High School Sports

High School Sports

Frenetic finish favors Free State Firebirds in City Showdown win

Free State High’s Georgi Funtarov (11) walks past a swarm of fans that rushed the court after the Firebirds’ 61-60 victory over rival Lawrence High on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011 at LHS. Funtarov hit the game-winner.

Free State High’s Georgi Funtarov (11) walks past a swarm of fans that rushed the court after the Firebirds’ 61-60 victory over rival Lawrence High on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011 at LHS. Funtarov hit the game-winner.

January 26, 2011


Free State High junior Georgi Funtarov said he never had played in front of as many people in Europe as he did Tuesday at Lawrence High.

Everyone who packed in the Jungle for this season’s first edition of the City Showdown certainly will remember Funtarov’s big play on the big stage.

Funtarov’s jump hook with six seconds to go put the Firebirds up a point. Lawrence quickly inbounded the ball, but junior Logan Henrichs’ contested layup slipped off the rim, giving Free State the 61-60 victory.

Firebirds coach Chuck Law said his team had tried to run the play that set up Funtarov’s shot all game long. His players executed it in the final seconds, but they nearly lost the game on the other end.

“The problem is, we got a little celebratory after the basket and forgot to get our backsides back on defense,” Law said.

Henrichs raced up the floor past the slacking Firebirds, launching a contested layup as the final seconds ran off. The ball banked off the glass and sat on the rim before bouncing off as the buzzer sounded.

Henrichs and junior KJ Pritchard sat in the corner of the court, wondering how the shot didn’t fall.

“You could have timed that ball with a sundial with how long that hung on the rim,” Law said.

Free State senior Eric Watson, who finished with a game-high 19 points, said he thought the game was over when Henrichs took the shot.

“I know this is the last time that we’re going to play in the Jungle, and it just means everything to us,” Watson said.

It would have been hard to see Funtarov’s heroics coming late in the first half. After an athletic follow-up dunk, Funtarov hung on the rim for too long, drawing a technical foul and the ire of Law.

“I need to learn some rules in the U.S.A.,” said Funtarov, a transfer student from Bulgaria. “It’s a little bit different in Europe.”

At halftime, Law let Funtarov know that he was upset with the theatrics after the play. The dunk gave Free State a two-point lead late in the half, but Lawrence ended the half with a 8-2 run, capped by an Anthony Buffalomeat three-pointer at the buzzer. Law was especially frustrated because it swung the momentum back to Lawrence, which took a 33-29 lead into the break.

“George got a tongue-lashing at halftime like he hasn’t gotten the whole time he’s been here,” Law said. “We’ve probably been a little too generous with him, truth be told. He’s got a lot of ability, but he’s used to getting away with a lot of things.”

Law, who had declined to comment on his team Monday in order to keep plans under wraps, said Funtarov learned from the mistake and played a good second half.

Lawrence coach Mike Lewis was proud of his team’s effort, especially with how his players pushed the ball right back at Free State after Funtarov’s go-ahead goal.

“Punch for punch, we were there. We just had that ball sit on the rim at the end, and it’s gut-wrenching,” Lewis said.

The Lions (4-9) took a 60-59 lead with 18 seconds left on a Pritchard three-pointer from the left wing. Free State (7-5) called a timeout to set up its final play.

Lewis said the Lions won’t forget the loss, or the way they lost.

“I think everybody will have a little something in their back pocket, or on their mantle in their bedroom,” Lewis said, “a little something there motivating them for that end-of-the-season game.”

Both coaches loved the environment, in which both student sections were rowdy from the opening tip. Law challenged the Free State fanbase also to come out to games when the Firebirds aren’t playing the Lions.

Still, it was clear Law was thrilled with his players’ performance.

“That’s a gut check, and we got a win, and in the end that’s all that matters,” Law said.

Box score


Shawn Knighton 2-4 3-8 8, Austin Hoag 1-2 0-0 2, Eric Watson 7-14 5-6 19, Alec Heline 6-8 2-5 16, Evan Manning 2-7 0-0 5, Brett Frantz 2-3 0-0 4, Georgi Funtarov 2-5 0-4 4, Tyler Self 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 23-45 10-23 61.


