Emporia Final: Free State loses to Blue Valley West, 52-41 BV West's Jake Wolfe made five free throws down the stretch to help BV West hold off Free State.
1:49 FOURTH QUARTER: Free State trails Blue Valley West, 44-36 BV West's Steven Hooks tipped in a shot to force Free State to take a timeout. On the previous possession, junior forward Weston Wiebe hit a jumper in the lane.
5:16 FOURTH QUARTER: Free State trails Blue Valley West, 39-32 BV West center Robert Lewandowski hit a fadeaway jumper from the right baseline to give BV West a seven-point lead, its largest of the game. Free State coach Chuck Law took a timeout after the jump shot.
END OF THIRD QUARTER: Free State trails Blue Valley West, 32-29 Senior guard Kyle Schreiner nearly hit another three-pointer at the end of the quarter, but missed off the back iron as time expired in the third quarter.
BV West's 6-9 center Robert Lewandowski hasn't received a rest yet. As a result, senior center Christian Ballard hasn't received as many breathers as usual. When Ballard's out, junior forward Weston Wiebe has guarded Lewandowski. Ballard and Lewandowski only have one foul each.
BV West guard Matt Besler leads all scores with 15.
2:59 THIRD QUARTER: Free State trails Blue Valley West, 27-26 The Jaguars have contested nearly every shot the Firebirds put up near the paint. BV West center Robert Lewandowski already has five blocks. The nicest Free State play of the second half so far was a backdoor cut by senior guard Kyle Schreiner. He recognized his defender was playing near the top of the key - as did Nick Devin, who found Schreiner in stride for the layup on the left side.
HALFTIME: Free State leads Blue Valley West, 20-18 Senior guard Kyle Schreiner hit a three-pointer that brought the Free State faithful to its feet as time expired in the first half. With about three seconds left, Schreiner received the ball in the right corner and elevated for the three-pointer. The Jaguars contested the shot well, and Schreiner hit the floor as the ball fell through the net.
Senior center Christian Ballard leads Free State with eight points at the half. Ballard's most impressive bucket arguably came in the second quarter, as senior guard Nick Devin grabbed an offensive rebound and tried to float a left-handed hook shot. Devin missed, but Ballard leaped up and tipped it back in for the score. Ballard slid past the baseline from his momentum and effort on the play. He got right back up and sprinted down the court to play defense.
Schreiner and junior forward Weston Wiebe each have five points at the half.
Blue Valley West standout center Robert Lewandowski only has two points at intermission. BV West guard Matt Besler leads the team with seven points.
Both teams coincidentally went 7-of-21 (33.3 percent) from the field in the first half.
END OF FIRST QUARTER: Free State leads Blue Valley West, 10-5: Senior center Christian Ballard leads Free State with four points after the first quarter. He's also held Blue Valley West's 6-9 center Robert Lewandowski to one field goal. The Jaguars have made it a priority to get Lewandowski the ball in the post, but the Firebirds have defended him well. Lewandowski's bucket was the only field goal of the quarter for BV West, which typically plays low-scoring games.
FIRST QUARTER 2:30: Free State leads Blue Valley West, 6-1: Free State leads, but both teams are playing exceptional halfcourt man-to-man defense. Ballard has held Lewandowski scoreless.
The Free State High boys basketball team (12-11) takes on Blue Valley West (16-7) in the semifinals of the Class 6A state tournament in Emporia. The winner will advance to tomorrow's state championship game in White Auditorium.