If there is to be a third meeting between the Lawrence High and Free State High boys basketball teams this season, it will have to come in the sub-state championship game next weekend.
That much was learned Saturday morning, when the Kansas State High School Activities Association released the Class 6A sub-state brackets for the coming week.
Lawrence High, which won Friday's city showdown over Free State, 51-47, finished the regular season at 9-11 and earned the No. 7 seed at sub-state. The team's reward is a rematch with second-seeded Leavenworth (16-4) at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Lions nearly knocked off the Pioneers on Feb. 15, falling at home, 54-52.
The Firebirds (13-7), meanwhile, finished as the No. 3 seed and will play host to sixth-seeded Olathe North (10-10) at 7 p.m. Friday. FSHS lost to Olathe North earlier this season.
Should both city squads pick up round-one victories, the two would meet for the right to go to state Saturday at LHS.
On the girls side, a sub-state rematch is not possible because the two city schools are on different sides of the sub-state bracket.
LHS (16-4) earned the No. 2 seed and will play host to seventh-seeded Olathe North (3-17) at 7 p.m. Thursday. A victory there would move the Lions into Friday's sub-state championship game at LHS.
The Free State girls finished the season at 8-12 and earned the No. 5 seed at sub-state. They'll travel Wednesday to Olathe East to take on the fourth-seeded Hawks (9-11), whom FSHS defeated by 16 back in January.
While coaches from all four schools spent most of Saturday looking ahead to the postseason, the two winning coaches from Friday's city clash couldn't help but reflect on their most recent victories.
For LHS boys coach Chris Davis, Friday's win provided great relief - not solely because the Lions beat the Firebirds, but because something finally went right in a season of so many tough breaks.
"I think that is exactly how we feel," Davis said. "(Friday) night was the culmination of three or four games where we've played pretty well."
Even with sub-state looming, Davis gave his players time to enjoy the victory.
"We gave them (Saturday) off, but I think they would've all showed up without hesitation," Davis said. "They're ready to go."
After sweeping the season series with the Firebirds - winning both games by 14 points - the LHS girls are eyeing a run at state.
With Friday's victory still fresh, LHS coach Kristin Mallory admitted to being extra excited Saturday morning.
"(Friday) night reinforced my belief that there isn't a better high school environment than a Free State-Lawrence High basketball matchup," she said. "It's a great feeling to know our boys and girls both won, but we also know it's time to buckle down and get ready for sub-state because, ultimately, that's the most important thing."