For the first time in the brief history of Lawrence's two high schools, more than pride will be on the line in tonight's girls basketball game.
Both the Lawrence High and Free State girls are undefeated in the Sunflower League. The Lions are 2-3 overall, 2-0 in the league, good for a first-place tie with Olathe South and Shawnee Mission South. The Firebirds are 3-3, 1-0.
Tipoff for today's intracity showdown is approximately 7:15 p.m. at the FSHS gym.
"I think that's a byproduct of what we're trying to do here for the benefit of the program," FSHS coach Craig Hershiser said, "and what David (Platt) is trying to do over at Lawrence High for the benefit of his program. It still just comes down to playing as well as you can and executing the parts of the game that are significant to your program.
"Then the wins and losses and league standings -- the numbers -- will take care of themselves."
The number Free State hopes to take care of is 18.6 -- the number of points a game LHS senior forward Somer Easterwood has been averaging.
Easterwood has been the Lions' top scorer in all five games.
"Obviously, Somer is a concern for us," Hershiser said. "She's scored 20-plus points the last three games in a row. That's pretty impressive. We know that she's a very athletic player, got a lot of varsity experience the last three years. She can score in a variety of ways."
Easterwood scored a season-high 23 points in Lawrence High's 52-41 win over Shawnee Mission West on Monday. In fact, the Lions have won two in a row after opening with three losses.
"It'll be fun because Mariana (Zylstra) and Larissa (Walker) were starters for me two years ago," Platt said of the two Free State starters.
The Firebirds are on a bit of a sizz themselves, winning two of their last three. Free State received a team-high 11 points from senior Christina McVay during Monday's 42-39 win over Leavenworth.
Hershiser understands the significance of a Lawrence High-Free State game.
"These kids have played with each other as recently as two years ago at Lawrence High School," Hershiser said. "I mean, we're talking about former teammates playing against each other. That in itself makes it a significant game for our players."