Topeka Not even the presence of much of the Lawrence High football team could help the LHS basketball team claim some last-minute magic against Washburn Rural.
The Lions' football team used a late defensive stand to beat the Junior Blues, 23-19, in last fall's Class 6A state championship game. The LHS basketball team wasn't so lucky.
The Lions, up by five with less than two minutes left in the third quarter, were outscored 21-12 the rest of the way in suffering their sixth road loss of the season, 52-48, on Tuesday at the Blues' gym.
Much of the LHS football team made the trip, sitting directly behind Rural's bench.
"They helped a lot," Lawrence senior Jason Goolsby said. "It got us hyped up. They were there for us. They stuck by us. And we let them down."
THIS TIME, the letdown was a defensive one, LHS coach Ron Weber said. The Blues (5-7) hit 19 of 34 field goals, including all five in the fourth quarter.
"We're just not playing well defensively," Weber said. "Maybe I don't have them prepared well enough to play. Defensively, we need to be ready to play. When they pick the ball up, we're not denying. We're not talking on picks. They're picking us to death."
LHS took a 14-13 lead in the first quarter and a 24-23 lead into intermission. By the 2:20 mark in the third, LHS held its largest lead, 36-31, but the Blues closed the period with a 7-0 run.
The Lions closed to 49-48 thanks to Jason Thoren's two consecutive baskets at 2:46 and 2:15, but Chad Colgan hit a free throw at 2:00 to put the Blues' lead back to 50-48. Then two alternate possession calls on LHS in the lane gave Rural control under the one-minute mark.
Mark Longhofer missed the front end of a one-and-one with :42 left, but Lawrence's Jason Goolsby missed a jumper and Cory Tarvin hit two charities at :09 for the final points.
"I DON'T understand why we can build a lead to five points or so, and then I look back up and it's tied or we're down two," Weber said. "We can't put them away. It's so frustrating."
Interestingly, the Lions are 0-6 in their red road uniforms. In their two wins in last week's Topeka Invitational Tournament, they wore their homes whites.
"It's not the uniforms," Goolsby said. "Coach said we need senior leadership. I thought the seniors played a big role in this one. We just didn't come through at the end."
Afterward, Weber issued a challenge to the seniors.
"We have eight games left," Weber said. "I asked them, `What are we going to make of these eight games?'''
THE FIRST of the eight is Friday, when the Lions (6-6) play host to fourth-ranked Olathe South. Tipoff is approximately 7:30 p.m., following the junior varsity game at 6.
In Tuesday's JV game, Tye Wilson scored 23 points to lead the Lions to a 108-65 rout of the Junior Blues. Brandon Grammer added 18 points, Ben Feifarek scored 13, Brad Frederick and Jason Morris contributed 11 apiece and Aaron Siebenthall potted 10 for the Lions (8-1). LHS hit 13 three-pointers.