High School Sports

High School Sports

Familiar foe: Free State, Lawrence High girls basketball teams prepare for matchup

Free State freshman Scout Wiebe (22) and Lawrence High junior Christina Haswood (42) get into position as Lawrence High inbounds the ball Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011 at LHS.

Free State freshman Scout Wiebe (22) and Lawrence High junior Christina Haswood (42) get into position as Lawrence High inbounds the ball Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011 at LHS.

February 24, 2011


Before practice this afternoon, the Free State girls basketball team will crowd into coach Bryan Duncan’s classroom and thoroughly dissect the Lions from Lawrence High.

Duncan will analyze the Lions’ offensive sets, their offensive tendencies, and the shooting abilities of all the players likely to see time, among other things. Seemingly no facet of the Lions’ game will go untouched in the thirty-minute session, which Duncan called Basketball 101.

Junior Lynn Robinson knows she better pay attention, both so she can gain an edge in the city showdown on Friday and avoid Duncan’s ire.

“He actually did say last time that next year, he’s going to make it a requirement to take notes,” Robinson said.

The effectiveness of the scouting reports produced by the coaching staffs at Free State and Lawrence High will help determine who will win Friday’s game at FSHS. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.

Because the Firebirds (9-10) and Lions (6-13) have already met this season — Free State won 44-35 in The Jungle — proper preparation might actually be the difference.

When preparing his team for its next opponent, Lawrence High coach Nick Wood covers most of the same things that Duncan covers. He finds that when his team adheres to the scouting report, it can be very beneficial.

Wood also uses JV players — the “scout team” — to provide his varsity players with a look at what the opponent might do on offense or defense.

He’s careful to not overload the varsity players with numbers and tendencies, though.

“You don’t want to give them too much to think about,” Wood said.

Duncan echoed that sentiment, realizing that his team of young and mostly inexperienced players is still learning that you have to guard people differently depending on their abilities.

Robinson said that her younger teammates didn’t really use the scouting report to their advantage a couple months ago, but they’re learning.

“Towards the end of the season, you realize that it actually helps to know who the shooters are and who can do what,” Robinson said.

Pointing out the opponent’s three-point shooters is often a main focus of the Firebirds’ reports, in large part because the Firebirds are a small team that often has to double team in the post.

Duncan and his staff chart the opponent’s three-point shots, so they can determine which players can help in the post and which should stay tightly with the shooter.

Other scouting factors will come into play on Friday, including the fact that many of the Firebirds and Lions have played on the same teams in the summer.

Wood and Duncan both said that their players often know more than the coaching staffs about the players on the other city team.

It’s a rivalry game, so it always means something, but the outcome won’t affect either team’s substate matchup. The Lions will play at Olathe Northwest and the Firebirds will play Topeka High next Thursday.

Because the Lions just played Olathe Northwest, they’ll already have a pretty good grasp on the Ravens. Free State didn’t play Topeka this season, but Duncan has already acquired two game tapes from coaches outside the Sunflower League.

“That’s one of the advantages of getting to know other coaches in other leagues and playing against people outside your league — you get to know people,” Duncan said.

But neither coach is focusing much on their substate games yet in advance of Friday’s game.

Today, the players’ focus will be on the scouting report and Friday’s game. Robinson will sit in Duncan’s classroom, trying to learn what the Lions want to do.

And since she knows the names of most of the Lions, remembering how they play won’t be difficult.

“It’s a lot easier since I’ve known most of them since junior high,” Robinson said.


WinterMeadows 7 years, 3 months ago

Kudos once again to LJW. Where is the representation for LHS, other than the coach? It's ridiculous how much press is given to Free State while LHS is often not given a second glance. WHY??????? Of course, it's nothing new. It's been going on for YEARS

MISTERTibbs 7 years, 3 months ago

Cry me a freakin' river WinterMeadows. The LHS people always feel slighted about something, and the FSHS always have mirrored gripes about the same thing.

