THS boys struggle down stretch against De Soto
For nearly three full quarters, the Tonganoxie High boys had themselves in position for a fifth-place finish in their home invitational. However, a plethora of mistakes down the stretch quickly derailed the Chieftains’ chance for a successful tournament finish.
THS led De Soto in the third quarter of Saturday’s fifth-place game, but turnovers and poor shot selection took their toll late in a 45-41 loss to the Wildcats in the final round of the 56th annual tournament.
THS (2-9) began the second half with a slim 22-20 advantage and extended its lead to three in the opening minutes, but a sluggish offensive performance allowed De Soto to close out the period on a 9-2 run. The Wildcats never led by more than five points in the fourth quarter, but the Chieftains failed to regain the lead at any point. They got within one possession on several different occasions, but multiple chances to tie or go in front were thwarted by defensive pressure, errant passes and forced shots.
“We have to take care of the basketball so we get quality shots,” coach Shawn Phillips said. “When you turn it over, you limit your possessions and give them extra ones. That’s never a good formula for being successful.
“We have to choose to do what’s asked of us. Sometimes we do our own thing, and that doesn’t work very well. This group doesn’t have any one guy that’s going to stand out every single night. They’ve got to play together.”
Phillips’ team trailed by four after a shot by Carl Hecht with 13 seconds left, then a quick steal and layup by Brady Swedo made it a two-point game with seven ticks on the clock. However, the Chieftains weren’t able to foul and De Soto scored at the final buzzer.
THS clung to a 12-11 advantage after a back-and-forth first quarter, then clawed its way out to a four-point lead with 2:29 to go until halftime. That’s the biggest lead the Chieftains could manage, though, as De Soto got back within two points before the break.
THS opened tournament play Tuesday with a 62-44 loss to eventual champ Eudora, but advanced to the fifth-place game with a 65-60 consolation win against Metro Academy – its second victory of the season.
“Only one team wins all three games,” Phillips said. “If you can’t win all three, you want to win two. We were glad to get the first win and thought we had an opportunity to get the second one.”
De Soto’s Nick Mullen led all scorers with 14 points, while Hecht led THS with 12.
Eudora, last year’s Class 4A-II state champion, went on to defeat Atchison to claim the tournament title. Eudora’s Mitchell Ballock was named the tournament’s most valuable player, while Wykeen Gill III of Atchison was recognized as the most inspirational player.
The Chieftains will have one more non-league contest Tuesday at Heritage Christian in Olathe before they welcome Bishop Ward to town on Friday. Phillips hopes to see some improvement as THS prepares for the second wave of its Kaw Valley League schedule.
“I want to see us be a lot more patient on the offensive end of the floor,” he said. “We need to move the basketball and get it to where it gets to hopefully three or four sides of the floor. That usually leads to defensive breakdowns and better shots.”
Buzzer beater helps THS beat Metro
When a game is tied seven times and has five lead changes, that’s a decent indication the game is a good one.
The Tonganoxie High Boys had a 31-22 lead Thursday against Metro Academy, but the game became was back-and-forth most of the night before THS won, 65-60.
THS led, 18-15, after the first quarter before a 13-2 run helped build that nine-point lead. Metro Academy, though assembled an 8-2 run of its own and cut the lead to three at the break, 33-30.
Metro Academy grabbed the lead in the third quarter before lead went back and forth. The Mavericks’ largest lead was 43-40 late in the third, but a buzzer beater might have been the jolt that helped carry the Chieftains to victory.
THS cut the lead to 43-42 and then, in the waning seconds, the Chieftains, moving in transition, pushed the ball to Jared Sommers whose baseline shot fell through. Referees conversed and then determined that the shot did in fact beat the buzzer.
That carried into what would be a 10-0 run for THS on its way to the victory.
Carl Hecht was leading scorer for THS with 16, while Sommers and Brady Swedo also were in double figures with 12 each.
Score by quarters
DHS 11 9 11 14 – 45
THS 12 10 5 14 – 41
DHS: Nick Mullen 6-11 1-2 14, Justin Johnson 3-6 1-3 8, Jason Johnson 2-4 2-4 6, Alex Wilcox 2-3 1-4 6, Isaac Albert 2-5 0-0 4, Cooper Hancock 2-6 0-0 4, Jacob Jennings 1-1 0-3 2, Jacob Schneiders 0-0 1-2 1; THS: Carl Hecht 3-7 6-6 12, Devan Smith 3-8 3-4 9, Brady Swedo 2-8 3-4 7, 2-5 2-2 6, Greg DeVeau 2-7 1-5 5, Dylan Rinne 1-1 0-0 2.
— Shawn F. Linenberger contributed to this story.