Lack of rebounding hurts Pioneers in CNB finale; Saint Mary stays perfect in league play, as does Lansing

Perhaps the Leavenworth boys’ basketball team’s biggest weakness was on display Saturday.
Facing Washington in the 2012 Citizens National Bank Invitational Basketball Tournament championship, the Pioneer lack of an inside presence both offensively and defensively plagued the team all game.
“We have two weaknesses and we’ve known it,” Leavenworth coach Larry Hogan said. “We have not executed at the half-court level very well so far this season. The second part is rebounding. We got crushed on the boards and we must do a better job there.”
Ultimately, those rebounding struggles caused Leavenworth to fall 62-48 to the Wildcats. It was the second year in a row that the Pioneers finished runner-up in the tournament.
As far as the game went, Washington built a sizable first quarter lead and went into half up 41-29. Offensive rebounds allowed the Wildcats to build the advantage while the Pioneers struggled to keep pace offensively.
In the second half, the script remained the same when Washington continued to dominant inside on both ends. The deficit grew to as many as 20 in the third quarter, but rested at 14 by game’s end.
Cameron Wiggins and Trey Adkins each tallied 15 points in the affair.
“Still, I’m very proud that our young guys got second,” Hogan said. “We had an opportunity for a championship and the best team won.”
Leavenworth, 2-1, will host Bishop Miege at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Spires’ KCAC surge continues
Saint Mary could not have planned a better way to start the conference season.
On Saturday, the Spires men’s basketball team cut down visiting Sterling College 67-59, pushing its Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference record to a perfect 4-0.
Defense set the tone for USM. The Spires forced the Warriors into shooting 37 percent from the floor, 24 percent from behind the 3-point line and 14 turnovers.
At the half, Saint Mary led by six and never relinquished the lead.
Shiron Williams continued his strong play by leading Saint Mary with 13 points and Chip Schneider had 12 points.
USM, 8-5 overall, will play its last contest before the holiday break at 2 p.m. Saturday against Haskell University.

Lions’ winning streak hits four
The Lansing boys’ basketball team bullied its win streak to four Saturday, defeating Lawrence Free State 57-53 at home. The Lions are now a perfect 4-0 on the year.
A strong offensive outpouring in the second quarter allowed Lansing to take a 36-26 edge into the halftime break. From there, the squad withstood a Firebirds’ comeback to clinch the four-point win.
Khalil Bailey had a team-high 15 points while Joe Schneider posted 13.
The Lions will host Bishop Ward tonight at 7:15 p.m.