Olathe An old basketball adage warns, Live by the three, die by the three.
Lawrence High’s boys basketball team didn’t let that hoops axiom impact it Friday night, though. LHS thrived from long range at Olathe East, burying seven of 13 attempts from long range in a 51-41 victory over the No. 6 team in Class 6A.
Though Lawrence took its time on offense as it got used to O-East’s 3-2 zone in the first quarter, LHS had it deciphered by the second quarter. That’s when LHS couldn’t be stopped in the half court and hit seven of its nine shot attempts, including five three-pointers.
Lions coach Mike Lewis said it was probably the team’s best offensive quarter of the season, especially from long distance.
“Most high school teams and about all basketball teams, you start hitting some threes, and everybody feels good,” Lewis said, adding the hot stretch gave his team confidence and momentum.
Though the second quarter began with Bryce Montes de Oca hitting a jump hook in the lane and Jake Mosiman draining a pretty fade-away jumper off the dribble, the Lions’ next five buckets came from long range.
Troy Willoughby found Mosiman at the top of the key for the first trey. Next, Logan Henrichs kicked the ball to KJ Pritchard for another bomb. Mosiman hit his second trifecta from the left wing to put LHS up 17-12 with less than three minutes to go in the half.
Pritchard later set up Henrichs for a three with 1:32 left in the second, and the Lions’ long-range dominance continued on the final possession of the half. Henrichs, who controlled a deflected pass from Anthony Buffalomeat, put up a rainbow three-pointer that caught nothing but net as time expired and gave the Lions a 23-14 advantage at the break.
Mosiman marveled about the team’s catching fire in the second quarter after a methodical first eight minutes, when O-East (12-6) held a 6-4 lead.
“I looked up in the first quarter with two minutes left and it’s 2-2,” said Mosiman, who scored 13 points off the bench.
After that slow first quarter, Buffalomeat said, Lewis instructed the Lions (11-7) to be patient and open up passing lanes on offense.
“People were driving and just kicking it out for three,” the senior said
With that technique clicking marvelously, LHS connected on five straight three-pointers in the second.
Said Mosiman of the second-quarter barrage: “It gave us tons of momentum. Logan’s buzzer-beater at halftime was awesome. Luck was with us.”
Adding to Lawrence’s run was its play on the defensive end.
The Hawks were stuck on 14 points from the final couple of minutes of the second quarter until the 4:26 mark in the third. By that point, LHS held a 30-15 advantage.
Things improved significantly for O-East once Caelan Neal made a lay-up with 3:30 left in the third to end a nearly seven-minute stretch of no field goals for the home team. The Hawks gained an edge with their trapping half-court defense down the stretch and pulled within five points at the midway point of the fourth quarter.
Said Lewis: “The pace of it was frantic. We played really bad there for a few possessions. We gave it right to them, or they deflected it.”
Fortunately for Lawrence, Buffalomeat carried the scoring load in the second half, when he contributed all of his game-high 16 points.
Mosiman praised the senior.
“He stepped up big-time,” Mosiman, a junior, said. “Without him, I don’t know if we would’ve won.”
Henrichs became the third Lion to reach double-figure points in the win with a steal and a lay-up in the final minute. The senior guard finished with 10 points, five boards and four assists, passing out three of those in the fourth quarter in the midst of the Hawks’ final push.
At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Lawrence will play at Shawnee Mission North.