Emporia Lawrence High girls basketball coach Gary Hammer took his team to Emporia State for an unusual practice Saturday.
"When we practiced our free throws at Emporia State, we had people screaming in our face," said sophomore Jill Oelschlager. "They were screaming, yelling, stomping their feet."
The crowd-emulating strategy paid. Before a rowdy crowd Saturday night, the Lions hit 10 of 15 free throws in the fourth quarter as they defeated host Emporia, 57-54, for their third consecutive Glacier's Edge tournament title.
"We decided we'd try to be like the crowd," said junior Megan Kampschroeder, who hit both of her charities in the final period and scored a game-high 18 points. "I don't know if the screaming helped, but the fact we concentrated definitely helped."
THE LIONS jumped to a 15-8 lead in the first quarter and led at halftime, 27-21.
The Spartans, however, scored six straight points in the first minute of the third quarter to knot the score at 27. With 34 seconds left in the third, EHS held a 38-35 lead, but Kampschroeder's basket with five seconds left gave LHS a 38-37 lead entering the fourth period.
"We knew when we got ahead they'd be tough," Kampschroeder said. "We knew they'd fight all the way. I don't think we were quite ready coming out after the half."
With 27 seconds left in the game, Oelschlager hit two free throws to give LHS a 55-50 lead. Emporia's Kari Quayle responded with a basket with 19 seconds left to cut the margin to 55-52.
Lawrence's Lindsay Lawton was fouled with 16 seconds left. She missed the front end of a one-and-one, but she immediately stole the ball, was fouled again and hit two charities for a 57-52 lead. Emporia's Jenny Pracht hit a basket with one second left to set the margin.
"After I missed that free throw, I was really pumped up," said Lawton, a sophomore guard who scored six points and grabbed four steals. "I saw the ball come to me, and I was ready. I was nervous, very scared. I just had to keep my concentration.
OELSCHLAGER ADDED 13 points for Lawrence, and senior Gwen Mullens contributed nine. Quayle and Elizabeth Rulon led the Spartans with 16 points apiece.
"That was a whale of a game," said LHS coach Hammer. "For a championship game, I think the crowd really got its money's worth.
"Emporia's a good team. Every year they're good. One thing I'm happy about is, last night I saw their semifinal game. They were really running up and down the court. They scored a lot of points from their transition game. We stopped that tonight."
Lawrence, ranked No. 2 in the state's coaches' poll, improved to 9-1. Emporia, ranked No. 5, fell to 11-2.
Kampschroeder, Erin McElwain and Mullens were named to the all-tournament team for the second straight year. Rulon and Pracht were named for the Spartans.
In Saturday's other games, Derby defeated Rose Hill, 50-46, for third place, Leavenworth dropped Hutchinson, 46-28, for fifth place, and Wichita Heights beat Wichita East, 58-40, for seventh.
Lawrence 57, Emporia 54
Jill Oelschlager 4-6 5-6 13, Kelli Boehringer 1-3 0-2 2, Gwen Mullens 3-14 3-5 9, Megan Kampschroeder 8-12 2-3 18, Erin McElwain 1-9 2-4 4, Lindsay Lawton 1-1 4-6 6, Jennifer Trapp 2-6 1-3 5. Totals 20-51 17-29 57. EMPORIA (54)
Tiffany Forbes 0-5 1-2 1, Hope Hodges 4-6 1-2 9, Kari Quayle 6-8 4-7 16, Jenny Pracht 6-20 0-0 12, Elizabeth Rulon 6-15 4-6 16, Susan Wright 0-1 0-0 0, Angie Love 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 22-58 10-17 54. Lawrence
Three-point goals Lawrence 0-0, Emporia 0-2 (Pract 0-1, Rulon 0-1). Total fouls Lawrence 16, Emporia 23. Fouled out Rulon.