It’s possible that, 10 years from now, Lawrence High girls basketball coach Kristin Mallory will remember Friday’s 57-40 victory against Olathe East as one of the biggest milestones of her coaching career.
For now, Mallory only plans to remember her 100th victory as coach of the Lions for one reason.
“Didn’t that look a little like the Lady Lions of old?” Mallory asked.
After struggling through an up-and-down opening quarter, LHS found its rhythm. Trailing 11-4 at one point during the first — and 11-9 at the start of the second — the Lions ripped off a 19-2 run that featured two Cassie Potter three-pointers and six points apiece from Taylor Bird and Jasmyn Turner. What’s more, the Lions’ eight-bucket run included seven assists and the realization that beating the Olathe East press over the top with their quickness was the way to go.
“That’s a sign of playing together and playing as a team not a bunch of individuals,” said Potter, who finished with 12 points, four assists and two steals. “
It was also a sign that the Lions were the ones who wanted to dictate the pace.
After laboring for nine points in the first quarter, LHS scored 23 in the second and took a 32-24 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, the Lions let the Hawks back into the game, as the intensity dropped a level, and LHS managed just four points in the third frame. Olathe East outscored the Lions, 13-4, in the third by taking the ball right to the basket. That led to several free-throw attempts and opened up the outside, as well. East climbed all the way back in the third and took a one-point lead into the fourth quarter.
But that’s where the Lions regained control. A 7-0 run to open the fourth reestablished the Lions as the aggressors, and LHS padded its lead from there. After scoring just four points in all eight minutes of the third, the Lions scored 11 points in the first 1:32 of the fourth.
Points eight through 11 came with 6:28 to play, when Potter drained her third triple of the night and was fouled in the act. She hit the ensuing free throw and turned a 43-38 grinder into a 47-38 runaway.
Things went so well for the Lions in the fourth that at one point Bird hustled down a rebound and saved it from going out of bounds by throwing the ball off of teammate Haley Parker by accident. It didn’t matter. The officials ruled that the ball had hit an Olathe East player and awarded the Lions possession. Laughing, Bird inbounded the ball to Parker, who raced down the floor and pushed the Lions’ lead to 55-38.
“We really needed this win to boost our confidence,” Bird said. “And I thought we played really well as a team.”
Turner led the Lions (6-8) with 16 points. Parker added 13. Bird, who entered the game as the Sunflower League’s leading scorer, tallied just six, but added nine rebounds, six assists and three steals.
LHS also got a huge lift from junior April Miller, who provided solid post defense and added three points and nine rebounds.
Olathe East 55, Lawrence High boys 52
Prior to Friday’s home match-up with 11-2 Olathe East, the Lawrence High boys basketball team talked about refocusing its priorities.
LHS, which entered Friday’s game averaging 62 points per game, decided to think defense first for a change.
The good news? The Lions played what coach Chris Davis called “as good a defensive game as any we’ve played all year.” The bad news? The offense suffered one of its coldest shooting nights of the season and barely cracked 50.
The Lions trailed by eight at halftime and led by four during the third quarter.
LHS did enough on defense, but never got it going on the other end.
Leading scorer Dorian Green finished with 17 points but shot just 7-of-21 from the floor, including 0-of-5 from three-point range. Right-hand man Lance Kilburn finished with 16 on 5-of-15 shooting.
LHS (6-8) had its chances, down four with with 48 seconds to play. But an offensive foul from Green with 28 seconds remaining, combined with three O-East free throws down the stretch, sealed the Lions’ fate.