KJ Pritchard 5-16 5-5 17, Shane Willoughby 2-6 1-2 5, Anthony Buffalomeat 6-8 2-3 16, Logan Henrichs 4-9 0-0 9, Jake Johnson 1-1 0-0 2, Garrett Wagner 3-4 0-1 6, Brad Strauss 1-3 0-1 3, Derby Miller 1-2 0-1 2. Totals 23-49 8-13 60.

Free State 13 16 19 13 — 61

Lawrence 11 22 15 12 — 60

Three-point goals: Free State 5-14 (Heline 2, Knighton, Manning, Self); Lawrence 6-15 (Pritchard 2, Buffalomeat 2, Henrichs, Strauss). Shooting: Free State 23-45 (51.1 percent); Lawrence 23-49 (46.9 percent). Turnovers: Free State 12, Lawrence 14.


OatherStrawderman2k6 7 years, 2 months ago

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slapjack 7 years, 2 months ago

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cato_the_elder 7 years, 2 months ago

BloodBot, Lawrence bought into this when the School Board for a second time foisted a split high school on the community and the voters, who by then were tired of the issue, gave in. It was well known that a "rivalry" would be created, the local media have fallen all over themselves to encourage it, and we're lucky that it isn't worse than it is. Students at both schools have been guilty of tasteless excess at times. If you lived here and voted to split LHS, then you have no right to complain. If not, then you'll learn to live with it like others have. Interestingly, a number of weird people even enjoy it.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 2 months ago

BloodBot, if you think that the banners and similar paraphernalia of which you complain have appeared at only one of the schools, then you haven't lived here and/or been involved in attending high school activities for very long. You must not be aware of the white trash bags that students at one of the schools have routinely donned in order to demonstrate their contempt for Lawrence families living south of 15th Street.

slapjack 7 years, 2 months ago

so true cato....bloodbot must have his/her blinders on when they are looking at things from the Free State student section. Here again, since the high school split, both sides have done things that are not appropriate and are totally uncalled for. Don't kid yourself Bloodbot....Free State has also and will continue doing these things, as well as LHS will continue. The community voted for this...now we all have to live with it.

Take_a_letter_Maria 7 years, 2 months ago

You and cato both appear to be reading only what you want in bllodbot's posts. Yes his first message was directed at the LHS banner, but his second post clearly points out the Free State students can be just as bad.

It does get rather weary seeing the "class warfare" almost being condoned by the administrators at both schools. The reason for the split along 15th was to avoid a rich school/poor school, and it has accomplished that for the most part. It is the students at both schools that push the distinctions that in reality don't exist. There is more class distinction WITHIN each school than there is between the two schools.

I do favor one school over the other when they are competing against each other, but I cheer for both schools otherwise. Last night was, in general, a mild night as far as the rivalry goes. I disagree with the Free State students mobbing the floor, and I didn't stick around for long after the final horn to know if anything more happened beyond that, but there have been games where I've walked away questioning if either school deserved my support with the way the students (and some older folks) acted and the lack of intervention by the administration.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 2 months ago

Number_One_Helicopter_Grandma, you're in the tank for your adopted school north of 15th and always will be. Don't try the bogus tactic of faking neutrality.

Kash_Encarri 7 years, 2 months ago

The only thing you missed Maria was Georgi making some gestures at the student section as he left the court and some clowns in the LHS student section throwing partially full bottles of Gatorade and water at the Free State students who stormed the court.

I don't understand storming the court (or field) deal at any level. I always felt you should act like you've been there already. Maybe if you won state or something big, but for a regular season game? Really?

dagger 7 years, 2 months ago

My son goes to LHS. Students at both school enjoy the rivalry, for the most part neither school takes it to serious when all is said and done. I know there are probably some who take it to far but in the end the kids usually get along. It can go over as fanatic while they are at an event. Students from both schools know and are friends with students from the other. They enjoy giving each other a hard time. I'm sure that isnt true for every student but for the most part I would say it is. I think people who dont have kids in these schools would be surprised that it isnt as much of a hate/hate relationship as it appears.

Take_a_letter_Maria 7 years, 2 months ago

That is true dagger. These kids all hang out with each other and can give each other a good ribbing. The intensity comes from wanting to "beat" your friend and then have bragging rights for a while.

