STILWELL As one missed shot turned into several, Lawrence High's boys basketball coach Chris Davis kept waiting for his team to catch a break.
But before he knew it, Lee's Summit (Mo.) North had opened an eight-point lead and his Lions still hadn't found their offensive rhythm.
As one poor-shooting quarter turned into two, then three, Davis watched his team struggle to a 69-49 loss in the semifinals of the Blue Valley Shootout on Friday.
"We forced a couple of shots," Davis said. "They weren't terrible shots, but they weren't good shots. And when they didn't go in, it spilled into the whole game.
"When that happens, it becomes a mental game."
LHS (2-1) was 4-of-18 in that decisive first quarter, unable to put back offensive rebounds or get a friendly bounce. The Broncos (5-1) converted on nearly everything inside in staking a 16-8 lead, then used their full-court pressure to shut down LHS in the second quarter. Lawrence took just seven shots in the second period, five of which were three-point attempts.
In those first two quarters, the Broncos' experience was evident - they've been practicing for two weeks longer and have played in twice as many games.
"They have more tools at their disposal as far as the offense and defense is concerned," Davis said. "We tried running three defenses - that's it."
When LHS junior guard Taylor Parker asserted himself in the third quarter by driving the lane and spreading out the Lee's Summit defense, LHS still had some shooting shakes.
When senior Bryan Cargill nailed a couple of three-pointers, the Lions struggled again, despite Parker's penetration.
"It pretty frustrating, but the important thing is that we were getting those shots," Parker said. "Just getting those opportunities was huge."
Besides the shooting woes - LHS made 15 of 57 shots to Lee's Summit's 27-of-60 shooting - the Lions were outrebounded for the first time this season and forced just five turnovers.
With five Lee's Summit players in double figures - led by Drew Korschot with 16 points and Tyler Northway with 13 - the outcome wasn't hard to figure. LHS just didn't have the firepower.
Brian Seymour led LHS with nine points, and Parker finished with eight.
But when the Lions play in the third-place game against Blue Valley at 5 p.m. today, they'll try to shrug off the loss and hope that this time, they get a few bounces their way.
"This is one of the things we will recover from," Davis said.
Added Parker, "I think it will be pretty easy to motivate ourselves for (today). This team's going to learn from this loss and get better from it."