Archive for Friday, December 22, 2006

Padia plenty tough in LHS triumph

December 22, 2006


Lawrence High's Nathan Padia saw the poster board in the Free State crowd, saying, "Padia is soft."

So after the LHS senior calmly sank his free throw with 1.1 seconds remaining, he turned to the Free State section and placed his index finger to his mouth to hush the Firebirds faithful.

"I had to throw a little something at them, too," Padia said. "It was a heat-of-the-moment thing."

After Padia intentionally clanged the second free throw, the clock expired, giving the LHS boys basketball team a 43-42 victory at Free State on Thursday night.

Lions fans rushed the floor. Boys embraced their girlfriends. Point guard Daniel Green hugged his grandmother.

Green had reason to exult. The Firebirds led 42-39 after Free State senior Weston Wiebe, who scored nine points, missed two free throws. With six seconds left, Green nailed a three from the corner to tie the game.

Prior to that clutch shot, Green, who attempts 100 threes a day, had not scored. But LHS coach Chris Davis imparted his confidence in him before the play.

"You're going to get a three," Davis said. "And it's going to go down."

After Green made the shot, Padia stole a pass, and Free State junior Kris Wilson fouled him to set up the game-ending free throws. Once Padia hit the first one, Davis instructed him to miss the second to force the remaining time to elapse. The senior then asked his coach which side of the rim to aim for.

"Just miss it and hit the rim," Davis said. "That's all I care about."

The game's climatic finish seemed unlikely early. The Lions scored only four points in the second quarter as Free State took a 22-13 halftime lead. LHS did not score in the first three minutes, and Free State bolstered its margin to 30-13 as Wilson penetrated through the heart of the Lions' defense.

"We didn't do a very good job of executing and playing team basketball," Davis said.

The Lions (4-2) used their defense to speed up the game's pace and stormed back with a 17-2 run late in the third quarter to end the frame down just 31-30.

"They picked up the tempo with their half-court trapping, and we didn't handle it very well," Free State coach Chuck Law said. "We got out of our character, and they started making shots they hadn't been making."

One Free State fan penned a sign, saying, "It's about time you made this a game."

LHS sophomore Dorian Green, who finished with five points, also helped narrow the deficit. Seeing his first action in the third quarter, he steadied the team and provided solid defense against the quicker Free State guards.

"When Dorian came in," Davis said, "it was just like this little bit of magic happened."

Late in the fourth quarter, Dorian Green entered on defensive possessions, and Daniel Green entered on offensive plays. Dorian initially entered the game because Daniel hit his head late in the first half and felt woozy.

"During halftime I was out of it," Daniel Green said. " I feel great right now ... it's the best feeling in my life."

Both teams seemed to feel nervous in the first quarter, which led to sloppy play. Free State (3-3) committed nine turnovers, and Wiebe had five of his team's six points as LHS led, 9-6.

"They look forward to this game for a whole year," Davis said. "They're so emotional that the first quarter is usually pretty ugly, and everybody runs out of gas pretty fast."

Both teams combined for a mere 28 field goals during the entire contest, with the 5-foot-9 Wilson leading all scorers with 17 points and looking like the fastest player on the court.

"He was on tonight," Daniel Green said. "He's a shifty guard."

Free State did an excellent job of driving into the lane to initiate contact and racking up fouls against LHS. But the Firebirds could not convert, hitting just 18 of 35 from the line. The Lions made of five of 13 free throws and hit six threes.

For Free State the futility at the line and from the three-point line - zero long range shots on the night - added up to its most heartbreaking loss in recent memory.

"We had a tough loss to Topeka High in the sub-state last year, but we didn't blow a big lead," Law said. "I would say this is the toughest loss."

For LHS, the victory only will enhance its holiday vacation as both teams begin their two-week break.

"It was gonna be good," Padia said. "But now it's going to be great."


Hilary Morton 11 years, 5 months ago

Poor display of sportsmanship last night from many students and players of LHS. LHS sure played a great game, and showed great athleticism. It's just too bad they didn't show more good character.

LTJayhawk24 11 years, 5 months ago

hilary, i guess that holding up a sign that says "Padia is soft" is considered good sportsmanship in your book? This rivalry brings out the best and worst in both sides. Both schools should be held accountable for their actions. Your statement just makes you sound like a Free State homer.

