THS boys come up short against Golden Bears
Fresh off a last-second loss Friday at Piper, the Tonganoxie High boys returned home Tuesday to try to end their four-game losing streak against Turner. However, another tightly-contested game ended in disappointment.
The Chieftains led in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, but couldn't find an answer for a late Golden Bear run in a 44-41 loss.
After playing its Class 5A opponent even for three quarters, Tonganoxie (7-10, 3-8 Kaw Valley League) took a 34-32 lead with 6:20 left in the game. The advantage was short-lived, though, as the Golden Bears (3-14, 1-10) responded with a 9-2 scoring burst to take a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Turner used its pressure defense to keep Tonganoxie from finding a rhythm in the final minutes.
The Golden Bear defenses hounded the Chieftains all night, forcing 18 turnovers in the contest. To make matters worse, Tonganoxie was without the services of starting point guard Tyler Ford, who was sidelined with back spasms.
"We've got to be stronger with the basketball. We can't turn it over 18 times and expect to win," coach Shawn Phillips said.
Phillips' squad managed to get within three and had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer, but a last-second three-point attempt by John Lean bounced off the heel of the rim.
Offense was hard to come by for both teams in the early going, as they combined for just 16 points in the opening quarter. The Chieftain defense didn't allow a field goal until more than five minutes into the game, but couldn't take advantage on the other side of the floor. Turner eventually got going and took a two-point lead a the end of the period.
Tonganoxie opened the second quarter on an 8-2 run, but the Golden Bears answered with a 10-3 run of their own to take a 21-18 halftime lead.
Second-chance points haunted Tonganoxie for the duration of the game, as Turner forward Drake Leger followed several missed shots with put-backs or tip-outs to teammates for open looks. When it was all said and done, the Golden Bears held a 35-26 rebounding edge.
"We did a terrible job on the glass," Phillips said. "We can't get beat that much on the glass. (Leger) got a hand on so many basketballs to keep it alive for them. That played a big role."
De'Andre Fenrick led Turner with a game-high 19 points, seven of which came during the decisive fourth-quarter run. Lean paced Tonganoxie with 16 points.
The Chieftains are now just 1-7 in their last eight games, but will try to buck that trend Thursday when they play host to Bishop Ward. They ignited a six-game win streak with a 61-51 victory against the Cyclones on Dec. 18.
"We just need to play with some confidence and get a win," Phillips said. "It's been a while since we got a win. Once we get one, hopefully that will turn into two. That's how we had our winning streak start. Hopefully, we'll start feeling a little bit better, but we've got to make some things happen."
Score by quarter
Turner 9 12 7 16 — 44
Tonganoxie 7 11 10 13 — 41
TURNER — De'Andre Fenrick 5-9 8-11 19, Drake Leger 4-11 2-3 10, Paul Berry 2-9 2-4 6, Andre McCallop 2-4 0-1 4, Thaddeus Green 1-2 0-0 3, Jarek Smalley 1-1 0-0 2.
TONGANOXIE — John Lean 7-11 0-0 16, James Grizzle 2-6 4-5 8, Jared Sommers 2-5 0-1 6, Eric McPherson 2-4 0-0 4, Jack Dale 2-9 0-0 4, Eric Tate 1-4 0-0 3.