Archive for Tuesday, January 28, 1992

TOURNEY RESULTS SHINE NEW LIGHT ON SOME TEAMS

January 28, 1992

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Tournament week ended Saturday for the state's boys, leaving a huge reserve of raw results to be refined.

The state's high school basketball pundits now may go to work sifting and analyzing, deciding who shined and who stunk.

An exhaustive search of the Riverfront Mall, however, turned up no pundits. Not one. So the analysis that follows is the work of a pretender, an amateur, and may be reproduced or republished without anyone's permission.

The Sunflower League produced three tournament champions. Lawrence High won the Topeka Invitational, Leavenworth won the Capital Classic and Shawnee Mission South won the SM Northwest Invitational.

The Lions were technically the Topeka favorite they were ranked fourth in last week's Associated Press consensus poll, Topeka West fifth and they bore that out in a tournament that stayed amazingly close to form.

Lawrence made progress last week. Beating West in the final was not easy duty. The Chargers were the deepest, most talented team LHS had seen this year. But the Lions didn't panic when they went down by nine points, they didn't panic when their seven-point lead vanished near the end, and they made the big play when they had to to win.

THE SURPRISE of the week was Leavenworth, which dug out of a 45-31 hole in the fourth quarter to beat Shawnee Heights, 56-54, in the Capital final at Seaman.

"I think I've probably been down more in the first half had a bad eight minutes or something and then rallied back to win, but not in that short a time," Pioneer coach Larry Hogan said.

Before you ask, the answer is yes. Yes, this is the same Leavenworth that beat Lawrence by five points before Christmas, then turned around and lost back-to-backers to Olathe North and SM North. Olathe North, by the way, lost its fifth in a row and took eighth in the Capital Classic.

Now it remains to be seen whether the Pioneers, who have shown a slight tendency to be an up-and-down team, can stay up the rest of the year. If they can, it ought to be a heck of a sub-state final on March 6 between them and Lawrence here.

OVER AT SM Northwest, the microwave in the cafeteria caused more heart flutters than SM South's 51-46 championship win over KC Wyandotte.

Don't read too much into the Raiders' championship. It was a mediocre tournament. Their first-round win was over Wyandotte's JV, and their three straight wins improved their record only to 6-5.

What we didn't learn at SM Northwest we did learn at Lee's Summit, Mo., where four of the Kansas City area's best teams beat up on one another. The lesson for Sunflower League teams: SM West isn't invincible.

The Vikings lost, 56-46, in the first round to Lee's Summit, one of four teams in the field already in double digits in wins.

"We got behind 10-nothing right away," SM West coach John McFall said. "We got it down to two points several times, but we couldn't get it tied."

The Vikes ended up taking fifth and leaving Lee's Summit with a 12-1 record.

AMONG LAWRENCE-area schools, Baldwin was the big winner, sweeping to the championship of its own invitational. Eudora was third at McLouth's tourney, which isn't bad at all.

Now, with roughly a half-dozen games left in the regular season some have more, some fewer it's the stretch run. Relax and enjoy it, because pretty soon it'll be tournament week again, and those results will really count.

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