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Archive for Thursday, May 30, 2002

LHS boys basketball earns top honors

May 30, 2002

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Ballots are in and the selections have been made by a panel of one.

Here are your 2001-2002 Lawrence High sports award winners, also known as the Rottsies:

Team of the year: Boys basketball. The Lions, a state qualifier for the first time since 1995, finished 18-5 and captured the program's first league title since 1986.

Coach of the year: Chris Davis. In his second season as head boys basketball coach, Davis guided LHS to its best record since Lawrence won Class 6A state seven years ago. A 15-game winner in Davis' first year, LHS won at least 15 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in a decade.

Senior boy athlete of the year: Jamie Peterson. Already a proven soccer player, Peterson emerged as a rebounding force in basketball and ranked third on the Lions in scoring. Peterson is headed to Baker to play soccer.

Senior girl athlete of the year: Andrea Hemphill. At the state swimming meet in Manhattan, the University of Iowa signee set school records in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle to earn most valuable swimmer honors. Also a talented distance runner, Hemphill gave up cross country running a couple of years ago to concentrate on swimming.

Junior boy athlete of the year: Brandon McAnderson. An all-league performer at running back and linebacker in football, McAnderson rushed for a team-high 704 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has 1,263 rushing yards in two years. He also was the top underclassman on the LHS boys basketball team and ran track.

Junior girl athlete of the year: Mag Obiefule. She came on late in the track and field season, winning league titles in the shot put and discus. At state, Obiefule placed fifth in the shot and seventh in the discus.

Sophomore boy athlete of the year: Sylvester Birdsong. With a first-place finish in the long jump at state track in Wichita, Birdsong was the Lions' lone individual boys state champion for the school year. He also was a league and regional champion in the long jump.

Sophomore girl athlete of the year: Josie Polk. Polk was the top scorer for the Lions' rising girls basketball team, which posted its best record in six years.

Freshman of the year: Melissa Little. At state, the swimmer placed sixth in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle.

Scholar athlete of the year: D.J. Watkins. Captain of the Scholar Bowl team that won a state championship, Watkins was the top scorer for the LHS boys basketball squad that qualified for state. He also set the school's record for three-pointers in a career (107).

Comeback of the year: Andrea Hemphill. A year after swimming strictly with her club team, Hemphill returned to the LHS girls swimming squad and won two gold medals at the state meet.

Game of the year: Lawrence High 62, Olathe East 57. Down 55-53 with 2:22 left in Free State High's gym, LHS closed with a 9-2 run to secure a berth in the 6A state boys basketball tournament. D.J. Watkins provided six of those points, including two layins off steals and two free throws.

Most improved team: Girls basketball. Coming off the worst season in program's 30-year history, the Lions finished 9-13 under first-year coach Kristin Mallory and for the first time since 1996 reached the Class 6A sub-state final.

Clutch performance: With a state berth at stake, junior Aaron Madill tossed a two-hit shutout in the Lions' 1-0 regional baseball final against Manhattan to reach state.

Most dominating performance: D.J. Watkins, 37 points. In the second game of the season, Watkins erupted for a career-high 37 points ? one off the school record ? in a 78-63 victory over Kansas City (Mo.) Center in the first round of the Blue Valley Shootout. He scored 22 points in the first half and wound up with seven three-point goals.

Transfer of the year: Junior Tommy Mangino. At semester break, Mangino followed his father, new Kansas University football coach Mark Mangino, from Norman, Okla., and was the starting third baseman for the LHS baseball team. Mangino, a quarterback in football, led the Lions in RBIs.

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