High School Sports

High School Sports

Ashland ends Seabury’s state dream

Bishop Seabury's Jesse May shows his disappointment after a first-round Class 1A state tournament game on Wednesday, March 7, 2012, in Emporia.

Bishop Seabury's Jesse May shows his disappointment after a first-round Class 1A state tournament game on Wednesday, March 7, 2012, in Emporia.

March 8, 2012


— Seabury Academy’s boys basketball team arrived at White Auditorium Friday afternoon with visions of three wins and a Class 1A Division I state championship.

At the state tournament, though, every team has the same three-day agenda. With a 51-50 first-round defeat of the Seahawks, top-seeded Ashland remained undefeated and kept its dream season alive.

Seabury (13-11) and its three multi-talented, long and athletic swingmen — senior Georgi Funtarov, sophomore Khadre Lane and senior Thomas Diaz — couldn’t overcome the Blue Jays’ senior trio of Jay Luerman (19 points, 11 rebounds), Giles Fox (14 points) and Chance Stebens (11 points).

While Funtarov led all scorers with 22 points and made a game-best four three-pointers, the Ashland seniors stole the show in the second half. Seabury had built an 11-point lead in the third quarter when Luerman, Fox and Stebens, who don’t know what it feels like to lose as seniors, decided they weren’t interested in experiencing defeat for the first time this season.

Ashland (24-0) benefited from Luerman’s ability to slash to the paint, Fox’s brute strength inside and Stebens’ ability to hit key second-half three-pointers.

“The better basketball team won it,” Seahawks coach Ashley Battles said. “The team with better players, with guys that’ll move on and do probably bigger, better things didn’t win. But those were really good basketball players — small, western Kansas kids that were willing to do whatever it took.”

Seabury had its chances late. After Seahawks senior guard Garrett Gillett hit two free throws with 1:50 remaining, AHS led 50-45.

Ashland had a turnover, and Stebens missed the front end of a one-and-one in the following minute. Then, on one possession, the Seahawks missed three straight shots, grabbing the offensive rebound each time, before Lane finally converted inside and drew a foul with 44 seconds left. AHS led 50-47 after Lane missed his free throw.

Forced to foul, the Seahawks put Luerman at the line, and he missed his bonus try with 40 seconds on the clock.

Following a timeout by Battles, Ashland denied Funtarov a touch, and senior forward Jesse May hoisted a three-pointer from the left wing that fell short.

Leurman went back to the foul line and left the door open for Seabury once more, missing his only attempt of a one-and-one opportunity.

Lane grabbed the defensive board and went the length of the floor, looking for contact on a layup. The off-balance attempt was off the mark, though, and Fox grabbed the rebound. He finally sealed the victory for AHS with a free throw at the six-second mark.

Funtarov drilled his fourth three-pointer of the afternoon just before time expired, but it left Seabury one point shy.

The 6-foot-7 forward from Bulgaria said the Seahawks knew Ashland’s strengths coming into state, but they had trouble stopping them in the second half. With the excitement of the Blue Jays’ third-quarter run, the No. 1 seed had all the momentum.

A three-pointer by Lane, who finished with 11 points and eight rebounds, put Seabury up 39-28 in the third quarter. However, Ashland scored the next 16 points, with scores from Chance Stebens, Fox, Luerman and Austin Stebens.

The run included two free throws for Austin with 1:44 left in the third. That’s when Battles was called for a technical foul after Lane had gone up for a lay-up, appeared to draw contact, and no foul was called.

A bucket inside by May (nine points) in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter put an end to a decisive Seabury drought.

Lane said the Seahawks failed to execute in the second half of their season-ending loss, and that fueled Ashland’s game-changing run.

“You kind of have to expect it,” Lane said of the Blue Jays’ comeback. “They’re 23-0 for a reason. They’re not gonna just fold.”

The Seahawks made just eight of their 23 second-half shot attempts (35 percent), while AHS went 10-for-19 (53 percent).

“I think they just took advantage of our bad decisions,” he said, noting his team lacked patience on the offensive end. “As a team, from the coach all the way down through the players, it was just bad decision after bad decision.”

Added Lane: “We were taking bad shots and shots weren’t falling.”

Still, Battles said he was proud of his guys for the season they had, and they will have to learn from the loss and move on.

“People villainize us because we do have some players,” he said. “At the end of the day, man, these are great kids.”

— Check out Benton Smith's "Prep Appraisals" from the game at The Dividing Line.


Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 3 months ago

You won't want to read this if you're a Seabury player, parent, or fan, but you should. To what unsporting length will you go to try to beat a little cowboy town out in western Kansas? How in the world can you call Seabury a 1A team?

