High School Sports

High School Sports

Free State boys fall behind early, lose 61-49

Free State forward Kyle McFarland (30) tries to save the ball from going out of bounds against Blue Valley West Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012 at FSHS.

Free State forward Kyle McFarland (30) tries to save the ball from going out of bounds against Blue Valley West Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012 at FSHS.

January 4, 2012


Box score

BVW 12 10 18 21 — 61

FSHS 6 10 10 23 — 49

BVW (61)

Colin Wiles 1-5 7-10 9, Tripp Roy 3-6 2-2 11, Ryan Ralston 3-5 1-2 9, Conley Wilkins 5-10 6-7 16, Joey Lillis 3-10 2-2 8, Brett McMakin 1-2 4-8 6, Chris Birzer 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 17-39 22-31 61.

FSHS (49)

Brett Frantz 4-11 2-2 11, Tyler Self 0-1 2-3 2, Reshawn Caro 1-3 0-2 2, Kyle McFarland 2-8 5-6 10, Logan Bannister 0-0 0-0 0, Blake Winslow 2-3 0-0 4, Cole Moreano 1-4 0-0 3, Joe Dineen 0-1 4-4 4, Cameron Dabney 1-7 9-11 11, Shawn Knighton 1-2 0-1 2. Totals 12-40 22-29 49.

Three-point goals: BVW 5-11 (Roy 3, Ralston 2); FSHS 3-13 (Frantz, McFarland). Fouled out: BVW (Birzer); FSHS (McFarland, Dineen). Turnovers: BVW 17, FSHS 17.

The winter break didn’t help Free State High’s boys basketball team shake a recurring problem.

As has been the case in other losses this season, the Firebirds played up to coach Chuck Law’s standards for parts of Tuesday night’s home game against Blue Valley West. However, lapses cost FSHS in a 61-49 setback that extended its losing streak to four games.

Playing for the first time since Dec. 16, Free State (2-4) kept within striking distance of the Jaguars (6-0) until about midway through the third quarter. With a 9-2 run highlighted by a steal and one-handed jam by BVW senior forward Brett McMakin, the visitors took control.

While that stretch gave the Jaguars separation, Law lamented his team’s inability to do more damage earlier in the game. Free State was dismal in the first quarter, hitting just one of its 11 field-goal attempts and shot 5-for-22 in the first half — senior guard Brett Frantz hit three of those shots, while junior Kyle McFarland and senior Cameron Dabney accounted for the other two baskets.

The Firebirds finished the game shooting 12-for-40 from the floor (30 percent). Law said some of that was West’s stellar man-to-man defense and some of it was Free State missing shots it usually makes.

“Everybody tends to focus on what happens in the last few minutes of the game or whatever,” Law said. “We had plenty of opportunities in the first half to either have that thing tied or maybe even have a lead in the first half.”

Instead, FSHS trailed 22-16 at the break. McFarland, who scored 10 points, said it was not the pace the Firebirds prefer to play.

“They were just running their offense, doing what they like to do — kind of slowing it down,” the junior forward said. “And we like to get up and down the court, so they kind of controlled the game.”

McFarland, Frantz (11 points) and Dabney (11 points off the bench) all scored in double figures, and Law thought Free State played well for roughly 24 minutes in the game, but the coach said BVW exploited the Firebirds at other times.

“They’re a team that you have to do everything right against,” Law said. “When you let your guard down, they’re gonna do what they do exceptionally well.”

Blue Valley West entered the fourth quarter with a 40-26 lead, and Free State chipped away at its deficit by drawing fouls, stopping the clock and getting to the foul line.

McFarland said the Firebirds were doing anything they could to try and mount a comeback instead of focusing on the negative.

“The only thing we could do was make it closer,” he said.

By connecting on 16 of its first 18 free throws in the fourth, FSHS didn’t allow BVW to extend its lead further, but it ultimately didn’t make a difference in the loss as the Firebirds also committed a number of fouls late while going for steals in the final minutes. The teams combined to shoot 44 free throws in the last eight minutes.

By the time Firebirds sophomore Cole Moreano hit a three-pointer and fellow soph Reshawn Caro scored on an offensive rebound, Free State cut the deficit to 58-49. But there were only 49 seconds left in the game at that point.

Law said comebacks are hard to come by against the Jaguars.

“They’re a team you absolutely can’t play from behind against,” the coach said.

Neither Dabney nor Shawn Knighton started the game for Free State. Law said they were held out — Dabney entered the game in the second quarter, Knighton in the third — because of missing practices during the break.

At 7 p.m. Friday, FSHS plays host to Olathe East for its Sunflower League opener.


bballwizard 6 years ago

Okay so its safe to say he has issues with cameron and shawn. Dabney just scored 24 so let's sit em. They totally could have won this game burt I guess Lesson learned is Coach Law is totally in charge.

Clickker 6 years ago

Amen. They should have sat more for missing practice imo.