I, like bloodbot, still don't get the rich/poor distinctions that the administrations at each school allow to exist.

Matt Torres 7 years, 2 months ago

Wow, do we really wanna have a childish back and forth about which High School is saying worse things about the other or which one "started it"? Isn't that kind of attitude part of the very problem we're debating here anyway?

Sports rivalries should be "sporting", not deeply personal. Perhaps teachers/parents/whoever need to have a good think about what kind of rhetoric they are encouraging as far as school pride goes.

Clickker 7 years, 2 months ago

Two of the Jr highs are split, so probably 1/2 the kids at both schools went to grade school / Jr high together, are friends, and hang out in the summer together. So alot of it is good natured. However, some of it is getting out of hand, and some kids really are mean spirited here. The Russian doesnt have any friends at LHS, and you could see his attitude as he mocked the crowd after his game winning shot. Even friends get caught up in the mob mentality, aso a little parental/admin guidence would probably be helpful.

rivercitymom 7 years, 2 months ago

He's Bulgarian. And some of the "you can't buy tradition" signs also had this little gem: "But it CAN buy you a 7-foot Bulgarian to play for your team." AND the LHS kids chanted "USA! USA!" everytime he was on the free-throw line. Awesome, let's be mean to the foreign student.

Clickker 7 years, 2 months ago

Well, thats really not that mean. And I think the sign was pretty clever vs. some of the stuff I have seen over the years.

rivercitymom 7 years, 2 months ago

Sure, personal insults against one member of the team are "clever"! The kids! They will behave as we do . . . and here's proof!

sunnmoon 7 years, 2 months ago

Wow. Talk about missing the point. Entirely. If "Money can't buy tradition,but it can but a seven foot bulgarian" is not insulting, what the hell is? My son plays for the frosh team at freestate. He told me about that. Thought it was disgusting. He also thought it apprpo that Georgi hit the game winner. I do too. I think rivalries are great, but where do you draw the line? Apparently it is a 15th street, and that is sad. I really hope freestate can show some class.

rivercitymom 7 years, 2 months ago

Thank you! This really turned my stomach, too. I thought it went WAY too far and I really felt for the kid. He's a KID, just like your kid and my kid. And he's far from home and from what I hear a really nice kids -- and now he's the hero, how appropos, you are correct!

slapjack 7 years, 2 months ago

sunnmoon...well, your hope that free state could show some class did not happen last night, so hope all you want. The student section was rude to visitors and the funny thing is the couple of visitors they were rude to were not even there to watch one team or the other, they just wanted to watch a good game. One of the older gentlemen came up to us after the game and asked us if we had a kid from Free State, which we replied no, why? He was sitting behind the scorers table starting with the JV game, and he was way on the east side of that section. The students came and stood in front of him and his wife, and started piling their crap on top of their coats and when he asked if they would remove their things they told them this was their section. I don't think that is correct, could be wrong. We know each students section is allowed some room, but if you see an older couple sitting on the second row up from the scorers table don't you think you could sit behind them? These two paid their way in just like everyone else. And no they couldn't sit anywhere else, they didn't want to climb any more steps than they had to. The students are Free State are just as rude as the students from LHS are, so your hope was already busted last evening.

hail2oldku 7 years, 2 months ago

Not excusing the rudeness of their response, but I believe that area is the indicated seating area for visiting students. I'm not sure if it is specifically designated that way like other Sunflower league schools do, but it definitely is the customary location and has been going back well before the split.

slapjack 7 years, 2 months ago

No the little area they were in is not a "designated" area for visiting students. The sections to the west of this is for the visitors students. And like I said they were in the 2nd row behind Mrs. Stussie, as far east as you could get. Rude behavior is not OK no matter what from either school. This couple was there to support both teams to begin with. There was no reason to act like they did, and continue to fall on them, and throw their smelly bags and book bags on them..and never was there a sorry or excuse me.

hail2oldku 7 years, 2 months ago

Wow, a little touchy there aren't we slappy?

I never once indicated that rude behavior was ok, in fact just the opposite.

