Jags trying to make a name for themselves
On the east gymnasium wall at Lansing High School, the Lions have the other Kaw Valley League team logos displayed in a row.
A quick count of the round logos reveals that only eight of the KVL's nine teams are present on the wall. The one team that's missing is Mill Valley.
The Jaguars boys basketball team walked into that same gymnasium Jan. 25 hoping to remind the Lions of who they're forgetting to put on the wall.
But after a hard-fought battle that saw more turnovers than assists and more fouls than free throws made, the Jags walked away defeated, 50-44.
"I guess we're going to have to try a little harder so that next time they realize who we are," MVHS coach Justin Bogart said.
The thing was, however, the Jags didn't lose this game because they didn't try hard enough. In fact, their effort was the only thing that kept them in it.
After falling behind early, Mill Valley settled into its game midway through the first quarter and at the end of the first, the Jags held an 11-9 edge.
Just before halftime, the Mill Valley lead was extended by a point and the Jags went into the locker room up two and feeling good.
"We played hard and we really felt like we had a chance to win that game," Bogart said. "We're definitely disappointed it didn't work out that way."
The main reason it didn't was because the Jags coughed up the ball too many times in the second half. At times the Jags broke the Lansing press with no problems. Other times, however, the ball barely got a third of the way up the court before somebody turned it over.
"Turnovers were not slightly a problem tonight," Bogart said. "They were a big problem and they came at such key times. We're a young team, we can't make those mistakes."
The mistakes the Jaguars made came in a variety of ways. One time they'd snag a big rebound and immediately toss it to the other team with a lazy outlet pass. Other times a Mill Valley player would try to go coast to coast and end up out of control. And still other times the big men had trouble finding the guards to bring the ball up the floor.
Even through all of that, however, Mill Valley had its chances down the stretch.
Senior Ryan Cooley's free throw with 1:34 remaining cut Lansing's lead to one point. From there, however, the Jags were forced to foul and although Lansing was not solid at the line, the Lions did rip down two big offensive rebounds off missed free throws that sealed the deal.
Travis Chavez led the scoring for the Jags as he chipped in 12 points. Cooley added 10 and freshman David Woods scored six.
Despite the loss, Bogart said he felt good about the effort his team showed.
"A month ago, we would have lost that game without Cody by 15 or 20 points," Bogart said. "We're at a crucial point in our season where our execution has to match our effort if we want to win. We don't take quarters off anymore, but now we have to learn not to take any plays off either."
The Jags' game with Immaculata, which was scheduled for Jan. 29 was canceled because of the bad weather. A make up date has not yet been announced.
Mill Valley will take its 7-5 record into a non-league contest Jan. 31, when they travel to Gardner to take on the Trailblazers. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.