Jayhawk_4_Life 6 years ago

uhh that didn't make any sense...bv west was the better team, period. bigger guys, and much better defense

bornon7 6 years ago

I think what bball is saying is that it doesn't matter if Law wins or not. He is instilling in his players that if you don't practice, you don't play. If Dabney played more, he may have scored more. Knighton just runs around and scares the other team, but he's good at rattling them that way. Patterson still hurt?

Shelley Bock 6 years ago

It isn't like this hasn't happened before at Free State.

Coach Hershiser held out three girl starters for the entire season opening game in the 2000-2001 season because each had missed practice during the Thanskgiving break. Two were at a soccer tournament in Dallas and the other was visiting prospective universities back East. Each player returned and started every subsequent game for the rest of the season. The two soccer players played in college and the other player made All American in two sports other than basketball.

Hershiser made no exceptions for missing practices even if sanctioned by the parents and they were along with the players. His rule was set in stone. It could have been a bit more tolerant, but it was clear.

If these players were at a family function, it would should have been tolerated. On the other hand, if the players forgot about practice or simply decided not to go or didn't think they needed to practice, they shouldn't have gotten into the game.

MISTERTibbs 6 years ago

"Neither Dabney nor Shawn Knighton started the game for Free State. Law said they were held out — Dabney entered the game in the second quarter, Knighton in the third — because of missing practices during the break."

Ahhhh, senior leadership - http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/jan/02/seniors-key-fshs-boys-basketball/?high_school_sports

producer 6 years 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.

KsUfan001 6 years ago

It sounds to me like a few of you are making an argument that would mean you should still get payed even though you don't show up for work. Supplementing the lack of leadership is the fact that this team just does not have the talent that most of the Sunflower League does. If you can coach a team with little leadership and talent than maybe you should apply for the job. It's obvious that this team can compete because of their close loss to LHS, but it's a process. Anyone that thinks Law should be fired doesn't know basketball or the meaning of team/hard work.

bballwizard 6 years ago

I know all about team work and hard work. I also know about fairness and doing the right thing. I would gladly coach this team and our record would be a lot better than it is now. There are 5 kids that I know who played on FSHS when they were 10th and 11th graders but did not even try out when they were Seniors this year. They are better than the 10th graders he keeps trotting out there and they would help the chemistry on the team. Bottom line is those kids hated playing basketball for law and his asst coaches so they would rather not play than play for him. This is a constant theme that has gone on for years now. The Bonners have a talented son that they transfered to LHS. He plays Junior Varsity and some Varisty as a 9th grader. His older brother played for Law and the Boners will not let their son play for him. Tell me why that is?

bornon7 6 years ago

I heard that a coach's son missed practices in the past, but that was excused....because well, of who he is. I heard he still plays and starts when others are more deserving. Is that true or just jealousy?

Take_a_letter_Maria 6 years ago

You had me right up until "One of the best basketball minds in town is Coach Frantz". Had two kids play for him, and play quite a bit, but he's not all that and a bag of chips either.

Clickker 6 years ago

Snacky didnt always make the right decisions, but after what happened to him, I dont blame big Seb for moving his younger kid to LHS. He wouldnt be playing much at FS as there is more of an emphisis on grooming the current Soph class.

Shelley Bock 6 years ago

What I don't understand is why players won't play for a specific coach. If they enjoy the game, then the coach shouldn't make a difference. These players only have one high school experience; there aren't and "do-overs" for playing time. No coach will sit someone on the bench if that player truly has the ability to make a difference on the court, field, pitch, diamond or wherever.Coaches like to win and they will play those who can get it done, if they're around.

I played for coaches I liked and disliked. My children had similar experiences. If you like the game, the coach maybe a nuisance, but not a roadblock.

MISTERTibbs 6 years ago

They are teenage boys Hepburn. Many of them don't think beyond what they want for lunch.

Shelley Bock 6 years ago

Mister Tibbs, you've got a point. I hadn't thought about that gender difference. My kids were both girls. Both are headstrong so no one was going to mess with the games they enjoyed, so long as they still enjoyed them. They'd move away from a sport if they didn't enjoy it anymore, not because of a coach.

KUbballfan_101 6 years ago

This season is going to be hard for the free state boys. They lost a lot of talent and leadership from the seniors last year (Evan Manning, Austin Hoag, Eric Watson, Alec Heline). The coach has nothing to do with it. He is asking his players to do the same as the players in the past have done. They are perfectly capable of doing so if they buy in to what Coach Law has to say.

bballwizard 6 years ago

Last years team did nothing except beat LHS twice. Coach Law plays favourites. He's does nort play the kids who will help them win. He's grooming 10th graders who's main sport is football?? That is another example of he's clueless

KUbballfan_101 6 years ago

Last years team was the best team that been through free state in a long time. Last years team would have done something but their best player got injured at the end of the season but that is besides the point. He plays kids that produce. It is as simple as that. If you don't have any productivity there is no reason to play them. He does not play favorites. He plays the kids who believe in what he is trying to do. He has been around long enough to know how to win games.

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