THS girls win tourney opener, but drop last two to finish 4th
Invitational in photos
A photo gallery from Tonganoxie's tournament games is available on our Facebook page.
Makaila Garcia (EUD)
Madelyn Moya (LAN)
Ashton Ettleman (ATC)
Katelyn Waldeier (TON)
Emily Soetaert (TON)
Arika Smith (ATC)
Megan Bonar (DES)
Madison Wegner (SL)
Madi Rollins (CHA)
Anna Bradshaw (CHA)
Taylor White (SL)*
Ashlyn Lane (SL)+
*Most inspirational player
Two days removed from a tough loss to the eventual Tonganoxie Invitational champion, the Chieftain girls had an opportunity to rebound and finish in the top three of their home tournament. However, a poor shooting performance and a second-half collapse aren’t ingredients in a recipe for success.
THS trailed by just two points at halftime, but couldn’t keep up in the final two quarters of a 54-37 loss to Lansing in Saturday’s third-place game. The Chieftains (4-6) entered the game averaging 44.4 points per game, but were held to their second-lowest scoring output of the season in the loss.
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well,” said coach Randy Kraft, whose squad shot worse than 23 percent. “That was the huge difference. We just didn’t play with much intensity. Overall, we just shot the ball real poorly, and we let our poor shooting carry into our defensive effort sometimes.”
Lansing entered the second half clinging to a 22-20 lead, but scored the first eight points of the third quarter. The Lions stretched their lead to 12 by the end of the period and led by as many as 18 in the game’s final minutes.
THS used a strong defensive effort to keep things close in the first half, but Lansing capitalized on several Chieftain mishaps early in the second to open up a double-digit lead.
“There were a couple turnovers on our part and they converted them into layups, then we fouled them a couple times and let them go to the line,” Kraft said. “Pretty soon, two turns into 10 or 12.”
The Chieftains’ tournament finale hardly resembled their first two games — a 40-35 quarterfinal win against Eudora and a 55-47 semifinal loss to Silver Lake in which they led by 18 in the second quarter.
A game-ending 10-2 run propelled THS to a tournament-opening win against the Cardinals on Jan. 21. The Chieftains entered the fourth quarter down by two and trailed by three midway through the period, but back-to-back buckets by Cheyenne Ford and Tressa Walker gave Kraft’s squad a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
With a spot in the finals on the line, the Chieftains roared out to a 20-5 lead after one quarter of Thursday’s semifinal against tournament champ Silver Lake. The Chieftains extended their advantage to 24-6 in the second, but the Eagles closed out the half on a 15-7 run.
SLHS, which later defeated Chanute in Saturday’s finale, stayed hot after the break and took a 42-39 lead into the fourth quarter. The Chieftains couldn’t replicate their hot offensive start, as Silver Lake continued to pull away late.
Eventual tournament MVP Ashlyn Lane led all scorers with 24 points in the Eagles’ come-from-behind win.
“I think that was one of the best games we’ve played,” Kraft said.
The fourth-place finish matches the Chieftains’ tournament showing from a year ago. In Saturday’s other final-round action, De Soto beat Atchison in the fifth-place game and Jeff West defeated Eudora for seventh place.
Following the conclusion of the tournament, seniors Katelyn Waldeier and Emily Soetaert were named to the all-tournament team. Waldeier led the team with 11.7 points and 13.7 rebounds per game and had two double-doubles. Meanwhile, Soetaert averaged 9.7 points per contest.
After nearly a week off, THS will continue its current homestand at 5:45 p.m. against Atchison in a rematch of last season’s sub-state championship game. AHS also went 1-2 in tournament play.
“We’re going to see a zone again, and we’ve struggled with zones for whatever reason,” Kraft said. “We’re not as aggressive offensively, so we’ve got to work on correcting that.”
— Shawn Linenberger contributed to this story.