Start of a new Tonganoxie High boys basektball era
Winter sports are about to get started with basketball and wrestling competition later this week.
But last week, a new tradition started with an event like the late night celebrations for the first basketball practice of the year at the college level.
Jodie Smith’s applied business class organized the event, while various groups helped with duties throughout the night, including the Big Red student pep club and the event planning class.
There also were many individuals who participated in the event to kick off winter sports programs at Tonganoxie High.
During a three-point contest, two representatives from both the boys and girls basketball teams competed. Chandler Caldwell won the contest and even made 18 of 25 three-pointers in the first round.
Faculty members played a game against seniors, which came with a bit of fanfare. “Players” were introduced as arena music blared and a spotlight shined on them.
“Jodie smith and her class put on an excellent show,” said THS boys coach David Hillmon. “It was fun. Even for the staff. I loved it.”
THS boys and girls basketball both get the season started Thursday at home against Baldwin, while the wrestling team starts Saturday in Wamego.
THS wrestling returns with coach Ross Starcher hoping to build on last year’s state success. The wrestlers open the season at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Wamego Invitational. Abilene, Chase County, Concordia, Hayden, Herington, Ottawa, Rock Creek and Salina Central will be at the meet with Wamego.
The team then has the big Eudora tournament Dec. 9 and 10 in Eudora.
Atchison County, Bishop Ward, Buhler, De Soto, Fort Scott, Holcomb, Lansing, Lawrence, Louisburg, Ottawa, Piper, Rossville, St. Thomas Aquinas, Schlagle, Shawnee Mission East, Shawnee Mission South, Spring Hill, St. James Academy, St. Marys, Sumner Academy and Wellsville.
Tonganoxie returns much of its squad last year, including three state medalists: junior Aidan McClellan (fourth), sophomore Korbin Riedel (fifth) and junior Gad Huseman (sixth).
For THS boys basketball, a new era begins.
Former assistant Hillmon takes over for his first season at the helm. He replaces Shawn Phillips, who resigned after eight seasons last May. THS finished 4-17 last year.
For the THS girls, this marks Matt Frost’s second season at the helm.
The Chieftains went 6-15 in Frost’s first year. THS nearly advanced to the substate finals last year thanks to a furious second-half rally.
THS trailed by 24 in the first half, but tied the game in fourth quarter. Atchison eventually held on for a 67-61 victory, but Frost’s team starts fresh this season the same as the THS boys team: with three home games heading into winter break.
The basketball teams start Thursday at Baldwin and have their next home game Dec. 9 against Ottawa.
Tonganoxie won’t see another gymnasium than its own until 2017.
The teams are at home Dec. 16 against Piper for the final contests of the 2016 portion of the schedule.
Tonganoxie basketball tsss takes on Baldwin on Thursday, Ottawa on Dec. 9 and Piper on Dec. 16.