AGAIN, not to excuse anyone's behavior, but it would appear from the pictures that IF the area designated for students from the visiting school is the section to the west of the area you are talking about then the administration at LHS is woefully naive about the amount of seating needed. Several schools in the league have enough kids travel with to watch their teams easily fill that one section behind the visiting team bench. To try and limit your in town rival to that area is laughable. Also, looking at the pictures, it appears therail seperating the student section from the LHS players families is about at the end of the scorers table behind Mrs. Stussie.

I'm sorry that these folks had such a terrible experience. Still trying to figure out how students could be standing in front of them in the second row with Mrs. Stussie sitting in the first.

At any rate, it is unfortunate snapshot of our society as a whole. People used to say excuse me, please and thank you. They used to hold open doors, help push cars stuck in the snow and shovel their walks without the threat of a fine. These kids are just learning what they see, but I can almost guarantee that mine will still say excuse me and hold open doors, etc.

Clickker 7 years, 2 months ago

If your son is a frosh on the FS fb or BB team, certianly you know the line is drawn WAY south of 15th street!!

hail2oldku 7 years, 2 months ago

Plenty of kids living on the "wrong" side of the line going to each school. This brush doesn't stroke in just one direction Kenny.

iquilt 7 years, 2 months ago

LJW Art Student of the Year from LHS 2010. Lives in the Free State district!!!! OMG.

somedude20 7 years, 2 months ago

What is this, the Jets vs the Sharks? Just have a sing-off and be done with it. Gooble gooble!

iquilt 7 years, 2 months ago

Great idea here!!!! Let's combine the two schools back together and create the 'mega' Lawrence school again. We would be 2 1/2 times the size of the smallest 6A school just like old times and we could achieve state dominance again!!! Oh but some of your kids and grand kids wouldn't get to participate because half as many kids would be playing.....but hey, it is about the parents and the grandparents and fans and NOT the kids right??????

BigAl 7 years, 2 months ago

100% Correct. Some of the LHS alum like to talk about their tradition. LHS SHOULD have won all of those football games and championships. They were twice the size of other divisional schools and selected their players from a much larger talent pool. Just imagine combining Free State and LHS again, they would almost be unstoppable. Pretty easy to win championships.

I noticed how the old "tradition" coach "retired" right when the split happened. He too could see the writing on the wall.

Lawrence needed another high school.

cato_the_elder 7 years, 2 months ago

BigAl, you're dead wrong. Dick Purdy coached for two years after LHS was split, and then retired.

Clickker 7 years, 2 months ago

1/2 my friends kids go to FS, 1/2 to LHS ( with some to the privates as well). Everyone just needs to lighten up. The split may have been inequitable, but the reality is we had 10 varsity starters last night, 10 JV starters last night, 10 soph starters last night, and alot of passion. 20 yrs ago we had 5 starters in each division. And most people didnt get too excited about HS BB.

MISTERTibbs 7 years, 2 months ago

Why do you say - "The split may have been inequitable"?

Appears to me that there is plenty of money at each school. Doctors, lawyers, business owners live in both districts. Alvamar and Foxfire - Westwood Hills and Foxchase. Bill Self & Danny Manning - Kevin Pritchard & Jacque Vaughn. Section 8 housing all over the village.

The only real difference I can see is a newer building and a bunch of parents on both sides feeding bigotry (for a lack of better term) and comments like yours only helps fuel it.

Maxandwillie 7 years, 2 months ago

Glad the firebirds won, but the interactions of both student bodies has historically been inapproriate. Hope things improve some day.

nobody123 7 years, 2 months ago

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hail2oldku 7 years, 2 months ago

Reading the stuff on Facebook this morning, the Lawrence High upperclassmen are apologizing to their Free State friends for some bottles of Gatorade being thrown by their younger classmates at the students who stormed the floor. If any of those bottles were open, that would lead to a pretty nasty mess.

Second, I will assume you mean to use the the word blatantly, but WT_ are you talking about?

Finally, I don't know that I'd call it domination, but you gotta hang your hat on something so, continue with that same tune of wait until next year. I look for Lawrence High to have the edge in baseball this year and next and basketball for sure next year. Football is a lot about coaching and getting players to execute so good luck with that one next season. LHS has a better wrestling program in place and their CC is solid. Free State has the swimming and diving, boys and girls soccer, girls basketball.

