Tracking the Chieftains
Team heads to Salina for first state basketball appearance since 1998
At 11:15 a.m. Thursday, the Tonganoxie High girls basketball team was chowing down at Coyote Canyon in Topeka.
The team members, who started their journey to the state basketball tournament in Salina, were greeted on their way out of Tonganoxie by well-wishers who lined Fourth Street, waving at the team bus.
¢ Go to Lawrence on U.S. Highway 24-40.
¢ Get on Interstate 70 at the Kansas Turnpike East Lawrence entrance.
¢ Travel west on I-70 to Salina.
¢ Take the Ohio Street exit (Exit 253) from I-70. Turn left on Ohio Street and continue south for three miles. Turn right onto The Midway. The Bicentennial Center is on The Midway.
A police escort led the team out of town, while fire trucks blocked off traffic for the state-bound Chieftains. Tonganoxie elementary students also greeted the team bus in front of the school with several signs. A greeting made of styrofoam cups stuffed through the chain-link fence south of the playground read: "Good Luck At State!"
About 3 p.m., the team planned to stop in Solomon for a shoot-around at Solomon High. Tonganoxie Junior High instructor Chris Weller, who is a Solomon alumnus, coordinated the practice.
When the team arrives at its hotel -- The Hampton Inn -- the players will get ready for another team meal and then will head to the Salina Bicentennial Center between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
The Chieftains will watch part of the Colby-Labette County game and will watch the Iola-Buhler game.
Then it will be game time for Tonganoxie.
The Chieftains (21-2) will take on Royal Valley at 8:15 p.m.
If Tonganoxie loses, the team's season will end.
A win, however, will put the team in the state semifinals and guarantee either a spot in the consolation game at noon Saturday or the state finals at 4 p.m.
Check back to The Mirror's Web site for updates from Salina and expanded coverage of the Chieftains' journey to state in the March 16 edition of The Mirror.