Taylor made for Tonganoxie record
A breakout night from Tonganoxie High senior Taylor Lee helped the Chieftains secure their first victory of the season Friday at home.
Lee poured in 40 points — a new school record — as Tonganoxie sailed past Ottawa, 62-38.
The senior made three three-pointers, 10 shots from inside the arc and 11 attempts from the free-throw line for the new THS mark. Jenny Whitledge scored 34 in a February 2013 game against Turner. That effort set a new school record at the time, breaking the previous high of 31 set in 1984-85 by Sam Metcalf and again in 1987-88 by Kim DeHoff.
The teams were tied at 14 after the first quarter, but the Chieftains started to kick it into high gear.
“I had a really slow start to the game,” Lee noted. “I only had four points the first quarter. But the team kept it close. It showed that we could play as a team.
“When I came out with a minute left of the game I sit down on the bench and I looked up at my parents and my dad worded something but I couldn’t realize it. Then my mom made numbers with her fingers and it made out to be the number 40. My eyes got real wide and in my head I was like ‘there’s no way I scored 40.’ But I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”
Tonganoxie built a 31-24 lead heading into halftime, but a 15-2 advantage in the third quarter really sealed it.
The Chieftains shot 38 percent from the field overall (21-for-55), including 46 percent from inside the arc (17-for-37). The team also shot nearly 70 percent from the free-throw line (16-for-23).
Tonganoxie was able to bounce back from a rough season opener against Baldwin with Friday’s performance. Lee said that team drive to play better helped fuel her night.
“I think we all wanted to win that game really bad,” Lee said. “Before the game (coach Matt) Frost was telling us how anxious he was and how he was ready to play this game. We all felt the same way. So i think just having the energy and adrenaline was just a benefit. We all had a great game.
“We just went out and played our hardest. And it proved to be successful. Our defense as a team was amazing. We dove on the floor for balls. We played aggressive defense. That helped us get a victory on Friday.”
Taylor Knipp scored eight points in the victory, while Corinn Searcy and Cami Timm each scored four. Mykah Wingerter, Mia Bond and Anna Soetaert finished out scoring with two each.
Knipp also led the team in rebounds with 10, six of which came off the offensive glass. Soetaert led the team in assists and Timm in steals with seven.
Tonganoxie now gets the chance to finish out 2016 with another victory on Friday. Piper comes to town for a 5:45 p.m. game at the THS gymnasium.
— Look for Shawn Linenberger, editor at The Mirror newspaper of Tonganoxie, on Twitter: @ManAtTheMirror