Senior Khalil Bailey was on the receiving end of an alley-oop right off the bat for the Lansing Lions, but they had to use runs in the fourth quarter to get the 72-56 victory over Tonganoxie Friday.
“We just had a typical first game,” head coach Rod Briggs said. “We had a lot of bumps and just weren't solid and don't quite understand what we need to do yet.”
After three quarters, it was 45-43 Lions, but seniors Zach Jackson, Joe Schneider and Bailey made the plays to get the win.
“We got off to a slow start, so we just have to keep being aggressive,” Jackson said.
Jackson led the Lions with 28 points, while Schneider and Bailey had 13 and 11, respectively.
“We know Zach can score,” Briggs said. “He had a knee injury his sophomore year, so his junior year he was just trying to get back into it. Now, he's feeling pretty confident and he's going to have nights like that.”
Senior Dontae Gibson scored the first bucket of the second half, but then it was Jackson with seven points in the first two minutes and 10 seconds of the second half.
He put the lead to 10 points with a bucket and a free throw with 3:49 left.
Junior Krystian Abbott substituted in with about three minutes left, and got a lay-up off a steal seconds later.
The Lions scored the final six points of the game with free throws from Abbott, Jackson and Schneider.
After the alley-oop to Bailey to start the game, it was back and forth until the fourth quarter.
Both teams had trouble finding the bottom of the net, but Lansing got the scoring going as the game went on.
The Lions did grab a 20-9 and 24-14 lead early on, but the Chieftains were able to drive to the bucket and make it close.
Lady Lions 62, Tonganoxie 43
From the start, it was all Lady Lions Friday night as they beat Tonganoxie 62-43.
Lansing had a number of different scorers, but it was senior Mikayla Zielinski leading the way with 13 points.
She also had five steals on the night, which helped the Lady Lions get points the other way.
“Mikayla showed up like a senior and I'm really proud of her,” head coach Christine Robinson said. “She played with a lot of heart and a lot of hustle, and she got the job done tonight.”
Zielinski said the defense could still get better even after Lansing was able to record several steals.
“Probably on our full court man press defense, but other than that I thought we did a heck of a job,” she said.
Page 2 of 2 - Lansing came out of the gate with a 6-0 run in the first two minutes of the game.
Junior Emily Babcock, who matched Zielinski's 13 points, scored the first four points and Zielinski had the next two.
Lansing led 35-22 at halftime, and Zielinski came out firing from beyond the arc with the first six points of the second half.
A freshman duo made an impact for Lansing as well.
Freshman Destini Mathis had seven points, but if was her defense that allowed for even more offense for the Lady Lions.
Late in the third quarter, she had back-to-back steals and both led to easy buckets for freshman Maya Cooper.
Cooper ended up with 10 points on the night.
“The freshmen did awesome,” Zielinski said. “Their first game out, they hustled.”
The Lady Lions did have a tough time in the final four and a half minutes of the game.
Lansing was held to three points, but Tonganoxie struggled from the free throw line and couldn't come back.
Many players had to be substituted in because of foul trouble, but they were all effective.
“Everyone contributed tonight and those are the kind of games I want to be a part of,” Robinson said.
Both teams will host Shawnee Heights beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.