TMS and Piper respected rivals in ‘08
The Tonganoxie Middle School eighth-grade A team has had quite the rivalry with Piper to start the 2007-2008 basketball season.
In the six games Tonganoxie has played, Piper was the opponent in two of them. The games have literally gone to the last second in both contests.
In the first meeting of the season on Jan. 10, Piper beat Tonganoxie, 33-32. In the next meeting, on Jan. 22, TMS gave Piper some of its one-point medicine and won, 37-36.
The Warriors are now 3-3 on the season.
"The kids were psyched," Warriors coach Scott Leffler said of the victory against Piper. "They were jumping up and down, high-fiving and bumping chests. It was pretty cool to see how well the kids reacted."
Leffler described the victory as a "heart-pounding moment." Piper had a shot at the game-winner with Tonganoxie ahead by one, but the three-point prayer clanked off the rim.
"I knew if we fouled again, they were going to the line," Leffler said of Tonganoxie's final defensive stand. "I just told the kids not to foul. I told them not to reach, move their feet and play defense. Don't touch them."
Tonganoxie's two other victories this season were against Monticello and Mill Creek.
The two other TMS losses were against Lansing and Perry-Lecompton.
The Warriors are led by the scoring trio of Dane Erickson, Dylan Jacobs and Colby Yates.
Erickson and Jacobs, both 6-foot post players, have been fairly dominant in league play, according to Leffler.
"Dane has a really good shot," Leffler said of Erickson. "He's pretty accurate with his shot from a short range.
"Dylan's just so smooth out there on the floor. It's really pleasant to watch him work. I get all over him about getting to the basket, but when he does, he's really good."
Leffler said some key defensive contributors were Caleb Himpel, Austin Harkrader and Kody Campbell.
There's no state tournament for the eighth-graders as is the case at the high school level, but TMS will play in a postseason tournament on Feb. 21 at Basehor-Linwood.
It will be a four-team tournament, including Tonganoxie, Basehor-Linwood, Piper and Monticello.
Perhaps that Tonganoxie-Piper rivalry isn't over just yet.