By KYLE MANTHE
Special to TopSports.news
It doesn't matter how it looked or how many points were scored, all that mattered to coach Jeff Skar and the Topeka West girls Tuesday night was that the Chargers won their third game in the last five with a 31-30 United Kansas Conference win over Lansing.
“I was proud of them, that’s kind of our personality, we have done that all season,” Skar said of the Chargers' gritty style of play. “I liked our energy most of the game and I liked our effort.”
In December the Chargers (4-10, 3-8) lost a 58-53 decision to the Lions (3-9, 2-8) on the road in overtime, which served as some extra motivation to avoid the same result in another close game.
“Our team personality is that we always battle back but we also let teams back in the game, we haven’t put teams away when we had the chance … I knew that they were going to make it a battle,” Skar said. “After losing in overtime to them the first time around I think our kids probably felt like we owed them a bit tonight.”
The Chargers scored only one point in the third quarter and trailed by four early in the fourth after leading by as many as 10 in the first half.
A 10-1 run in the fourth quarter served as the comeback and put the game away for Topeka West.
Most of the offense for the home team came in the first quarter, with four starters scoring buckets to put the Chargers up 12-7 after eight minutes.
“I think our energy helped us, we were getting some turnovers and attacking the basket,” Skar said.
After two layups from senior Jazmyn Ford and a 3-pointer by freshman Imani McGlory, Topeka West led, 19-9. Lansing attacked the paint to end the half on a 7-1 run, trailing 20-16 at the break.
The only point for Topeka West in the third quarter came at the free throw line from junior Brooklyn Alexander.
Even with little scoring the Chargers held onto a lead or tie until the final three seconds of the quarter when a basket from Lansing junior Ashlynn Jaccard gave the Lions a 23-21 lead entering the fourth.
Jaccard scored the first two in the fourth but 10 of the next 11 came from the home team.
First Alexander knocked down a 3-pointer, followed by another triple from senior Azaryah Duncan to allow West to take a 27-25 lead.
Topeka West was able to hold onto the ball, force misses and knock down four free throws down the stretch, etching out the one-point win.
Lansing did not score more than nine points in any quarter and scored only seven in three of the four periods.
“I liked our energy most of the game and I liked our effort. We have to tighten up some of our rotations but I can’t question the kids heart,” Skar said.
Alexander led the Chargers with eight points, while Duncan had seven and Ford six points.
Jaccard led Lansing and all scorers with a 14-point effort.
Topeka West heads on the road Friday to take on Kansas City Turner.
TOPEKA WEST GIRLS 31, LANSING 30
Topeka West 12 8 1 10 -- 31
Lansing 7 9 7 7 -- 30
Topeka West (4-10, 3-8) – Gonzales 0-1 0-0 0, Brooks 2-3 0-2 4, McGlory 1-3 1-2 4, Alexander 3-12 1-4 8, Duncan 2-6 2-2 7, Hall 0-2 0-0 0, Clark 0-5 2-4 2, Ford 3-5 0-0 6. Totals: 11-37 6-14 31.
Lansing (3-10, 2-8) – Martynowski 0-6 0-2 0, Gnuthake 0-2 1-2 1, McNabb 0-2 2-2 2, Jaccard 7-13 0-4 14, Anderson 2-8 0-0 4, Linaweaver 1-13 3-9 5, Callaway 1-2 1-1 4. Totals: 11-46 7-20 30.
3-point goals – Topeka West 3 (Alexander, Duncan, McGlory), Lansing 1 (Callaway). Technical fouls – None. Fouled out – None.