Tonganoxie girls, boys falter in regular-season finales
The Tonganoxie High girls and boys basketball teams lost on Senior Night on Friday to Mill Valley.
The Chieftain girls lost for the first time in the last 14 games when their chance for a game-winning basket went awry.
THS had possession of the ball in the final 10 seconds of the game, but after numerous passes, many around the perimeter between Chrissie Jeannin and Christy Weller, teh Chieftains could not get a decent shot off and ran out of time. The loss dropped THS to 17-3 entering Class 4A substate action. Tonganoxie is the No. 2 seed and will play Atchison at 7 p.m. Monday in Tonganoxie.
In the boys game, Tonganoxie and Mill Valley were neck-and-neck in the first quarter, as MVHS led 13-11 heading into the second. The Jaguars bult their lead in the second quarter, thanks mostly to a 9-1 run during the quarter and held a 32-21 lead at halftime.
The Jags incrased that lead in the third to 16 late in the third, 49-35, but Tonganoxie scored on a Gabe Belobrajdic bucket late in the third that started an 8-0 run into the fourth. Tonganoxie trailed 49-41 and had the home crowd amped for an even bigger rally. However, a Mill Valley three-pointer with 5:39 left in the fourth took the air out of Tonganoxie's sails. THS never got closer and fell, 64-49.
THS coach David Walker viewed the loss as a confidence builder heading into substate because the team improved against the Mill Valley press from the first meeting between the schools.
"They just chewed us up with their press the first time," Walker said.
In addition to an improved effort against the press, Walker said his team did a better job put pressure on the opposition, something that should aid the Chieftains when they take a No. 6 seed into substate at 7 p.m. Tuesday against No. 3 Holton.
Senior Gabe Belobrajdic is eager to carry over Friday's improvements to the substate game against the Wildcats at Holton.
"I think we played really good defense," Belobrajdic said. "We really have nothing to lose; go in there and put it all on the line."
THS only has a few days to prepare for the Wildcats, who are 15-5 on the season.
"We just know they're really physical," Belobrajdic said. "I think we're ready for it."