With the score getting tight and the game dwindling down, the Lions needed to make a run.
That push came in the third quarter.
“We came out slow,” Lansing’s Roy Clayter said. “In the locker room we figured out what we had to do, and the key was just coming out, playing good defense and building off that.”
With an aggressive defense that forced 20 Topeka West turnovers, the Lions turned what was a slim five-point lead at half, into a 16-point advantage after three quarters. That surge continued in the fourth and led to a 74-45 win.
The victory pushes the Lansing boys' basketball squad into its substate final.
“Our defense went to a different level for a period of time,” Lansing’s coach Rod Briggs said. “Kind of like it did in the Mill Valley game, and that was the difference.”
After making the third quarter run, Lansing continued to keep their foot on peddle, outscoring Topeka West 22-9 in the fourth.
Joe Schneider led the Lions in scoring with 15 points, Clay Young added 13 followed by Joe Henry and Clayter with 11.
Lansing, 19-1, will play Schlagle at 7:00 p.m. Saturday at home. The winner will advance to the Class 5A state tournament.
“They’re going to be athletic and they’re going to be good,” Briggs said. “I kind of challenge our fans and our community to come out to the game. We got a pretty good basketball team and I would really like people to watch us play one more time at home this year.”
Curtains come down on Pioneers
A weakness that has plagued the Leavenworth boys' basketball team all year cropped up again on Thursday.
All season, a lack of size inside has hurt the Pioneers. Teams have attacked that soft spot on both ends of the floor and Mill Valley was no different.
Opening up its 5A substate tournament at the home of the Jaguars, Leavenworth saw a three-point halftime lead vanish when its host began pounding the ball inside.
“They just kept attacking us in the lane and we committed too many fouls,” LV coach Larry Hogan said. “We played good defense and gave a good effort, but you can't defend the foul line.”
After making 21-of-24 free throws in the second half, Mill Valley toppled Leavenworth 73-63, ending the Pioneers season. LV finished the year 6-15.
“They outscored us 37-6 in the lane,” Hogan said. “That tells you the difference in the game.”
Page 2 of 2 - After the first two quarters of play, the hope of victory was still burning deep within the Pioneer hearts.
An array of defensive schemes to go along with just enough scoring had Leavenworth up 27-24.
But in the second half, Mill Valley ran right to the front door of the basket, forcing its way inside the paint every time down.
The push led to Mill Valley retaking the lead and eventually the victory.
“We played good defense,” Hogan said. “We mixed up some full-court press, did some wishbone traps and had good effort. But we just couldn't sustain it and had no answer for their bigs.”
Jeff George finished with 22 points while Cameron Wiggins added 19 and Jason Randall put in 12.