High School Sports

High School Sports

Seniors key for FSHS boys basketball

Free State senior Brett Frantz (15) drives to the lane against Topeka Seaman on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at FSHS.

Free State senior Brett Frantz (15) drives to the lane against Topeka Seaman on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011 at FSHS.

January 2, 2012


With senior status comes great responsibility.

At least that is how things work in the Free State High boys basketball program.

The Firebirds (2-3) boast five seniors in their top five — guards Cameron Dabney, Brett Frantz, Shawn Knighton and Tyler Self, and forward Gabe Patterson. Coach Chuck Law said it will be up to that group to determine how the rest of the FSHS season plays out.

“Every team is only as good as its seniors, and we do rely heavily on those guys,” Law said.

Both Frantz and Knighton played extensively as juniors, while Dabney and Self gave Free State good minutes off the bench last year.

Patterson, meanwhile, played for the Firebirds’ junior varsity team as a junior.

Law said those five players have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders, and it has been challenging to have a team whose most experienced players aren’t necessarily accustomed to being in that role.

“The leadership side of it is something that is certainly a work in progress,” Law said. “Leaders … they’re not made.”

Knighton said the seniors feel like this is their team now, and Law has made it clear they need to step up and do their jobs. The 5-foot-9 point guard said they have been charged with guiding the younger players — such as juniors Kyle McFarland, Logan Bannister and Wilson Hack, and sophomores Blake Winslow, Joe Dineen and Reshawn Caro — and showing them what Free State basketball is about.

In the spotlight of a game, Knighton added, the seniors have all had their moments, but two have stood out.

“Cameron and Brett,” Knighton said, “have been stepping up.”

Frantz said adjusting to an increased role hasn’t always been easy, and he and the rest of the seniors know if they don’t live up to Law’s expectations, they will be held accountable.

“We need to set the tone,” Frantz said, “and if not, coach will find the people that are willing to come in and bring energy and get us going.”

The senior who has most impressed Law has been Patterson, whom the coach called a pleasant surprise.

“Gabe’s on board with what we’re trying to do,” he said of the 6-foot-3 forward.

Even though a strained hip flexor kept Patterson out of Free State’s overtime loss to Lawrence and has limited what the big man can do in practices since then, Law praised Patterson for refusing to “wallow in self pity” because he is hurt.

“He’s really made a commitment to becoming a better player,” the coach said, “and it’s a shame that he’s dinged up right now.”

Patterson likely will be out a few weeks, Law said, but should be ready in time for the McPherson Invitational, which begins Jan. 19.

The coach said Patterson is a great example of someone who paid his dues, while fellow classmates played at a level above him the past two seasons.

During the winter break, Law has been meeting one-on-one with every FSHS player. For the seniors, he has a distinct message: “They’ve got to practice better. They’ve got to bring it every day.

“It’s their team,” Law said. “There’s 15 games left in their regular season — careers for some of them.”

The Firebirds’ season resumes at 7 p.m. Tuesday, with a home game against Shawnee Mission South.


rabbit 6 years, 3 months ago

The Senior should have been ready to take over and lead the team at the start of the season. Just another example of poor coaching.

bballwizard 6 years, 3 months ago

this team has two good players. Frantz and Dabney. They are 6'1" and 6'. They have no size and as you will see Tuesday night they just can't compete. Coach Law has no help from the Jrs oir Underclass man. Law does a good job with what he has. The kids play hard and smart but in the end talent over rules energy and effort almost every time. If they make jumpshots they will ber in a lot of games. This team will have a hard time getting to 6 wins and next year is worse. Cupboards are bare.

bornon7 6 years, 3 months ago

bball....you really think Law does a good job with what he has?! He always blames the boys, never his coaching. He never owns up to bad coaching decisions. He has always blamed the boys. Does MIke Hill AD, want to continue to have a losing bball team so his baseball team always shines? What do you think, Wizard?

bballwizard 6 years, 3 months ago

You are right. All you have to look at is his record and you can say that he has not done a good job. But really he does not have any talent or depth on this team this year. Hes go 5 legimate Varisty Kansas HS bball players. Frantz, Dabney, Knighton, McFarland and Patterson and I might be streching it with the last three. Everybody else is too young, too small and just not a Varsity bball player. Coach did a good job against LHS because he gave the ball to Dabney and Frantz but even then he let the Reshawn shoot three 3s, sure he was open but let Dabney or Frantz drive it and get fouled. that was poor coaching becasue Reshawn has to know that as 10th grader that is not his shot. Next year but not in the cross town rivlary game when its a one point game. So I am suprised after Reshawn missed the first one he shot two more misses. That is Coaching. Anyway the next 4 games are going to be a test of the character of the team because they are playing 4 of the better teams they will play all year. it starts Tuesday with Blue valley West who has two 6'6" kids and three 6'4" kids. FSHS tallest kid is 6'1" so unless they make a bunch of shots it will be a blow out. This season could be a 4 to 6 win season and Coach Law unless he is related to Mike Hill will probably be fired. I just hope he does not promote Larsen or Matthew or Hoophauf (?) None of those guys can coach a lick.

Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years, 3 months ago

Patterson could be a hell of a player - if he cared at all. Dabney is lazy at times but has had some good games already this year. Tyler probably hit his ceiling last year. Shawn makes it look like Tyshawn makes good decisions all of the time. Brett is playing above his head right now. They need McFarland to be able to step it up since he's about the only other real size on the team.

pell 6 years, 3 months ago

A lot of BS. Law does not care about seniors or the kids. It is all about him.

Clickker 6 years, 3 months ago

Gotta be grooming them for the future. FS has a bunch of underclassmen and they are being led by strong senior leaders like Tyler. The kids really look up to his winning attitude and unselfish behavior. They will be OK in the future.

producer 6 years, 3 months ago

FS basketball is a mess. FS is the third best High School team in the city. The best players that should be at FS are at Seabury and LHS. There are 2 kids over 6-5 playing at Seabury that transferred from FS (not to mention Lane at 6-4). The player from Europe had to transfer because of a federal law - but the other kid was cut by Law as a Sophomore despite having a 6-7 brother that was good enough to get a Division II scholarship despite being misused by Law. Combine that with the fact that some other players with size quit because Law doesn't know how to post players and I don't think you can't use lack of size as an excuse. Bottom line - I think change at FS would be good. I think Law only knows how to coach one way and that doesn't cut it in a town like Lawrence with two other options.

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