Braves dash THS upset bid hopes
Underdog Tonganoxie tussled with Bonner Springs for four quarters Monday in a Class 4A quarterfinal game in Bonner Springs.
But just as the first two meetings between the teams unfolded this year, Tonganoxie went home the loser.
Bonner Springs outlasted Tonganoxie, 68-50, and advanced to semifinal action Thursday at Basehor-Linwood.
Although Tonganoxie arguably was at its peak in handling the press, the Chieftains missed too many point-blank shots and committed too many turnovers against the Braves, who improved to 14-6 on the year.
"Sometimes we would get it down to a few points and then lose concentration for a split-second," THS coach David Walker said. "That's just enough time for a good ball team to come back up on you again."
In the first quarter, Tonganoxie trailed, 10-8, when Bonner Springs went on a 5-0 run and held a 15-8 lead after the first period.
In the second quarter, Tonganoxie charged to within three at 18-15, but Bonner Springs then went on a 6-0 run and eventually sported a 27-17 halftime.
In the third quarter, THS cut the lead to six at 27-21, but Bonner Springs slowly widened the margin. Bonner Springs managed a buzzer-beater and the end of the third quarter and pushed its lead to 15.
The Chieftains managed the margin back to single digits at 54-45 with 3:25 left in the game, but the Braves put together one last surge and deleted any Tonganoxie upset hopes.
THS had a rough night from the free-throw line, connecting on just 7-of-20 charity shots. Bonner Springs, meanwhile, went 11-for-17 from the free-throw line.
Tonganoxie hit five three-point shots compared to Bonner's three.
Kirk Rodell scored 12 points for Tonganoxie in his final game in THS basketball uniform. Fellow senior Levi Huseman also had 12. Another senior, Daniel Workman, exited his prep career with 10 as senior big man Michael Morris chipped in six. Also playing in their final games were Sam Mitchell and Robert Kirch, who scored three and two points respectively.
After getting throttled in two previous meetings, Tonganoxie again had to look at less-than-flattering numbers on the scoreboard at the end of Monday's game.
"We were definitely fighting," Mitchell said. "We just weren't making easy shots and were dropping passes."
Tonganoxie ended its season with a 6-15 record.
After two victories in the Osawatomie Tournament in early December, the Chieftains were 2-2 and looked to be in good shape. THS, though, didn't win again until the Tonganoxie Invitational in late January.
The Chieftains had a win against Bishop Ward and back-to-back wins against Santa Fe Trail and Perry-Lecompton to their credit, but THS couldn't string together victories.
Still, Tonganoxie made improvements from December to February, according to Walker.
"I think our progress, for the most part, was in the right direction throughout the season," Walker said. "I felt our effort was much-improved."
Bonner Springs 58, Tonganoxie 40
Tonganoxie 8 9 13 20 -- 40
Bonner Springs 15 12 18 23 -- 58
Tonganoxie -- Rodell 12, Kirch 2, Mitchell 3, Huseman 12, Hughes 4, Morris 6, Workman 10.
Bonner Springs -- Barber 5, Hills 17, Brown 12, Davis 2, McDonald 15, Placher 5, McClain 2, McComb 3, White 7.