That's what makes it all fun. Personal attacks like your line about Georgi are what shows how immature you are.

slapjack 7 years, 2 months ago

hail....you are pretty confident about your sports! Man, in this town I would be afraid to make a comment like you just did about baseball and basektball. You never know who might transfer in to the district. Or an injury or two can happen to a kid on the team and not be able to compete. It will be interesting to see if you are correct about baseball and basketball for the next two years!

hail2oldku 7 years, 2 months ago

That's true slapjack. Injuries and transfers do happen (some rather mysteriously) and there is also the chance that kids not playing now change their mind and come out for a team (plenty of talent at both schools focusing on a single sport right now who could be helping another one).

I'll stand by my statement without any additional qualifications though because I like to call it like I see it based on the talent I am able to evaluate. I'd love to see some kids at both schools continue their development on the court and field. If that happens that is something else that would prove me wrong, but THAT would be the best reason for me to be incorrect . So in that case, I hope these young men and women are able to prove me wrong

CHEEZIT 7 years, 2 months ago

My son told me about the "USA" chant. Thought it was pretty funny. I doubt that it hurt the kids feelings plus it seems he's was American enough to taunt the crowd afterwards!!!

slapjack 7 years, 2 months ago

That's exactly what my son said....Georgi was American enough to taunt the crowd afterwords by beating his chest and showing his numbers!

MISTERTibbs 7 years, 2 months ago

Because nobody ever pounds their chest or shows their team (not their number) in Europe.

slapjack 7 years, 2 months ago

not saying that, but if you are going to taunt the crowd you better be able to take the rift back at cha...and not be upset about it.

MISTERTibbs 7 years, 2 months ago

"slapjack (anonymous) replies… Georgi was American enough to taunt the crowd afterwords by beating his chest and showing his numbers! "

Seems like you've got your he said/she said out of order there.

LHSAlum89 7 years, 2 months ago

"Ugly American" as: stereotypical offensive American: a loud, boorish, nationalistic American, who is regarded as conforming to a stereotype that gives Americans a bad reputation. Welcome to America-Georgi! I am sorry about our lack of humanity and understanding. Thanks to the LHS staff who shut down the loud, boorish ranting of the students

dani36921 7 years, 2 months ago

The rivalry is ONLY on the court/field at least with my experience. So many students from the two high schools are friends with one another. As an LHS grad, half of my friends went to Free State. The rivalry only lasts at the game. Yes, it can go too far, be inappropriate, or become an embarrassment (seemly only to the parents or other non-student spectators). But what healthy rivalry isn't at sometimes? Stop treating this like an epic plague that will burn and destroy the path to eternal happiness and peace! Why don't you go worry about our dwindling economy, or destroyed atmosphere, or your uncleared sidewalk!

lhs52 7 years, 2 months ago

I wonder if any of the adults actually realize literally no cares about the rivalry the next day. Also, who cares what the student section said at all? Did the Bulgarian kid get his feelings hurt or something? Stop feeling sorry for the kid, he got a technical for putting his foot literally on the backboard. Also, the reason people think Freestate is rich is because some of the classrooms at LHS have ceiling tiles missing and wires just sticking out of walls.

lions_28 7 years, 2 months ago

I am currently a junior at LHS and what no one seems to realize is that it is about the student and athletes. Parents may get upset about stuf that goes on during the game but what you have to realize is that it is plain and simple a RIVALRY! The reason somepeople object to this is because when they attended high school they didnt have a rilvary like LHS Vs. Free State. Maybe some things get out of hand and maybe even become inappropriate but the fact is that the next day were all friends again I have a lot of friends at FSHS and today I texted more than one of them and we all laughed about it all. The "brutality" of the game lasts for a short while and then we are all united under the same town again. So just calm down everyone. I personally am looking forward to Feb. 25th when I am positive I will see another instant classic between these two teams

jayhawk1125 7 years, 2 months ago

Couldn't agree more. And how could we forget that every player at free state and lawrence high respects each other and played their asses off last night. Isn't THAT what is important? You guys are all getting off point! Great game to everyone!

currentlion3 7 years, 2 months ago

I agree with lions_28. It's a cross town rivalry everybody, get over it. The "USA" chant was in no way meant to be offensive, it was just an easy thing to chant. And by the way he actually flipped us off after the game was over. I'd say that's a bit worse than playfully being patriotic. Things get heated when it comes to FS LHS games that's just the way it is maybe some people shouldn't get so worked up about little things and not take everything personal.

