Chieftain boys hang with Sabres early, but can’t close deal at substate
During the first quarter of last week's Class 4A substate tournament quarterfinal against Sumner, the Tonganoxie High boys basketball team seemed determined to extend its winning streak to three games.
After losing 18 straight games, the Chieftains had rattled off two victories in their final regular-season games, against Perry-Lecompton and Basehor-Linwood.
Facing top-seed Sumner, the Chieftains, at No. 8 seed, had a monumental task.
The challenge wasn't all that daunting in the first period. THS matched Sumner's scores with points of their own, and the game was tied at 15.
It was that second quarter, however, that doomed the underdog Chieftains.
Sumner outscored Tonganoxie, 25-9, in that quarter on its way to a 75-45 victory.
The Chieftains faced the Sabres, 16-4, on their home court in Kansas City, Kan. THS junior Zeb Kissinger said the Chieftains weren't concerned about the difference in records.
"We didn't treat this game any differently," Kissinger said. "We weren't scared of them. We beat ourselves because of our turnovers."
Fellow junior Tyler Miles led Tonganoxie in scoring with 22, while Jeff Hughes and Kissinger each had seven.
Tonganoxie ended the season at 2-19, but the Chieftains will lose just one player to graduation from this year's squad.
Zack Pistora was Tonganoxie's lone senior this season.
THS coach David Walker said he was proud his team didn't quit at the end of the season and its effort against Sumner.
"It's a good group, and I expect them to work hard over the summer," Walker said.
Kissinger agreed with his coach.
"I think we know what we have to do to get better," Kissinger said. "We have to focus on fundamentals and work hard next year."
Sumner finished its season at 19-4 after losing Saturday to Piper in the substate championship finals.
Sumner 75, Tonganoxie 45
Score by quarters
Tonganoxie 15 9 13 8 -- 45
Sumner 15 25 18 17 -- 75
Tonganoxie -- Miles 22, Hughes 7, Belabradjic 3, Kissinger 7, Herron 4, Pistora 2.
Sumner -- Gaston 6, Johnson 8, Mills 13, Robinson 11, Slaughter 13, Bennett 19, Boyce 1, Thomas 2, Hyrne 2.
Three-point goals -- THS: Miles 2. SA: Bennett 1.