High School Sports

High School Sports

Free State boys fall to BVN, 75-49

Free State guard Tyler Self, left, and forward Gabe Patterson watch from the bench after head coach Chuck Law pulled his starters for poor play midway through the third quarter against Blue Valley North on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011 at FSHS.

Free State guard Tyler Self, left, and forward Gabe Patterson watch from the bench after head coach Chuck Law pulled his starters for poor play midway through the third quarter against Blue Valley North on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011 at FSHS.

December 14, 2011


With one of the top teams in the state coming to Free State High on Tuesday night, it would have taken four quarters of excellence for the Firebirds’ boys basketball team to knock off Blue Valley North.

Though FSHS played well at times, it was nowhere near enough to counter the balance and precision of the Mustangs in a 75-49 loss.

Four BVN players — Conner Crooker, Erik Higginbotham, Jawan Emery and Matthew McHugh — scored in double figures. Free State coach Chuck Law said every player Blue Valley North put on the floor had athleticism and the ability to handle, pass or shoot at any time. On top of that, Law went on, the Mustangs ran their sets “exceptionally well,” played hard and hustled for loose balls.

As far as the coach was concerned, not many teams are better than BVN (4-0).

“They’ve got a ton of weapons. I’m adamant about the fact that I think they’re the second-best team in the state,” the coach said, giving the No. 1 spot to Wichita Heights.

It didn’t help Free State (2-2), either, that the Firebirds began the game in a 23-7 hole.

“We don’t have enough firepower to dig ourselves a hole like that,” Law said, noting that slow starts have been a recurring issue.

Fortunately for the Firebirds, they put together a much better second quarter. Oddly enough, it began when sophomore substitute guard Joe Dineen banked in a three-pointer, sparking a 15-4 run.

Dineen scored again with a steal and lay-in, senior Tyler Self made a reverse layup, senior Cameron Dabney scored in the paint, senior Brett Frantz found senior Gabe Patterson for a bucket inside, junior Kyle McFarland gathered an offensive rebound after getting blocked and went up for a score, and Dabney drained a baseline jumper in the final seconds of the quarter. By the half, FSHS trailed 32-26.

Law was very pleased with that stretch, which carried over into the opening minutes of the third quarter.

“I thought we played beautifully for 10 minutes,” Law said. “I honestly believe that was the best basketball we’ve played in the first four games of the year.”

Free State kept it close early in the second half with four points in the paint from Patterson (10 points on the night) and a pair of free throws from Dabney (11), but in the final six minutes of the third, the Mustangs outscored FSHS, 25-6, dashing any thoughts of an upset.

“They’re so explosive,” Law said of BVN. “You can’t allow that to happen, and then you’ve got to organize and get good shots.”

Disappointed with the drubbing being issued to Free State’s starters in the third, Law turned to his bench late in the quarter, and stuck with the subs for the remainder of the game.

For most of the fourth quarter, backups Blake Winslow, Logan Bannister, McFarland, Wilson Hack and Reshawn Caro took on the No. 5-ranked team in 6A.

Although Free State was down 20-plus points throughout the final quarter, Law liked what he saw out of the bench players, and decided to keep them in, even though they were winded.

“I was real pleased with how our second lineup competed,” Law said. “We’ve got to get the rest of the roster to compete that way.”

Winslow scored eight of his 10 points in the final stanza, and said the subs played with a purpose.

“We just wanted to come off the bench and prove a point, and at least bring us back a little and try to give the starters a little energy, because in the first half that’s exactly what we did,” Winslow said, referring to a span of the first and second quarters when backups Bannister and Dineen accounted for nine straight FSHS points.

Winslow, a sophomore guard, said Free State has the pieces to become a much better team.

“We’ve just got to believe in ourselves,” he said. “I think we came out and didn’t really believe.”

At 7 p.m. Friday, Free State plays host to Lawrence (3-1).


bballwizard 6 years, 5 months ago

Every team we play is "underated" or the best team in the state?? After LHS wins by 20 Friday on our home court Coach will have to come up with new story. There's no reason we shoulkd be losing by 25 at home except for poor coaching. End of story.

SVHawk 6 years, 5 months ago

If you actually knew anything you would understand that the Firebirds are in fact playing the best teams in the state. BVN is ranked #3 in all classes and Lansing is the #1 team in 5a. Thats coming from all publications across the state. The firebirds have lost two games two top five teams.

rabbit 6 years, 5 months ago

I agree bballwizard. I think the Lawrence school district should look into hiring former college basketball players to coach the kids. Also get rid of all the politics.

SVHawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Thats working so well for Perry Lecompton, lol. They have the ex college basketball players and they have won 2 games in 2 years, but carry on.

