Archive for Saturday, March 3, 2007

A house of horrors?

Free State girls seek revenge in return to Olathe Northwest gym

March 3, 2007

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Kelsey Harrison remembers the last time she played a Class 6A sub-state game in the Olathe Northwest gym.

The date was Saturday, Oct. 21, when the Lawrence High volleyball team shocked the higher-seeded Firebirds and Harrison in the Ravens' gym.

Harrison will get another shot at LHS - this time in basketball - in the sub-state finals at 5 tonight at Olathe Northwest.

"To me, it almost adds more because I want to beat them more now because of what happened during volleyball," said Harrison, Free State's starting senior forward. "I've brought it up a little bit, but we can't really psych ourselves out about it because it's a completely different game and different team."

Free State won both regular-season basketball meetings.

Lawrence High (14-7) enters the sub-state finals on an emotional high from Thursday night's victory against Shawnee Mission Northwest. Senior guard Hannah Somers won in heroic fashion, nailing a three-pointer to win the game as time expired. The Lions were down by one when Somers drilled the shot halfway between the three-point line and halfcourt.

"We've never gotten a standing ovation," Lawrence High coach Kristin Mallory said. "We've never had people rush the floor before. Hopefully, the girls will see this as a big boost going into Saturday."

After the buzzer-beater, students and fans at Lawrence High's famed "Jungle" mobbed Somers in celebration.

"It would mean the world," Somers said about a victory tonight. "It'd mean everything in this game to beat them and knock them out of state."

Free State (15-6) is coming off a 30-point stomping of Leavenworth on Thursday night in the Firebirds' gym. Free State coach Bryan Duncan learned about the LHS victory about 15 minutes after the Free State game ended. He said when he told his team the next opponent would be LHS, the team reaction was calm and focused.

"For us, we could care less how they got there or who they beat to get there," Duncan said. "The only thing that matters one bit to us is the fact that that's who we saw that we're playing. How they got there has no bearing on our performance."

Mallory and Duncan said neither team had an advantage in playing each other for the third time this season. A constant from both games has been a second-half surge by the Firebirds. In the first meeting, Lawrence High led, 22-21, at halftime. Free State won that contest by 23 points.

In the second meeting, LHS led by five at halftime. Free State went on to win by nine in the Jungle.

"We need to maintain our composure like usual," Harrison said. "They're going to come out strong. They're fired up from Hannah's shot the other night. Obviously, they're going to be excited to beat us because they've lost both times, so we just need to come out harder."

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