Prairie Village — Down three points at Shawnee Mission East on Friday night, the Free State High boys basketball team had toiled and fought back and forth with the Lancers for 24 minutes.
Then the fourth quarter happened.
The Firebirds blanked SME during the final eight minutes en route to a 57-36 victory. FSHS (7-2 overall, 3-0 Sunflower League) hit 10 field goals and four freebies in the fourth, while the Lancers were 0-for-the-quarter.
But FSHS coach Chuck Law didn't feel like his team necessarily dominated the home team in the final and decisive period, despite the 24-0 fourth-quarter score.
"You play so hard for three quarters, and then it just snowballs sometimes when it starts to go against you. I would not say it was any sort of domination, regardless of what the fourth-quarter score might be," Law said, pointing out that his Firebirds were on the other end of such an outcome less than a week ago when Topeka came to FSHS and outscored his team 26-9 in the fourth on the way to a 65-46 victory. "It happens to everybody, even a really, really good team like (SM) East."
The Firebirds once again were led by forward Weston Wiebe, who finished with an eye-popping stat line - 24 points, nine rebounds, six blocks and four steals. And that came after a scoreless first quarter for the senior.
"The first few times I touched the ball, I just had nowhere to go," Wiebe said of the game's opening minutes, adding that he didn't get down on himself. "I just decided to step it up on defense, and everything else came after that."
Indeed, Wiebe got his first bucket in the opening minute of the second quarter on a steal and layup and went on to score eight of the Firebirds' 10 second-quarter points.
Although Wiebe's numbers were impressive, Law was happy with the overall effort of his entire team. The Firebirds repeatedly pounded the offensive glass, hustled on defense and hit the hardwood for loose balls.
"You saw Craig (Rosenstengle) in there battling, you saw Chase (Hoag) in there battling, you saw Sean (Brown) in there battling, Kris (Wilson) getting on the floor for loose balls, Marcus (Spates) always gives his all," Law said, "and that was consistent with all eight guys who were on the court tonight."
FSHS will have a few days to bask in its impressive fourth quarter performance before hitting the road Thursday for the McPherson Invitational.