MISTERTibbs 7 years, 2 months ago

And it only took until 10:06 for the obligatory - yeah, well he flipped us off...........

Kash_Encarri 7 years, 2 months ago

Yes. Whether he did it (Ithink he did) or not it was an improper response to improper actions by those on the receiving end of the bird.

BillybobThorten 7 years, 2 months ago

you could see on channel 6 news that he did flip the bird...with both hands. However, that doesnt make it right to throw things.

currentlion3 7 years, 2 months ago

Well everyone was crying about how "bad" we treated the guy with a measly USA chant so I thought it would be appropriate that everyone knew the whole story.

MISTERTibbs 7 years, 2 months ago

As was pointed out above, the flipping off was an improper, and I'll add immature, response to what you all did first. His reaction was bad, but it was a reaction elicited by your (maybe not you personally) prior actions.

unklemonkey 7 years, 2 months ago

An LHS student created a "Deport George Funtarov" group on Facebook. Those of you that have Facebooks and would like to join the many Free State and LHS students who have reported the group as being offensive can follow this link:

hail2oldku 7 years, 2 months ago

KJ Pritchard and quite a few other kids from LHS get it.

The kid that created the page is just an idiot. I love how he started hiding behind the "It's just a joke" when he got called out on it. If it was just a joke, he would have taken it down when his schoolmates told him it was offensive and crossed the line.

Take_a_letter_Maria 7 years, 2 months ago

I just read the page "creator's" profile.

I don't think either school would be too quick to claim this kid as a fan much less an alum.

CurrentLion2 7 years, 2 months ago

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freestater12 7 years, 2 months ago

wait a second... to all LHS'ers.. lets just look at whats important... scroll to the top of this page and look at which school is on who's court. i believe that is freestate storming LHS... AGAIN. case closed.

currentlion3 7 years, 2 months ago

Let's just recall who started the complaining... I believe it was a FS supporter.

MISTERTibbs 7 years, 2 months ago

The person who started complaining was cato. I believe he is a LHS supporter. The original poster was pointing out how crass BOTH schools were being.

MISTERTibbs 7 years, 2 months ago

This just makes you look bad freestater. You'd be better off just keeping quiet.

Groupcreator 7 years, 2 months ago

I made the group on fbook and I feel sorry for everyone who can't see that this is a joke. I am willing to bet money that everyone here has at some point made a joke at someone else's expense, that others have found immature or inappropriate. Don't be the pot calling the kettle black. Also, my profile shows a senior on the LHS drumline, who has a lot of school spirit, and nothing inappropriate there... Many of the classes I have I'm one of the favorite students, I don't understand the comment about why "neither school would be quick to claim this kid as a fan or alum"...

Take_a_letter_Maria 7 years, 2 months ago

There seems to be a lot that you just don't get.

Why don't you ask one of your classmates - there were plenty trying to tell you on your "joke" - to explain it to you in person. Maybe sit down and talk about it over a gatorade.

Groupcreator 7 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, there were some that did not like the group. But also many who did. When I tell a joke I don't expect every kid at my school to laugh.

MISTERTibbs 7 years, 2 months ago

I got news for you mr popular, as someone who was a hiring manager before retirment, there is plenty on your profile that would have you eliminated from even being considered for an interview. Don't believe me, show it to your guidance counselor and ask them if there is anything inappropriate.

If you aren't mature enough to recognize that your "joke" is hate speech, and what a college admissions officer or potential employer might find offensive on your profile then it might be time to consider that those people laughing aren't necessarily laughing with you.

Hayhay11 7 years, 2 months ago

I think you all are too sensitive. It's highschool.

Matt Torres 7 years, 2 months ago

So where's the LJW article about the near-riot that happened at the end of the game? Too shameful to print something about?

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