THS, Atchison favorites to win titles
De Soto, Rossville add depth to stacked field at 49th annual basketball tourney
Since Brandon Parker added a girls tournament to the Tonganoxie Invitational five years ago, he said it wasn't rocket science on why the tournament has vastly improved during that span.
"It's just a better tournament if you can have both your (boys and girls) teams in it," said Parker, THS athletics director and Tonganoxie Invitational organizer. "It makes it more fun that we're able now to have eight schools that bring their boys and girls. It makes it convenient for the schools and communities. They can come to one venue and watch both their teams."
That one venue is the Tonganoxie High School gymnasium, which will play host to the 49th annual Tonganoxie Invitational from Monday through Saturday of this week.
The invitational, which is one of the oldest basketball tournaments in the state, will contain the following teams on the boys and girls brackets: Tonganoxie, Lansing, Eudora, Atchison, Jefferson West, De Soto, Silver Lake and Rossville.
This is the first year that De Soto and Rossville will be included in the field.
The favorites on the boys side will be Atchison and Lansing, which both carry 6-3 records into the tournament.
Atchison has won the boys tournament for the past three years. AHS has also claimed the tournament crown four of the past five years.
"They're athletes," Parker said of Atchison. "They've been a little more athletic than other teams we've had. But they've had some tight games. It hasn't been a runaway, but they've come out ahead on all of those. I would imagine we'll see the same type of team in Atchison as a team that likes to get up and down the floor and shoot the ball fast."
The THS boys are the No. 8 seed and drew top-ranked Atchison in the first round. The match-up took place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, but the game ran past The Mirror's press time.
"If they play as hard as they played against Perry, they'll always be in a game," Parker said of THS. "I think anybody really has a chance. It's high school basketball and anything can happen."
On the girls side, Tonganoxie, Eudora (7-1) and Lansing (6-3) are the favorites. The Chieftains enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed at 8-2.
The Chieftains and Lions met in the finals of the girls tournament last year. THS prevailed and won its second Tonganoxie Invitational championship in its four years of existence.
In the four years of the girls tournament, THS has reached the finals every year.
"With our girls, I'll always give them a pretty good chance," Parker said. "I think it's a good girls field. Eudora's a really good team. We've already played them once (Dec. 7, Paola Girls Basketball Invitational finals) and it was a close game (THS won, 47-43). Lansing's a good team with athletes. Silver Lake's well-coached and there's a lot of history there, so they're going to play hard. Jeff West should be better. By no means will this be a cakewalk for the (THS) girls."
Check www.tonganoxiemirror.com throughout the week for tournament results, updates, photos and team reactions from the games.