THS boys finish invitational victorious
Lansing wins it all
The Tonganoxie High boys basketball team defeated Jeff West, 62-51, Saturday in the seventh-place game of the Tonganoxie Invitational.
Sure, Tonganoxie didn't set a goal of placing seventh of eight teams in its own tournament. But there's also half of a season left to play. The Chieftains (3-9) played with more emotion and energy than they've displayed all season.
Austin Smith crashed the offensive glass harder than he had all year. Jeremy Carlisle, who doesn't even start, frustrated Jeff West guards by scrapping for two steals off inbounds passes. On the steals, Carlisle was literally a one-man full-court press. He made Jeff West guards work for every offensive dribble they took for the length of the floor.
"Guys are starting to understand that it pays off when you play as hard as they did today," THS coach David Walker said. "This game was huge in the sense that I thought we played two well-fought games prior to this one. To come back and play as hard we did was huge for us. Sometimes, the tendency would be to let up a little bit. I couldn't be prouder of a bunch of guys than I am right now."
Tonganoxie protected a 19-9 lead after the first quarter.
An instance that said a lot about how the game went: With about 20 seconds left in the first quarter, THS scored a layup. Carlisle pressured the ensuing inbounds pass, which sailed over the head of Myles Wulfekoetter of Jeff West. Carlisle picked the ball up and dished to Gabe Belobrajdic, who sprinted from half court and converted the layup.
THS scored four points in roughly five seconds to end the first quarter.
The Chieftains did an admirable job containing Jeff West senior center Tom Shirley, who poses match-up problems for mostly all teams he faces. Shirley stands 6-foot-7, but doesn't solely operate in the paint. He can also step out for perimeter shots.
Shirley scored 21 points on Saturday. THS rotated defenders on him. Letourneau started the game guarding him. Belobrajdic occasionally guarded him. Smith filled in and was effective on the defensive and offensive side of the ball against Shirley.
"We wanted to put enough pressure on the guards so they didn't have easy looks at him," Walker said of Shirley. "Then, we were trying to help out every time we could. I have to give a lot of credit to our big guys. Tyson Letourneau played huge. Gabe played well. Bill (Smith's nickname) played phenomenal."
Tonganoxie led, 33-19, at halftime and 46-35 after the third quarter. Shirley kept Jeff West in the game, but Tonganoxie never let the lead get lower than 10 points in the final quarter.
"It's big for us because we always tell our team with each success comes different challenges," Walker said. "One of the challenges for them now is to maintain this enthusiasm and this effort level. The coaching staff, the fans and themselves have seen it. Now we know what to expect."
Scoring by quarter:
Tonganoxie 19 14 13 16 - 62
Jeff West 9 10 16 16 - 51
See Wednesday's edition of The Mirror for the full story.
Lansing wins boys title
The Lansing High boys basketball team defeated Atchison, 80-56, Saturday night to win the Tonganoxie Invitational tournament championship.
Atchison had won the tournament three years in a row and four of the last five years.
Bobby Hauver led LHS with 22 points, while Clayton Hall added 19.
Lansing moved to 9-3 on the season.