Veteran group leads Lions into uncertain season

Jason Brown
The Leavenworth Times
Shown is Lansing senior guard Jake Jackson

Lansing boy’s basketball is treating this year like any other despite all of the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and that attitude was on full display in a season-opening 58-45 win against De Soto on Dec. 4.

The Lions (1-0) took the lead in the opening minutes and never looked back, leading by as many as 20 at points in both halves. The Lions were led by senior guards Malik Benson and Jake Jackson, who both carved up the Wildcats’ defense, scoring 24 and 21 points, respectively.

Head coach Jason Jones said the Lions have been grateful to even be together as a team, let alone playing games.

“We are just happy to be on the court and our guys are really taking advantage of the opportunity to get to prepare,” Jones said. “We will continue to adjust and enjoy our time on the court.”

Jones said the team has been able to incorporate different methods to help team building and other bonding activities.

“We have a close group that has been playing together for a long time,” he said. “We have been doing more classroom sessions and other team builders just because we missed so much time together due to circumstances.”

Those circumstances have not given Jones any reason to expect less from his team.

“We have a veteran group returning and like every year have very high expectations,” he said.

In addition to Benson and Jackson, the Lions return starters in senior guard Peyton Basler and junior Caden Crawford from a season ago in which they went 13-9 and 5-5 in the United Kansas Conference. They also return juniors Joren Remington and Trevor Couch, who came off the bench.

Regardless of who is watching or if fans are allowed to attend games at any point in the season, Jones said that is not something he wants his team to focus on.

“I always tell our players, if you don’t get excited to play regardless of who is in the stands then you probably need to find something else to commit your time to,” he said. “We will be ready to go and enthusiastic about our opportunity.”

Lansing is scheduled to continue its season Friday when it hosts Spring Hill. Tip is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on the NFHS Network.