Lions take Bishop Ward in sweep
Say what you will about the struggles of the Bishop Ward High School athletic programs in terms of wins and losses, no one could question the determination the Cyclones show regardless of the situation.
Both Lansing High basketball programs understood that heading into their boys’ and girls’ doubleheader with the Cyclones Friday night and illustrated that awareness by taking care of business in its proper order.
The Lansing girls rolled out fast, struggled for a hiccup of time and then ultimately outpaced the Cyclone girls, 62-23, in a game where the Lions illustrated a no nonsense approach.
As for the Lansing boys, they pulled away late against a Bishop Ward squad, that didn’t allow anything to come easy, for a 56-38 victory.
The Lion girls were led by Gerenda Smith’s 17 points and Taylor Lang’s 10 points while a number of Lansing players contributed on the score sheet.
“I like the way we came out after laying an egg on Wednesday in our makeup game against Blue Valley,” Lansing head coach KC Simmons said. “I was interested to see how we would come out from that and we came out and played with a lot of energy, not always the most focused energy, but energy at least.”
After dismantling Bishop Ward in the teams' first meeting, Lansing (11-4, 6-1) came out firing from the get go to take a 23-7 lead after eight minutes of play.
The second quarter began as an eyesore as both teams combined for so many turnovers that they had apples in Washington seeking passports out of the country.
“Turnovers is something we have been struggling with all year,” Simmons said. “We had a 4-game stretch where we started cleaning up a lot of it. It’s that we get too sped up, we don’t jump stop and don’t do fundamental things. We are almost predetermined where we are going to go with the ball…instead of determining where we are going to go with the ball. We make a pass five seconds before actually making the pass. It just comes down to slowing them down.
“A lot of our turnovers are unforced, they are into the third row of the bleachers and not to a kid. We are either leading them too much or not quite on the same page. I bet we had 20-plus (tonight).”
Leading 30-10 midway through that period, the Lions got settled and were able to posses long enough to get to the rim with authority and when Smith secured another in a long line of layups at the halftime buzzer, Lansing led 46-13 at halftime.
Lansing led 56-21 after three quarters and the Lions had the mercy clock to utilize to get things done and dusted in quick time.
Lang, one of the team’s primary facilitators, was happy her girls came out ready and believes that the style of the game helped contributed to some of the Lions’ extra turnovers.”
“Our coach always says that we can’t look at it like we’re Lansing and they are Bishop Ward, we have to play hard every game and work on what we need to work on for games like Piper (Tuesday night),” Lang said. “We were more in slow motion tonight and when we drive in the middle we are used to people being there and then if it’s different personnel guarding you, they aren’t going to always be in the same spot.
“I know they overplayed a lot and we would back cut when they did and we may have read it wrong (at times) and not communicated.”
Caleb Adams led the Lansing boys with 24 points and Jahleal Sweet added 12 points to lead the Lions (4-10, 3-4).
“I thought we stayed in front of guys better tonight and didn’t use our hands,” LHS head coach Mark McQuillan said. “For the most part I thought we played better defense than we’ve had and for about two-thirds of the game, we blocked out people. Our offense sputtered again, but we can work on that. That stuff is easier is to work on. The heart and desire to play defense is always harder to instill in guys than to shoot the ball.
“I think they are understanding the (offensive) intent on where we want the ball to go. We play inside and out and that’s what our offense is and where I feel is our best advantage for our guys at this point. Tonight we stuck to it, but it is easier to stick to a zone offense than it is a man-to-man offense, because you are set. We weren’t always perfect, but we had some easy looks and finds.”
The Cyclones, if anything, are as gritty and proud as they come, even if their record doesn't reflect it and they came out determined to avenge an earlier loss to the Lions.
Bishop Ward employed a zone that forced Lansing to be deliberate in order to find any holes in the defense or take a few threes available and that made things interesting a first.
Lansing trailed 10-9 after one quarter of play and 13-9 early in the second period before finally settling into a bit of rhythm and after an Adams triple with just under three minutes to go before halftime, they led 21-13.
They would roll into the halftime break with a content, 27-18 advantage.
The Cyclones may not come at you with any heavy burst of wind, but they can ride a small breeze and they began the second half well, pulling within 30-26 with just a bit more than half of the third quarter done and dusted.
But back-to-back smooth 3s by Adams and Jahleal Sweet quickly bumped the hosts back up to a healthy 36-26 edge.
The last eight minutes of the contest showed Ward not giving up the fight - which wasn't a surprise - and Lansing battling hard enough back to keep a grip on the game flow's superiority as they pulled away.
“We definitely had to respect them and they gained our respect when they cut it to six in the third quarter,” McQuillan said. “We bent, but it didn’t break. We may have wavered for a little while. It all started on the defensive end like it needs to. We kept coming back and getting good possessions on offense.
“I have always had respect for Bishop Ward guys. There are athletes there, they are competitive and play with a lot of heart.”
LEAVENWORTH GIRLS 74, Olathe West 63 in 2 OT
PLEASANT RIDGE GIRLS 60. Maranatha 42 – Lindsey Heim (17 points), Kaija Nutsch (16 points) and Julie Miller (11 points) led the Rams to the victory.
"We were able to establish Julie and Kaija on the inside," PR head coach Mike Koontz said. "Once that happened shot from other places opened up. We didn’t come out with the most energy tonight but we were able to weather their energy and get after them in the fourth quarter."
Olathe West Boys, 66, LEAVENWORTH 54 – Zach Thiel (15 points) and Tah-Ji Pinch (10 points) led LVHS in the defeat.
Maranatha Boys, 74, PLEASANT RIDGE 52 - Noah Trader's 18-point effort was the pacesetter for the Ram boys in their Friday night loss.