Girls throttle Lansing, go to 16-0
So this is what the top-ranked team in the state is supposed to look like.
The Tonganoxie High girls -- ranked No. 1 in Kansas Class 4A and undefeated for the season -- started the season on a tear. Then they endured a mid-season "slump" in which they continued to win but struggled to put teams away. Two of those narrow victories came against rival Lansing.
Friday night the Lions returned to the Tonganoxie High School gymnasium hoping to pull off the upset, but the Chieftains would have nothing of it. Instead, they delivered a performance that gave credibility to the lofty ranking.
The Chieftains didn't turn down an open shot, and they rarely misfired. When they did, they usually grabbed the rebound and scored on the follow-up. They also defended with passion and held the Lions to 28.5-percent shooting. The final result was a 66-33 Chieftain victory that should send chills down the spine of other teams in Tonganoxie's substate bracket.
"Hopefully we played like a completely different ball team," THS coach Randy Kraft said. "Early in the year we were playing more like this, and then we got into a conservative roll. Kids weren't looking for shots and we weren't attacking the basket enough. The last few games we've been starting to do a better job of it, and tonight I thought we did a phenomenally good job of it."
Tonganoxie's killer-instinct offense was bad news for Lansing. The Lions started hot as Brittney Lang and Katie Nietzke sank three-pointers for a 6-1 lead after the first minute.
The Chieftains closed the quarter on an 18-2 run, however. Ali Pistora scored nine points during that span and Christy Weller swished a trey.
Marred by early foul trouble and an inability to score against Tonganoxie's smothering defense, Lansing was barely hanging on after the first quarter. Pistora delivered the dagger early in the second quarter when she pulled up at the top of the key and buried back-to-back three-pointers.
Then she scored on a runner and a lay-up on the next two possessions. That gave Pistora 10 straight points, and it gave the Chieftains a 29-11 lead with 4:51 left in the first half. Tonganoxie's lead was 40-23 at halftime.
"They flat-out came to play," LHS coach Keith Andrews said of the Chieftains. "I asked coach what he fed to Ali. Ali came to play. She had 19 at half, and she's inside, outside, doing what she wants. We're pushing on her but she still just came to play, and that's a credit to her and a credit to them."
Nietzke knocked down an 18-footer and Christine Cordes scored two buckets for Lansing in a short run that trimmed the Tonganoxie lead to 13 points early in the third quarter, but THS responded with a 19-4 run that included seven points by Weller and five from Chrissie Jeannin.
Lansing didn't score in the fourth quarter and Tonganoxie had just five points in the final period as both coaches cleared their benches and played the reserves.
Andrews said he was impressed by Tonganoxie's all-around performance. He also credited the Chieftains with taking the Lions out of their rhythm early.
"We didn't play all that bad," Andrews said. "They just played pretty darn good."
"We want to get where Tongie is," he added. "We want to be that team one of these days."
Pistora scored a game-high 21 points. Weller also was in double-figures for the Chieftains with 10 points. Rachel Bogard, Rebecca Bogard and Shannon Carlin added nine apiece.
Nietzke led Lansing with 16 points, Lang had seven, Cordes had four and three others added two.
Tonganoxie improved to 16-0, while Lansing dropped to 6-10.
THS will play Piper on Tuesday in Tonganoxie and will travel Friday to take on Bonner Springs.
Chieftains handle Charger challenge
The Chieftains took a firm hold of the reins in the Kaw Valley League race with a 47-29 win against Santa Fe Trail on Feb. 6 in rural Carbondale.
The two teams were undefeated in KVL play heading into the showdown, but a breakthrough third quarter helped the Chieftains put the game out of reach.
THS held a 18-12 lead at halftime, but scored 19 in the third quarter and held a 37-16 lead.
Tonganoxie 66, Lansing 33
Score by quarters
Lansing 8 15 10 0 -- 33
Tonganoxie 19 21 21 5 -- 66
Lansing -- Chiles 2, Nietzke 16, Lang 7, Briggs 2, Cristiano 2, Cordes 4.
Tonganoxie -- V. Grizzle 1, Weller 10, Pistora 21, Baska 2, Carlin 9, Jeannin 5, Re. Bogard 12, Ra. Bogard 6.
Tonganoxie 47, Santa Fe Trail 28
Score by quarters
Tonganoxie 9 9 19 10 -- 47
Santa Fe Trail 5 7 4 13 -- 28
Tonganoxie -- Weller 11, Ra. Bogard 9, Baska 7, Carlin 7, Pistora 5, Re. Bogard 4, Jeannin 4.
Santa Fe Trail -- Pryor 10, Barezinsky 8, Rutter 5, Long 2, Weber 2, Wiscombe 2.