One senior. One sophomore. Nothing green about either one of the Lawrence High boys basketball players. Not their uniforms. Not their games. Mature, poised, confident, but not green.
Daniel Green, the senior, had his bell rung during the city rivalry game Thursday night, so Lawrence coach Chris Davis had to improvise. Enter Dorian Green, the sophomore, who had played three quarters of the junior varsity game.
Daniel Green re-entered in the fourth quarter in time to hit the game-tying three-pointer so that Nathan Padia could make the game-winning free throw with 1.1 seconds left to give visiting Lawrence a 43-42 comeback victory against Free State.
If not for the contributions of Dorian Green in his first long stretch of varsity playing time, the comeback from a 30-13 deficit never would have happened.
Looking so comfortable, the sophomore ran the show for much of the 17-2 third-quarter run. He once took a rebound the length of the court and hit a short pull-up jumper, was a big part of a trapping defense, and with 1:59 left in the game hit a three-point shot.
"He was a little bit woozy," Davis said of Daniel Green. "The trainer said it wasn't anything serious, but we decided to go with Jace McNabb and Dorian Green. It was one of those things, when Dorian came in, it was just like this little bit of magic kind of happened. It was kind of funny because exactly the same thing happened with Stephen Vinson when he was a sophomore. He came into this game (against Free State) and provided a spark. It was almost the exact same thing. It was kind of cool."
Cool was the perfect word to describe Dorian. He was so poised it was enough to make you wonder if he actually is much older and made some sort of deal in which he keeps a portrait of himself in the attic and it ages while he keeps his youthful looks. Wait, never mind, that was Dorian Gray.
"One of his best traits is he almost shows no emotion," Davis said. "He's always just steady Eddie all the time, and on top of that he's a pretty darn good basketball player."
Daniel said he didn't worry about Dorian's nerves.
"He's smooth," Daniel said. "He's a smooth cat. He's awesome, man. He took over part of the game and showed what kind of a player he is. I'm proud he's on my team."
Before Daniel hit his big shot, Davis tapped his chest and turned prophetic.
"He told me, 'You're gonna hit that three, and we're gonna win the game.' It happened that way, and I'm happy," Daniel said. "Happiest moment of my life right now."
The vastly entertaining evening - if the fire marshal happens to ask, just cross your fingers and tell him it wasn't very crowded - kicked off with Free State's girls winning in impressive fashion and ended with the dramatic finish by the Lawrence boys.
Although most of the late heroics were by the Greens and Padia, the trio combined for just 15 points.
New to the varsity scene, LHS senior Nick Wagner - what a player this kid is - knows all about blooming late and in a loud way. Hitting shots from close, midrange and deep, Wagner led the Lions with 12 points.
What a game. If that man spotted leaving at halftime could take one mulligan for the winter, surely he'd use it on staying put for a wildly entertaining second half.