Leavenworth Lawrence High made free-throw shooting look hard for 31/2 quarters Friday night. In the final 4:02, the Lions nearly were automatic.
"We definitely had to hit our free throws to close out the game," said Lawrence senior Brennan Bechard, who made all eight of his foul shots in the final 1:57 to help the Lions pull out a 67-61 Sunflower League boys basketball victory over Leavenworth. "They started getting hot from the three-point line, so that was definitely a key factor."
The Pioneers (4-2 overall, 1-1 league) made just three of their first 20 three-point shots before hitting four of 10 in the fourth quarter.
Lawrence High (4-2, 1-1) led by as many as 18 points and held a 53-37 advantage after senior guard David Freeman made two foul shots with 4:02 remaining.
The Lions had made just seven of their first 15 free-throw attempts, but Freeman was 8-of-10 down the stretch, and Bechard didn't miss.
"This gym is a really hard place to win," said Lawrence coach Chris Davis, who won for the first time in three trips to Leavenworth. "I'm really proud that we were able to get it done here. I'm really pleased with how our team came together during winter break."
The Pioneers made things interesting when senior Mario Stowers -- who led Leavenworth with 20 points -- made three three-pointers in less than a minute, slicing Lawrence's lead to 59-50 with 1:20 to play.
Leavenworth cut the deficit to 64-57 on a three-pointer by Leonard Parker -- one of three Pioneers to foul out -- with 26.2 seconds left, but Bechard and Freeman combined to make three of four foul shots to secure the victory.
Bechard, a 6-foot guard, led Lawrence with 16 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Leavenworth used four players 6-4 or taller against the smaller Lions, but Lawrence owned a 38-34 advantage on the glass.
"That was our No. 1 focus," Bechard said of rebounding. "We couldn't let them have second chances."
Lawrence center Tony Anderson had 12 points and six rebounds in a balanced offense, and Freeman had 11 points. Chance Riley added 10 off the bench, and Tyler Knight had nine.
The Lions will play host to Shawnee Mission Northwest on Tuesday.
Leavenworth girls 46, Lawrence 36
Lawrence senior Megan Klingler led all players with 21 points and 10 rebounds, but the Lions didn't give their post player much help on the offensive end.
"Megan had a good night, but other people have to step up," said Lawrence coach Kristin Mallory, whose team fell to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the Sunflower League.
The Lions led 13-5 early after Klingler scored two baskets, Drew Huff made a pair of free throws, and Sydney Wilson made her second three-pointer with 3:18 left in the first quarter.
But after Wilson's three-pointer no Lion other than Klingler made a field goal for almost 10 minutes. By the time Wilson ended that drought with 1:20 left in the third quarter, Leavenworth had erased an eight-point, second-quarter deficit and led 31-28.
Wilson finished with eight points and was the only Lawrence player other than Klingler to make a basket. Huff scored six points -- all from the foul line -- and Lacey Elmore had one.
Vashunta Johnston led a balanced attack for Leavenworth (3-3) with 12 points and six rebounds.
The Lions made just 12 of 22 foul shots and turned the ball over 19 times.
"Our passing was horrible," said Mallory, whose team had ended the first semester with a three-game winning streak. "We were trying to get the ball into Megan, but our guards have to make better decisions."