Olathe Olathe North 49, Free State boys 46
Free State senior Douglas Compton did not play a single second of the Firebirds’ game at Olathe North on Friday night. But he nearly played a huge role in helping the team earn a victory.
After squandering a third-quarter lead and suffering a heart-breaking setback to Blue Valley West on Tuesday, Compton decided to approach FSHS coach Chuck Law with an idea.
“I just said, ‘Let’s bust out the blacks,’” Compton said.
And so they did.
Playing in seldom-worn, all-black, change-of-pace uniforms, the Firebirds came oh-so-close to snatching their second win of the season on Friday at Olathe North. But a few mental miscues at critical times and a 4-for-19 showing at the free throw line led to more of the same for this bunch.
“It hurts,” Law said. “Because, after a while, the sell gets a little tougher. But we can hang our hat on the fact that we’re getting better every time out, which helps a lot.”
For the majority of Friday’s game, better did not begin to describe it. The Firebirds were aggressive on offense, stingy on defense and in control most of the way.
However, when the two teams went to the locker room at halftime with Free State only ahead by six, the stage was set for another second-half heartbreaker.
“We could have been up 12 to 14 points at the half,” Law said. “And if we had been, that would’ve changed the whole complexion of the game.”
Instead, the Firebirds led just 27-21 at the break and saw that lead disappear entirely by the time the third quarter expired.
The loss dropped Free State to 1-6 on the season, but it did not come without its share of highlights.
Sophomore Eric Watson played like a man possessed in recording the first double-double of his career. Watson, who set the tone with nine points in the first quarter, finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Free State boys and girls will play Tuesday at Olathe East.