Archive for Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Chinstraps and Mouthpieces: Tournament keeps writer thinking hoops 24-7

January 25, 2006

Basketball is affecting my sleep.

While covering the Tonganoxie Invitational Tournament last week, I didn't see every minute of all 24 games played in the tournament, but I did watch a fair share of them.

This is the only explanation for a dream I had last week.

I was on the court and my team was playing against Eudora.

I can't remember for which team I was playing. I do recall the high school coach, who is the boys coach at my alma mater.

Why my team was playing Eudora, I have no idea. Yes, the Cardinals were playing the Tonganoxie tournament, but why they were in my dream, I haven't a clue.

The point's clear -- I couldn't get basketball out of my head, even if it was subconsciously.

With a tournament like this one, however, it shouldn't be a surprise that I had visions of basketballs dancing in my head.

Among the 24 games, eight were decided by five points or less. Of those games, three went into overtime.

An added bonus to covering this tournament is keeping tabs on the teams as the season continues.

On the girls side, Silver Lake seems capable of making another state run. Although the latest Kansas Basketball Coaches Association poll doesn't have Silver Lake in its top 10 in Class 3A, it's likely they'll be ranked at some point.

As for Tonganoxie, which lost its first game of the year thanks to Silver Lake, the team jumped up to No. 2 in 4A despite the loss to the Eagles. The Chieftains previously were ranked No. 3.

Tonganoxie, like Silver Lake, could make a return to its respective state tournament, but the Chieftains will have to get through Kansas City Sumner, which is ranked No. 4 in the state. And, for added pressure, substate will be held at Sumner.

And don't forget Metro Academy, which reportedly was playing double the games last week because the Mavs also were playing in another tournament. Although Metro isn't eligible for the state tournament, the Mavs should again be a force at the national home-school tournament.

On the boys side, only one of the two teams that played in the championship game will have a shot at state. Jeff West and Atchison both will be playing in a 4A substate that Jeff West will host. In Saturday's championship game, Atchison pulled away from Jeff West in the second half and earned a convincing win. But at substate, Atchison might face Jeff West again.

The latest KBCA poll had Atchison at No. 5 and Jeff West at No. 6. Topeka-Hayden, which is No. 3, also will be at the substate. Whichever team advances from that substate should be well-prepared for the state tournament.

After watching Eudora, Silver Lake, Immaculata and Pleasant Ridge play, it appeared those teams could make some noise at substate as well.


New Year's resolutions for me might as well start next month.

There's Thanksgiving, there's Christmas and then there's the Tonganoxie Invitational Tournament hospitality room.

Players' parents and boosters keep the hospitality room stocked with great food throughout the tournament week.

From barbecue to cold cuts, and just-out-of-the-oven cookies to fresh vegetables, there's always something good to eat at the tournament for coaches, officials and even a few media members.

Thank you, hospitality room organizers, for delaying that diet one more week.

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