Tongie boys mount comeback, girls roll at Anderson County
Garnett For more than a half, the Tonganoxie boys found themselves on the wrong side of a lopsided score at Anderson County on Friday.
However, with their backs against the wall several minutes after intermission, the Chieftains came to life in a big way.
Senior Dane Erickson led all scorers with 22 points and Tonganoxie (2-1) erased an 11-point, third quarter deficit to defeat the Bulldogs 70-67.
"It would have been real easy for us to feel sorry for ourselves and just quit playing," coach Shawn Phillips said. "But what I'm most proud of about these guys is they kept fighting. It was an uphill battle the entire game."
The Chieftains entered the second half down just eight, but Anderson County extended its lead to 43-32 midway through the third quarter. From there, Phillips' squad began to chip away. They trimmed the Bulldogs' advantage to 54-49 at the end of the period, setting up some late-game fireworks.
Four quick points by junior John Lean got Tonganoxie with four early in the fourth, and the teams traded baskets for several minutes.
The Chieftains finally got over the hump when Lean completed a 3-point play with 1:46 remaining. That gave the red and gold its first lead of the game at 63-61. Lean, Erickson and junior Josh Ghale made shots down the stretch to keep Tonganoxie in front.
"The thing that I really like about this group is I think we're really versatile," Phillips said. "On any given night, we can put in lineups for certain situations."
Ghale and Lean scored 17 and 13 points, respectively.
Poor shooting plagued the Chieftains in the first quarter, and Anderson County took advantage. Tonganoxie managed just two field goals and trailed 18-7 at the end of the period.
Despite the early deficit, the Chieftains regained their composure and began to narrow the gap in the second quarter. Senior Dylan Jacobs provided a spark from outside, going 3-for-3 from beyond the 3-point arc in the first half. His third, which sliced through the net at the halftime buzzer, got Tonganoxie with eight, 33-25.
Anderson County's Jason Stoneking, who led the Bulldogs with 13 points, gave the Chieftains fits in the first half. He connected on six of his first seven shot attempts. But, Stoneking saw limited time in the second half due to foul trouble.
TONGANOXIE GIRLS 54, ANDERSON COUNTY 12
Prior to the boys game, the Tonganoxie girls made quick work of Anderson County, using a red hot start to fuel a 54-12 victory.
Three players reached double figures for the Chieftains (2-1). Senior Tavia Brown led the way with 13 points, while sophomore Emma Stilgenbauer and senior Amanda Holroyd each added 10.
Anderson County came out cold on offense, and Tonganoxie took advantage. The Bulldogs missed their first 16 shot attempts, allowing the Chieftains to sprint out to a 26-0 lead.
"Early on, we fouled a lot," coach Randy Kraft said. "We were too aggressive, but they were just missing shots."
Defensively, Kraft's team kept Anderson County off the scoreboard until a layup by Paige Porter with 5:44 left in the second quarter. Porter drained a 3-pointer on the Bulldogs' next possession, but that's all the points they could muster before half.
The Chieftains went underneath to Stilgenbauer and outside to Holroyd often and took a 31-5 lead at halftime.
Things didn't get any better for the Bulldogs after intermission, as they made just three more shots. They shot just 12 percent from the floor.
"We were trying to be solid, keep in front and make it tough on them," Kraft said. "Early on, our press really bothered them. We just wanted to play really solid defense and work on our game a little bit."
Tonganoxie has now won two straight -- both on the road -- since dropping its season opener to Basehor-Linwood.