Chieftains suffer loss in Phillips’ debut
First-year Tonganoxie High boys basketball coach Shawn Phillips promised his team would run this year.
The Chieftains did just that on Monday night in their season opener against Harmon at the Paola Invitational, but lost a track meet, 94-79.
After hanging with Harmon in the first half — the Chieftains (0-1) trailed by just six at the break — the game was blown open in the third quarter, when THS was outscored, 24-11.
“We didn’t come out ready,” Phillips said of his team in the second half. “We didn’t have the same intensity, started turning the basketball over a little bit.”
The coach indicated that was something the Chieftains need to fix.
“In order for us to be more successful, we can’t have that letdown quarter,” Phillips said. “The other three quarters, offensively, we executed. We got a lot of easy transition buckets, we shared the basketball.”
Tonganoxie had four players in double figures, led by senior post Austin Smith, who scored 30.
“Austin, he was a man on the boards,” Phillips said. “He was getting all kinds of rebounds and putbacks.”
Smith did most of his damage against a long and athletic Harmon front line that included a 6-foot-8 center, and Phillips lauded Smith’s performance against the big man.
“I wouldn’t trade my 6-5 for him any day,” Phillips said.
Junior forward Keaton Schaffer scored 16, senior forward Jamie Everett added 13 and junior Brandon Yoder chipped in 12 points off the bench. Jace Waters had six points and Jeremy Carlisle, playing with flu-like symptoms, scored two.
Tonganoxie will play Turner — where Phillips coached as an assistant before taking the helm at THS — in the consolation bracket of the Paola Invitational on Tuesday evening. For more on that game, visit www.tonganoxiemirror.com.