Both schools get some, and quite frankly fairly equal, coverage from the paper. If you want to gripe about something you might gripe about the low level of coverage given to the high school teams as opposed to the university.

It's attitudes like your's that raise the rivalry beyond what it should be.

WinterMeadows 7 years, 3 months ago

And this doesn't add to it??? I don't see FS harping about getting coverage on anything.....I'm not hating on FS, but I'd like to see equal coverage on all levels. LHS can do something equally important as FS but FS will get the headline. Why is that?

MISTERTibbs 7 years, 3 months ago

Explain to me exactly how my reply adds to it? I'm not favoring one team or another. I'm just an old retired guy that enjoys watching athletic competition and hates seeing each side whine about the other getting more coverage. And when I say each side, I mean the parents because the kids all get along fine. I will not pretend to know the reason that FS was featured in the story, but I can venture a guess from experience. First, FS is the home team this time around. Second, FS, by record anyway, is having the better season of the two.

I'll be there in stands tomorrow hoping for a pair of good games regardless of the outcome. Next week, I'll be cheering for both schools in their substate games hoping they can extend their play a couple more weeks.

mom_of_three 7 years, 3 months ago

In overall record, Free State is having a better season, because of their tournament play. But in district play, the records and results are pretty similiar. FSHS beat LHS the first time, LHS beat SMNW which FSHS lost to, FSHS beat leavenworth which LHS lost to, and both teams have lost to the top 5 teams in the league (ONW, SMW, OEast, SME, OSouth) and beat SMN, SMS, ONorth (I think I got everybody).

Each team has their positive and negatives....

mom_of_three 7 years, 3 months ago

And the kids do notice who gets the coverage, too, don't kid yourself....they just keep it inside and use it as a motivating factor.

MISTERTibbs 7 years, 3 months ago

You may be right. In my experience thoug it is the parents that point it out to the kids though. In a case like this where ONE player is interviewed, she'll make sure to go look in the paper (and her teammates will read enough to give her crap), but the Lawrence High girls won't take much notice unless the parents make a big deal about it. JMHO of course.

As far as a motivating factor, I believe beating your friend in competition is more of a motivating factor than one girl from the other team getting quoted in the paper.

mom_of_three 7 years, 3 months ago

It's a combination of both, depending on the kid and how friendly they are.

Shelley Bock 7 years, 3 months ago

What LHS fans should be complaining about is why it took until just 3 weeks before the start of the season for LHS to hire a girls soccer coach. LHS girls were so desperate for leadership that they've been going to Free State to get pre-season conditioning.

MISTERTibbs 7 years, 3 months ago

That's the kind of cooperation I'm talking about Hepburn. The coaches and the kids see that it benefits them all to be as good as they can be.

Shelley Bock 7 years, 3 months ago

With the girls who play soccer in Lawrence, there is only one opponent they don't wish their rival to be successful against. I've seen soccer players attending the other's games just to be supportive. I hope that attitude will always be there because in the off-season club play, they are often teammates.

WinterMeadows 7 years, 3 months ago

I know there are girls on both teams that have played together for years and will this summer as well. ALL have worked hard for the recognition, however, it's upsetting that LJW highlights one school (FSHS) the majority of the time. It's frustrating to see interviews only with the LHS coach and not the players, whereas, there have been numerous interviews with FS players......My comments weren't meant to start or infuse what rivalry is already there.-Simply to spotlight the inequality of reporting for LHS.

ECM 7 years, 3 months ago

WinterMeadows then you need to talk to the coach or Atheltic Director at LHS. When the LJW covers events or teams the coach pulls players to be interviewed. If they are only talking to a coach it is because the coach isn't choosing kids or having them present when the reporter is there.

justmytwocents 7 years, 3 months ago

I thought they did interview LHS kids for this article. Wonder if they are saving it for another article or what?

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