman Katie Nietzke and junior Nichole Twitchell have provided the biggest offensive boost off the bench by chipping in about five points apiece.
"It's really comforting," Richardson said of the Lions' depth. "We always feel confident when we go on the court knowing whoever comes in can pick up the game for whoever is going off."