Lion boys' basketball hopes for different finish to familiar story
The beginning of this story is very familiar for the Lansing boys' basketball team.
Dominant the regular season, win a substate crown and head off to the state tournament. However, its the ending that the Lions hope to rewrite this season.
For the third straight year, and fourth time in the last five, Lansing will be heading to the Class 5A state boys' basketball tournament. Yet during that span, the highest the team finished was fourth last season, and so this year's seniors aspire for something more.
"The key that I've learned from my years of experience is to not take anyone lightly," Lansing senior guard Lucas Mein said. "Play every game as if it's against the No. 1 team in the state."
Which the No. 2 seeded Lions (20-1) will try to do starting on Thursday when they face the No. 7 seed Hays (14-7) at 6:30 p.m. inside the Topeka Expocentre.
"They have a really good post player in Brady Worth," Lansing coach Rod Briggs said. "He is 6-foot-6-inches, pretty strong. He forces you to contend with him. They have a few kids that can shoot the ball pretty well from the perimeter, so you have to be able to defend both at a high level and hopefully we can do that."
Defense is where this opening round contest will be decided. Briggs knows that and hopes that his team's pressure can continue the success it enjoyed during the regular season.
"I think our defense has to be at a high level like it has been the last couple of games," he said. "If we really get out and defend as hard as we have, that's been helping us create some easy offense. It will be a big key."
Apparently, that message is being heard loud and clear.
"Defense," Lansing forward Roy Clayter said. "When we play good defense as a team, that fuels us and allows us to go on big runs."
Thus, look for the Lions to be attacking all over the floor while they look to get up and down offensively.
Again, this script has been written before, but this year the boys in red and white are looking for a completely different finish.
"They will walk into the Expocentre and feel like they've been there before," Briggs said. "Hopefully, they will feel comfortable, but no matter what we will try to keep it just like we are playing another game and do the things we normally do."
Hopefully for Lansing, that includes winning.
For up-to-the-minute scores and news from this week's state action, follow Twitter.com/LVTSportsGuy.
"We have to be together as a team, like we've done all year," Lion forward Clay Young said. "Trust our teammates and play hard the whole time."
Class 5A boys' state tournament
No. 2 Lansing (20-1) vs. No. 7 Hays (14-7) — 6:30 p.m. Thursday
No. 3 Emporia (20-2) vs. No. 6 Kapaun (16-6) — 8:15 p.m. Thursday
Winner of Lansing/Hays vs. Emporia/Kapaun — 8:15 p.m. Friday
5A State Championship — 6:30 p.m. Saturday
* All games will be at the Topeka Expocentre*