Golden Eagles Week in Review
After the team’s huge win against the Crusaders, the Golden Eagles (Ranked 2nd by MaxPreps) continue to fly through their regular season schedule, as they currently stand at 13-0 on the season. The biggest factor in the team’s continued success has without a doubt been due to not only an extremely strong senior class, headed by the likes of Tanner Mans, Brenyn St. Vrain, Luke Larkin, Justin Powell, and Max Bullinger, but also the Golden Eagles’ extremely talented group of underclassmen made up of the likes of Alex Littlejohn, Enrique Lankford, Carter Reid, and Preston Rottinghaus. One of the big storylines for the Golden Eagles is the possible pressure that the team could be facing due to the fact that with just one loss, the team’s win streak could be over. When up and coming junior Guard Carter Reid was asked if his team is feeling any of this, he stated, “I think there is some pressure yes, but we’ve been working so hard for so long, that I don’t think that just because we are undefeated we are going to take a game off or play bad. This started from the moment I picked up a basketball in the summer with the team. We want it, all of us do. We want the pressure, we want to perform at a high level under pressure. We live for these kinds of moments.” The Golden Eagles had a busy week with a City League matchup against the North Redskins. They then participated in the 56th annual McPherson Invitational Basketball Tournament, which they ended up winning for the first time in school history. Today I will be taking you through not only last Tuesday’s matchup against North, but also their three action packed games that took place throughout the McPherson Tournament.
VS. North Redskins: Win 82-38
The Golden Eagles were able to soar through the North Redskins (Ranked 36th in 6a by MaxPreps) last Tuesday with perhaps their most dominating performance to date. The one-win Redskins could not slow down the undefeated Golden Eagles as the Coach-Domnick led team had their most impressive offensive performance to date. The leading scorer for the Golden Eagles was star guard Tanner Mans, who was able to put in 19 total points on the night, with Guard Carter Reid and forward Enrique Lankford not being too far behind; the junior duo was able to put up 18 and 17 points respectively. Tanner Mans was also able to find his teammates over the course of the night, resulting in a total of 6 assists on the night. Forward Alex Littlejohn was unsurprisingly the leading rebounder for the Golden Eagles, with a total of 6 rebounds on the night.
McPherson Invitational Tournament:
1st round: VS. North Redskins: Win 70-43:
The Golden Eagles had a rare occurrence this past week, with them matching up with the North Redskins two times in a three day span. The results were not all that different from their matchup just a few days prior. The Golden Eagles continued to dominate on the offensive side of the ball, resulting in a 27 point victory. The Golden Eagles were able to find particular success in their front court with both Enrique Lankford and Alex Littlejohn getting buckets, with each of them being able to get 18 points. Tanner Mans was able to do most of the dirty work for the team while pulling down 7 total rebounds, while consistently finding his teammates resulting with him having 6 assists by the end of the night.
2nd Round: VS. Blue Valley. Win 75-46:
The Golden Eagles were able to come up with another huge and dominant win with their win against the Blue Valley Tigers. The Golden Eagles were able to once again defeat their opponent by over 20 points for the ninth time of the season. The Golden Eagles were able to put up another explosive performance on the offensive side of the ball with 4 of Coach Dominick’s players scoring in double digits. The 4 high scoring players consisted of Brenyn St. Vrain with 10 points, Tanner Mans with 18 points, Alex Littlejohn with 18 points, and Enrique Lankford with 13 total points. The Golden Eagles showed how good of a team they can be when they are all on the same page. It is hard to identify just one of the many strengths for this team, but when I had an opportunity to ask Junior Guard Carter Reid to do just that, he stated, “Our biggest strength is how often we move the ball, we aren’t a one guy shoots it type of team, or we need five passes before we shoot. We are move the basketball, hit the open man, step up and hit the shot. As well as our defense, you would be surprised on how much we don’t even talk about offense. Dom has three key principles, body on body, deflections, and taking charges. If we do that, then we take care of Business.”
3rd Round: VS. Lawrence Free State: Win 44-39:
The Golden Eagles were able to pull out a close win against Lawrence this past Saturday, which in turn got the Golden Eagles their first McPherson Tournament win in school history. But this win did not come as easy as the team’s previous victories with the team facing some adversity with Tanner Mans going down with a concussion shortly before half. When asked about what the message was from the coaches going into half after this, Tanner stated, “Everyone just knew that they had to step up, coaches have been preaching that all year, they just had to step up.” The Golden Eagles seemed to have a difficult time going against the talented Lawrence defense, when asked about the reason for this senior guard Brenyn St. Vrain stated, “They put a lot of pressure on us and played a very physical brand of basketball.” When asked about what the team’s ability to come up with the huge victory without their best player for the duration of the game shows about the sheer depth of this team, Carter Reid stated, “It shows that we are a great team, we aren’t just one person deep, where if we lose a guy, it’s up to the next guy up. Doesn’t matter who you are, we expect 100% out of the next guy up, period. It also shows that any guy on any given night can step up, like we did as a team Saturday night.” The leading scorer for the Golden Eagles on Saturday was Enrique Lankford who put 10 shots up throughout the night, resulting in him having 15 total points. Fellow bigman Alex Littlejohn also put up a total of 10 shots, which got him a total of 10 points.
The Golden Eagles had three total players on the All-Tournament team: Tanner Mans, Enrique Lankford, and player of the Tournament Alex Littlejohn. The duo of Enrique and Littlejohn continue to show how much of an impact that they can have on this team as the state tournament continues to approach us.
Statements from the Golden Eagles:
Brenyn St. Vrain on who stepped up the most in the absence of Tanner Mans:
“I would say Alex has stepped up the most because he’s really become a great leader vocally and by his big rebounds and shots in the last minutes of the game…”
Carter Reid on the team’s biggest weakness at this point in the season:
“I think our biggest weakness is not like any other team. I think our biggest weakness is ourselves. We are playing really well and we need to keep playing well, but I think the only thing that can stop us is if we get in our own heads; we start to get lazy and don’t listen, then I think that would and could cause problems. But if we keep it up, I’m telling ya, we have an opportunity to be the best team that went through Carroll and finally put that City League title on the board, as well as another state one.”
Tanner Mans on his health coming out of the weekend:
“I go back to the doctor Monday and hopefully I’ll be cleared so then I can start going through protocol and be ready for next Friday’s game against East.”
Brenyn St. Vrain on if he sees any under the radar players on the team that will begin to make a much bigger impact on the team as the playoffs approach:
“I think Preston is really beginning to gain his confidence and he is a very talented player and I think he will really help our team with rebounding and defense.”