Archive for Monday, January 12, 1998

WYANDOTTE NEXT FOR LHS BOYS

January 12, 1998

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Journal-World Sports Writer

Somebody will come away a winner tonight.

Lawrence High and tradition-rich Kansas City Wyandotte -- both 0-7 -- will battle in a nonleague boys basketball contest. Tipoff is approximately 7:30 p.m. in Wyandotte's gym.

"We're hungry for a win," LHS coach Mark Vancuren said. "We're not practicing just to participate. We want to achieve a level of success. And we haven't attained that yet."

The Lions are coming off a 73-58 loss to Free State. Despite his team's seventh setback in seven games, Vancuren came away encouraged, mainly because the Lions committed a season-low 14 turnovers.

"We have made improvement on our number of turnovers," Vancuren said. "Going into the next game we have reason to be positive."

Seniors Kin Vinson (16.6 points per game) and Ike Ezefili (12.1) lead the Lions in scoring. Ezefili, a 6-foot-5 forward, is shooting 60 percent from the field (30 for 50).

As a team, LHS is shooting 43 percent from the field. Opponents are connecting on 41 percent of their shots.

In last season's LHS-Wyandotte meeting, the Lions shot a whopping 63 percent in a 72-67 victory over the Bulldogs. Wyandotte would later go on to win the Class 5A state championship, the 20th in school history, and finish 20-5.

The Bulldogs lost four starters from that team and have a new coach. Scott Stein, midway through his 25th season overall, replaces Wayne Van Dine as Wyandotte coach. Stein won a 4A state championship in 1992 when he was with Abilene.

Chuggy Almond, a 6-4 senior forward, is the Bulldogs' lone returning starter. Almond was ejected in last year's Wyandotte-LHS contest after throwing a punch at a Lawrence player. The LHS player was also ejected.

LHS has dominated the series recently, winning five of the past six meetings.

On Friday, the Lions will resume Sunflower League play at Shawnee Mission North. Next week LHS will play in the Capital City Classic at Washburn Rural in Topeka. Pairings for the tourney will be announced later this week.

-- Steve Rottinghaus' phone message number is 832-7152. His e-mail address is srottinghaus@ljworld.com.

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