Clickker 6 years, 5 months ago

The LHS /FS game on Friday will be a 5 point game. Pick em.

producer 6 years, 5 months ago

BVN is either the #1 or #2 team in the state IMO. They will beat most of their opponents like a drum this year. That said - few kids like playing for Coach Law. Kids are going to LHS & BSA to avoid wasting their High School playing days. As far as politics go, Law didn't even play his best player the minutes he deserved last year after he found out he would have to transfer to another school because of a federal "law". Also, for the second year in a row, the best freshman in the city has lived in the FS area, but chose to go to BSA & LHS respectively to avoid Law. The good news is - the other two schools in the area have good momentum going in the state.

SVHawk 6 years, 5 months ago

What momentum do you speak of? Didnt LHS just get beat like a drum as well by a ONW? Nobody in the state has any clue what or where BSA is.

producer 6 years, 5 months ago

Bishop Seabury Academy has got some serious talent and they are beating big schools without the FS transfer, who is probably the top player on the team. Might compete for state championship in any class in Kansas?

SVHawk 6 years, 5 months ago

They are not 1# or #2 team in the state, yet you state they will beat most of their opponents like a drum. hmmm.....

bornon7 6 years, 5 months ago

Law is an idiot. He plays favorites (coaches kids) in favor of others that are better players. He has no basketball sense. He is a teacher that gets paid extra to coach. Period. There are a few boys at FSHS that are not on the team, or didn't bother trying out that walk the halls and could beat his Varsity. He loves the coaches kids.

SVHawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Your kid got cut, we get it. He is not an athlete get over it.

bornon7 6 years, 5 months ago

You're wrong. Why so hostile? Your kid on the team?

SVHawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Im hostile? you called the man an idiot. You are extremely hostile, which is pretty obvious from reading your post history. You are just a helicopter parent whith nothing better to do.

bornon7 6 years, 5 months ago

You read my post history? Are you a stalker? That is creepy. Post THAT!

Alex Parker 6 years, 5 months ago

I think that's a good place to end this conversation.

Alex Parker Digital Editor

Clickker 6 years, 5 months ago

Every school has kids walking the halls that some folks think could be contributing.....

age old argument.

But since they choose not to for whatever reason, its a moot point. These are also the kids that would pass up a 'dream job' because they dont like the boss. Their perogative-their loss.

Clickker 6 years, 5 months ago

Also--the "Coaches kid" you speak of is one of the best players in the city. Plays AAU ball in the summer...and since there are so few senior boy athletes at FS this year is looked upon as a SENIOR LEADER by the underclassmen. A very humble kid from what I have heard.

MISTERTibbs 6 years, 5 months ago

You are correct. And the other coach's kid from last year was a pretty darn fine player as well.

As for Georgi not playing the minutes he deserved last year, you're off base on that argument as well. The kid has tons of talent, but still doesn't understand the US game. The only time he didn't play was during the first semester when he was ineligible to play.

There certainly is a pretty darn good team walking the hallways at Free State that chose not to go out for the team for whatever reason, and they'd give the varsity a good run for their money, but it was their choice to not go out.

bornon7 6 years, 5 months ago

MISTERTibbs is absolutely right! It is what it is! It's the kid's choice.

bornon7 6 years, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Clickker 6 years, 5 months ago

I was speaking of the KU coaches son. He is the stud player that is looked up to.

Mclovin69 6 years, 5 months ago

You can not be serious if you think tyler is one the best players in the city. He quit his AAU team because he couldnt get any playing time. Money cant buy you everything.......

bornon7 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't even have a kid playing basketball. Be interested to know who Clickker is. Doesn't matter. I'm just being a devil's advocate. I must move on...

SVHawk 6 years, 5 months ago

Being a devils advocate, by calling a high school basketball coach an idiot?

Clickker 6 years, 5 months ago

just a friend of Bill & Cindy from back in the day. I have no dog in the fight, but maybe want to see the "coaches kid" do well

bornon7 6 years, 5 months ago

Are you a relative, SV? I am sorry my personal opinion of him hurts your feelings. Please forgive me.

rabbit 6 years, 5 months ago

why do Free State have kids playing on the basketball team who live in the LHS district.

Clickker 6 years, 5 months ago

they have a couple that i know of, Knighten and Dineen...and I think LHS has one or two that are in the FS district.

KsUfan001 6 years, 5 months ago

If you think Coach Law is an idiot, you are no more intelligent than the self-entitled kids who transfer so that they don't have to play for Law. Other coaches may put their star players on a pedestal and let them do whatever they want, on and off the court, but Coach Law understands that there are no "freebies" in life and makes the kids learn this the hard way. If you think that is what an "idiot" would do then the jokes on you because you're the one sitting at home, most likely without a job, commenting on High School Sports articles that have nothing to do with you or everything to do with your spoiled kid.

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