This time Lawrence High's girls basketball team plans to stick around awhile.
Since placing second at the 1993 Class 6A state tournament, the Lions have been eliminated in the first round of sub-state the past two years.
The Lions (12-8) open sub-state tonight at approximately 7:30 p.m. against Olathe East (2-18) in the Hawks' gym.
"If we play together, we'll be all right," LHS senior Katy Kampschroeder said. "We think we'll be there (at state) this time."
LHS coach Gary Hammer agrees.
"We're in a sub-state we've got a shot of winning," Hammer said. "When you're the No. 1 seed, you don't have as tough a first-round game, but we have to play. We can't take Olathe East for granted."
The Hawks are young. Their roster consists of eight sophs, two freshmen and two seniors.
O-East coach Dick Hanson plans to start five sophomores tonight, a lineup he's used since the holiday break.
"If they gave an award to the youngest team, we'd probably win," Hanson said. "By the time these girls are seniors, they'll be able to play with anybody."
Christie Winans, a 6-foot-1 post player, averages 10 points and 9.5 rebounds a game to lead the Hawks. Twins Candy and Brandy Winters also start for the Hawks.
O-East's two wins are over KC Harmon, now 0-20, and KC Ward.
O-East, in its fourth year of existence, has never beaten Lawrence. The Lions are 4-0 against the Hawks and have dominated the series, winning by an average score of 66-25.
In this season's meeting, the Lions defeated O-East, 50-37, on Dec. 14.
The Lions also are familiar with the other two sub-state entries -- Leavenworth and Topeka High. They split with Leavenworth and beat Topeka in overtime during the regular season.
The Lions closed the regular season with two losses in the final week after winning four straight.
"We need a real convincing win to boost our confidence," Hammer said.
Senior center Jaunelle Hamilton led the Lions in scoring in 17 of 20 regular-season games and averages 14.9 points per contest. Sophomore Laura Rhodes led the team in scoring twice at the Emporia tournament. Kampschroeder, who averages 9.5 points, erupted for 23 points last Thursday to lead the Lions against SM South.
The LHS-Olathe East winner will play the Leavenworth-Topeka winner at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday at O-East.
If Lawrence survives sub-state, the Lions won't receive a favorable seed for state next week in Emporia. Through 20 games, Lawrence had the worst record for the eight No. 1 sub-state seeds.