Topeka — Throw out the first quarter of the Topeka Invitational Tournament's third-place game, and Lawrence High's boys basketball team played Wichita East to a 64-all tie.
"Unfortunately, they count that first-quarter score," LHS coach Chris Davis quipped.
Wichita East, the second-ranked team in Class 6A, outscored Lawrence 31-13 in the first quarter Saturday and rolled to an easy 95-77 victory at Highland Park.
"Before the game, I sensed that we didn't have much energy, myself included," LHS guard David Freeman said. "That's the No. 2 team in the state. It shouldn't be hard to get up for that."
But the Lions looked flat in the first eight minutes and turned the ball over six times.
"I think the emotional game last night was difficult for us to rebound from," said Davis, whose team suffered a 69-62 loss to host Highland Park -- the top-ranked team in 5A -- in Friday's semifinal. "By the time we realized it, it was too late to come back against a very good team."
East guard Sammie Fisher showed no ill-effects of Friday night's nasty collision with Free State's Sam Buhler and led all players with 27 points. He sank three of his six three-pointers in the decisive first quarter.
Aces post player Carlin Whitten was equally devastating inside. He had 12 of his 26 points and four of his 11 rebounds in the opening quarter.
"We have to get off to a better start," said Freeman, who saw his team fall behind 7-0. "We didn't get back on defense."
LHS (7-4) made one run at the Aces (9-3). Freeman and Brennan Bechard sank three-pointers in a 9-0 run that cut the deficit to 37-25 with 4:32 left in the second quarter, but that was as close as the Lions could get.
Freeman led LHS with 25 points.
"David is always going to give you everything he has," Davis said. "He has a big heart, and he plays with it."
Bechard added 10 points for LHS, and center Tony Anderson had 13 points and nine rebounds.
The Lions won't play again until Friday's home game against Kansas City Christian. Davis said he already was planning to devote a week's worth of practices to defense before East shot 55 percent (33-of-60) from the field.
"We learned a lot," Freeman said. "We learned where the bar is set. We need to get better -- defensively especially -- and we need to get better as a team. It's going to be a tough week of practice. We need to get a lot better if we want to compete with the best teams in the state."