THS looks for repeat against visiting Lansing
Time for another rematch against an arch-rival.
Tonganoxie dropped Lansing in the first meeting this season between the two boys teams.
After that game, Lansing dropped to 0-5, while Tonganoxie improved to 4-0.
Since then, the teams have moved closer as far as records go. Lansing has gone 5-4 since that game and now stands at 5-9.
Tonganoxie, meanwhile, went 5-5 since that game and was 9-5 heading into Tuesday's game at Santa Fe Trail, a contest that didn't make The Mirror's deadline.
"I think that we've got to keep our eyes open for the simple fact that they are a very improved basketball team," THS coach David Walker said. "They're winning games, but they are competing with teams early on they didn't think they could compete with."
Walker would gladly take a repeat of that first game, a 54-46 Chieftain win. Statistically, Tonganoxie finished the game going 14-for-16 from the line, including 6-for-6 in the fourth quarter.
Lansing, meanwhile, went just 2-for-13 from the free-throw line.
"This time of the year, free throws are always a big factor for everyone involved," Walker said. "All teams have improved this time of year. You have to hit free throws, or you will put yourself in a bad position."
Walker said his Chieftains would need to handle a Lansing team that tries to keep a different pace.
"I think they've tried to slow some tempos down," Walker said. "I think it's going to be important for us to run our tempo, which is a little faster than what they like to run. And, most importantly, not giving them the basketball."
After dropping back-to-back games to Basehor-Linwood, the Chieftains defeated Immaculata, 67-59, Jan. 30 in Tonganoxie.
Tonganoxie led, 29-17, at halftime and led by as many as 21 (55-34) in the third quarter. Immaculata battled back in the fourth with 26 points, but the Chieftains held on for the eight-point victory.
"I think they hit some tough shots," Walker said about the fourth-quarter outburst.
He also said ball games can sometimes go that direction when a team is up by a hefty margin.
"Sometimes that's just human nature," Walker said.
The Chieftains seemed to be clicking against the Raiders, whether it was scores in the paint or mid-range jumpers.
Gabe Belobrajdic, who scored a game-high 22, said Tonganoxie played relaxed against IHS.
"We played a lot slower, not really slow, but at our pace," Belobrajdic said.
The junior also noted that players rotated the ball well on offense.
"After you work it a couple times, you can hit the open jumper," he said.
Jeff Hughes also was in double figures with 18, while Tyler Miles scored 12 for THS. Zeb Kissinger scored nine, Austin Smith four and Jordan Herron two.
The Immaculata game also marked the first time in the last few games the entire team was healthy at the same time. Walker said players have been battling various illnesses.
"We have enough antibiotics on the team to be a Canadian pharmacy," Walker said jokingly.
For more on Tuesday's game at Santa Fe Trail, log on to The Mirror's Web site, www.tonganoxiemirror.com.
Tonganoxie 67, Immaculata 59
Score by quarters
Immaculata 11 6 15 26 -- 59
Tonganoxie 17 12 22 16 -- 67
Immaculata -- Matzeder 5, Koorser 15, Bassett 6, Beasley 4, Mitchells 6, Borman 7, Kelly 4, Ferrara 12.
Tonganoxie -- Miles 12, Hughes 18, Belobrajdic 22, Smith 4, Kissinger 9, Herron 2.