Olathe — Lawrence finally got past its two-year postseason jinx.
The Lions drilled Olathe East, 47-32, Thursday night at Olathe East in the first round of the Kansas 6A girls basketball sub-state. Lawrence had lost in the first round in each of the past two years.
"The last two we lost in the first round and our goal this year was to win this one," senior Katy Kampschroeder said. "I think losing the last two years gave us more incentive and motivation to win this year."
Lawrence (13-8) will play Leavenworth in the sub-state final at 5:30 p.m. Saturday night at Olathe East. The Lions and the Pioneers (12-9) split in their two meetings this season. Leavenworth drubbed Topeka, 73-51, in the first round Thursday night.
"We're down to one game now," LHS coach Gary Hammer said. "Right now, Leavenworth looks like they're clicking on all cylinders. It's exciting to get to the final and a one-game thing."
The Lions jumped to a 16-8 lead after the first quarter. A jumper by Kampschroeder boosted the lead to 18-8 before O-East's Candy Winters drained a three-pointer for an 18-11 deficit.
"They came out strong," Kampschroeder said of the 2-19 Hawks. "They're actually a good team, but they're just young and will be good in a couple years."
Brandy Winters hit a jumper to cut the LHS lead to 23-18 with 2:20 left in the half. But Jaunelle Hamilton hit a jumper at the free-throw line, which started a 9-0 Lawrence run. The Lions held O-East to only five points in the third quarter.
"We went into halftime knowing that we had to get fired up," Kampschroeder said. "We were enthused and ready to come out and play after halftime, and we picked it up on defense."
The Hawks shot a dismal four of 26 (15.4 percent) from the field in the second half. Meanwhile, Lawrence hit 10 of 23 shots after intermission.
"A lot of times I worry about the first game of sub-state that they may look ahead to the final, especially with a good first-round draw," Hammer said. "At times we looked good, while at times we looked ragged. We hadn't played in a week before tonight. This helps get our confidence up before Saturday."
Christie Winans paced the Hawks with 11 points. Kampschroeder led the Lions with 14 points, while Hamilton added 13.
"We're working really well as a team right now," Kampschroeder said. "Everybody on the team has stepped up another level."