THS girls overcome slow start
Tonganoxie looked to be an upset victim early on Friday, on the road at Mill Valley.
The once-beaten Chieftains trailed the Jaguars, 7-0, and were down, 9-4, at the end of the first quarter.
THS junior Ali Pistora, who picked up two fouls in the first two minutes, was sent to the bench with the early foul trouble. She didn't return to the floor until late in the second quarter.
But Mill Valley had its own problems midway through the first when Carly Santaularia, the Jags' leading scorer, went down with an ankle injury. And in the second quarter, starting center Elise Umbarger hurt her shoulder diving for a loose ball.
The two injuries eventually caught up with Mill Valley, and Tonganoxie kept its perfect league record intact with a 57-38 win.
For THS coach Randy Kraft, though, the early scenario was all too familiar.
"We've actually done it several times this year," Kraft said about falling behind early. "It is a concern. You just don't want to get down early.
"A lot of it's been turnovers early in the game. Once we get a rhythm, it's all right."
As for Mill Valley, the Jags held their own in the first half, but as has been the case throughout the season, Tonganoxie was able to pull away late.
"I feel good about the game actually," Mill Valley coach Besty Meeks said. "I guess that proves how good Tongie is. Every time I looked at the scoreboard, I really couldn't believe we were down by that much in the second half."
Mill Valley (7-10) jumped on Tonganoxie early by applying pressure with a man-to-man defense, something Meeks said Tonganoxie is not used to facing.
The Jaguars' 7-0 run to start the game was caused by four straight steals, including three straight from Umbarger (who had six steals and two points before hurting her shoulder), and some pinpoint passing from Santaularia, who opened the game with two straight assists.
But Tonganoxie flexed its muscles, increasing the pressure defensively in the second quarter against Mill Valley and taking an 18-14 lead into halftime.
The Chieftains dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Jags 28-11. Pistora scored 13 third-quarter points after sitting almost the entire first half with her two fouls.
The true key for Tonganoxie, however, was avoiding turnovers after the first period.
"We finished the game with about 20 turnovers -- we had nine in the first quarter," Kraft said. "Obviously that was a big factor."
Tonganoxie (17-1 overall and 11-0 in the Kaw Valley League) played Perry-Lecompton at home Tuesday and closes out the regular season Friday at Basehor-Linwood.
Tonganoxie 57, Mill Valley 38
Score by quarters
Tonganoxie 4 14 28 11 -- 57
Mill Valley 9 5 11 13 -- 38
Tonganoxie -- Hileman 8, Pistora 12, Baska 10, Carlin 4, Stauch 3, Re. Bogard 9, Ra. Bogard 11.
Mill Valley -- McDonald 3, Garlington 11, White 8, O'Hare 3, Umbarger 2, Stacy 5, Jonusas 4, Sheridan 2.