Downtown planning to turn out for team
Tonganoxie's urged to paint Fourth Street red Thursday morning.
Tonganoxie High girls basketball supporters are hoping to line Fourth Street with well-wishers on Thursday as the team bus heads through downtown on its way to the state tournament in Salina.
The Chieftains defeated Sumner Academy in overtime Saturday to earn a berth in the Class 4A state tournament.
And several local residents are working to give the team a proper send-off.
Tammy and Bryan Kemp, who own The Light Bulb Place, worked Monday along with their daughter, Hannah, to make and distribute fliers downtown. Bryan and Hannah visited downtown businesses, encouraging them to decorate their windows, in support of the team. If businesses couldn't decorate windows themselves, Kemp said he and his wife could provide posters.
On Thursday, Tonganoxie Elementary School students are expected to be outside their school as the caravan rolls along Fourth Street.
THS athletics director Brandon Parker said Monday that the team bus would roll through downtown between 10 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.
Tonganoxie schools will be dismissed at 1:30 p.m. Thursday to provide time for fans to travel to Salina, where tip-off is set about 8:15 p.m. at the Bicentennial Center. If Tonganoxie wins Thursday, school will be dismissed at 1 p.m. Friday for a 6:30 p.m. semifinal game in Salina.
Diane Bretthauer of The Insurance Center, asked that local residents and employees wear red to support the team as it makes its way along Fourth Street.
"I think it would be neat going down main street," she said. "The way they played Saturday, they deserve it."
Tonganoxie erased a late Sumner lead and forced the game into overtime on an Ali Pistora running jumper. The Chieftains then erupted in the overtime and secured a state berth with a 56-44 victory.
The Tonganoxie alum also would like to see red ribbons on light poles downtown -- if the city allows it. The trick, Bretthauer said, was finding red ribbons this time of year. If it were Christmas time, that would be an easy feat, she said.
Whether it be downtown or in the schools, people are abuzz about Tonganoxie's trip to state.
"I think everyone's having a hard time focusing," Parker said with a grin. "God knows I am because I'm getting 10,000 phone calls."
The Chieftains, who are 21-2 on the season, will face Royal Valley (17-6) in their first-round match-up.
If Tonganoxie wins that game, the team will play in the state semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Friday and then will play at noon Saturday in the consolation game or at 4 p.m. in the title game.
A loss to Royal Valley, however, would send the Chieftains home for good Thursday.
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