Hilary Morton 11 years, 5 months ago

LT, I'm a LHS alum, actually. You're right. Both sides exhibited some bad judgement. I think cussing at refs stands out at bad sportsmanship. I did not see any FS kids CUSSING at refs, though I'm not saying it didn't happen. This was just my first experience watching the rivalry. Chanting "Little peckers" was not good, either. I hate when bad decisions by fans can stand in the way of good games. I thought the women, especially, played very well, and treated one another with respect.

str82datop 11 years, 5 months ago

I'm a freestate graduate and cousin to dorian green so i just wanted to say good game to my lil cousin but someones gotta teach coach law the concept of a timeout. I don't think i've ever seen a team pop off 17 points straight there is no way lhs should have been allowed back in the game but hey i've graduated so i have no vested interest but if theres a coaching session comin up some where i might advise freestates coach to attend

weedwacker 11 years, 5 months ago

hilary, im not sure we were at the same game. There were VERY rude comments being displayed on a dry erase board from the Free State side. Maybe the LHS crowd was being rude, I'm sure they were, but to say that the Free State kids were not, is just insane! The LHS kids were out in the open, but sometimes a person only wants to see what they want to see. And yes, there WERE things at the girls game on both sides of the ball that were happening. It's been like this since they opened Free State. Towns with more than one High School in them always have the same rivarly happening. The kids are just fine, it's the parents that make too big of a deal out of it. My daugther also is a LHS alum, and she was a cheerleader. The day after these games, you could go to many get togethers and see both schools represented. Believe it or not, after the games, these kids are friends. And they get along just fine. I do really love how we are focused on what LHS has done, and not what Free State has done, believe me, it is both schools studenst that do things to the other school.

Hilary Morton 11 years, 5 months ago

weed, did you read my comments? Please do that before you respond in anger. I never said the FS kids were not. I know the kids are friends. That's what makes it fun for them. I'm glad they get a chance to taste the rivalry, b/c when I went to LHS, we stood alone. We were at the same game. We were probably just sitting on opposite sides of the court, and saw what the other school was doing. Have a great holiday.

weedwacker 11 years, 5 months ago

hil, i did read your comments, and I responded to them properly. What I was saying is it makes people look really bad when they only look at one side, and that is exactly what you were doing--"I didn't see any Free State Kids CUSSING at the refs". OH, please, you just chose to ignore it. You have a great holiday.

jayhawk166 11 years, 5 months ago

why are you in arms about students cussing at the games? lets stay focused on the kids who actually played in the game! Great game LHS!!!!!!!!!

lets not forget about the great job inside by Chance Riley and Johnny Novotny!!!

myunitedstatesofWHATEVA 11 years, 5 months ago

Honestly Hilary, did you not read the signs being written by the freestate fans? The things they said about one of the LHS girls basketball players appalled me. Sure, LHS chanted "little peckers," but to personally go out and write such things about a person is simply rude and unthoughtful. Oh, and LHS kids, good job with the roosters hanging from flag pole. Boy did I get a kick out of that one. And to Dorian Green, last night should be dedicated to you sir, I don't think sophmore has stepped up that much and gotten so much praise by his school. Congrats LHS! you deserved it.

weedwacker 11 years, 5 months ago

Nicely put myunited. I always love it when someone thinks that their side has done nothing wrong, and the other side is so mean. Usually when you make those kind of quotes they always bite you on the bottom. I also agree with others that both schools have a lot of talent on them, and we should be proud to live in a town that has two great teams. Some years LHS will win, and some years FSHS will win. But we should all be allowed to support our teams and be behind our players, no matter what the sport.

godsgift 11 years, 5 months ago

let me tell all, as a player on the floor last night and being friends with players on both teams, no one would cuss at a ref, especially in programs as LHS and FS. intensity is always high in a rivalry game such as last nights, and every player on the court cussed at some point or another but none would cuss at a ref. The three refs working the game last night are three of the best in the state and they've got combined experience of many years and they wouldn't tolerate any of that, and the coaches were well aware of how good the refs were and made that known to the players...overall it was a great atmosphere for highschool basketball and can't wait for Feb. when it happens again in "the jungle."

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