This parochialism is going to destroy small town basketball. Do you think that Ashland can drawn kids in from Bulgaria? Or from an area of 100,000? Little towns like Ashland have a great team like this once very 25 years or so, and you load up on foreign kids to try to win. You really ought to stop this, play bigger schools in the state tournament, and give small towns their due.

Way to go Bluejays! I played baseball, football, and basketball against the Fox and Stebbens fathers.

Linda Aikins 6 years, 3 months ago

Small world! I babysat their fathers and mothers! This group has almost been to state in football and basketball for the last few years. They would make it to the semis. But the same kids won state golf at least the last three years. And Hanston is now with Jetmore. Can you believe that? What is your hometown, if you don't mind saying?

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 3 months ago

I certainly don't mind. Greensburg, or the New Greensburg. But that was 33 years ago.

seahawks06 6 years, 3 months ago

you really want to know how we can call seabury a 1-a team??? how about you look at the enrollment numbers because there in lies your answer! As far as the the kid from bulgaria he went to free state last year on a one year student visa that only allowed him one year at a public high school so he had to choose a private school to graduate from otherwise he would have to go back to bulgaria!! it is funny to read people make comments without gathering the facts first

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 3 months ago

Gathering facts is hardly the point. If you want to destroy 1A and 2A basketball, then go ahead and pull in players from all over the world. Ashland, KS is a real 1A town, not sitting in a region of nearly 100,000.

How about those facts?

seahawks06 6 years, 3 months ago

pull in players from all over the world?? are you serious right now,we have two international kids on the team and one was only here for a year because he had to pick a private school! i will let you in on a little secret most private schools are filled with international students we just happen to have two that excel at basketball,that is 2 out of i would say probably 10-15. while it is true that we sit in town of 100,000 not all those kids have the financial means to attend a private school, NONE of the kids at seabury get a full ride! private schools will continue to "recruit" students and give them the opportunity to what they love whether it be sports or the arts or just academics,if we are lucky enough to get gifted athletes then awesome but our school's goal is to promote education over athletics. just be happy that your team won but don't kick these kids while they are down it is not fair to them.

diggumpops 6 years, 3 months ago

Very good points. If Lawrence has learned anything from the Free State transfer is that international students coming to the United States cannot go to a public school for more than one year. Seabury has a large, diverse group of kids from Asia, Europe and South America.

nativeson 6 years, 3 months ago

Just for the record, Funtarov is an international transfer that could only attend a public school for one academic year. He chose to stay in the states and had to transfer to a private high school if he wished to continue playing basketball. The Class system in Kansas is solely based on enrollment. Certainly, private schools have the opportunity to exploit the ability to recruit. Given the standards at Seabury, I do not believe this is the case.

kujayhawk 6 years, 3 months ago

If it was up to Funtarov, he'd still be at FSHS. Something is really off with this Seabury team, a ton of talent for 1A, yet they can't seem to do anything with it.

Clickker 6 years, 3 months ago

The missed free throws are just mind boggling. Practice. Practice

slider88 6 years, 3 months ago

Let's just say it upfront to all the BSA naysayers.....you were right. Hope you feel better from you enlightened perspective. End of day these were young men that have worked hard to obtain something. Respect these players no matter what the circumstances are that brought them to Seabury. The pain of a season ended is no different whether 1a or 6a. These boys are solid young men and are just trying to enjoy their high school experience. All levels of schools have their pluses and minuses.
Be a big enough person to recognize these players for the people they are and the effort they put forth. BSA coach pretty well summed it up as to their downfall, just leave it at that. Job well done Seahawks!

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 3 months ago

Yes, these kids worked hard, and I'm sure they're all good kids, coaches, etc, but you're deliberately trying to change the subject from the question of fairness, and I’m not going to let you do it. Fairness is the only point I'm making. It’s not enough that they’re “good kids.” So are Ashland’s.

Ashland, Kansas is smaller than KU's campus. The kids who play there have worked just as hard at a state berth, but unlike Seabury, are at the mercy of the kids who live in their community.

If you want to destroy 1A-2A basketball, then recruit those not quite good enough to play 5A and 6A, add a few kids from Europe and beat the heck out of teams like Dighton, Spearville, and Hoxie. Where's the glory in that?

My team didn't win a state championship, which I'll always regret, but at least we got beat by a real Kansas 1A school, Hanston. Many of you didn't even know these towns existed! The activities association, to their discredit, has ignored this issue for decades.

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 3 months ago

Way to be a crybaby and come to the wrong conclusion. How about thinking about what it would be like to play small town basketball in the state of Kansas for 12 years just to find out that at the end of the road was a team with an international player and city kids not quite good enough for 5A 6A?

I don't really have a problem with the kids. It's the high school activities association that I have a beef with that sits on their hands and does nothing.

Indiana and Pennsylvania already have separated public and parochial schools in state championship competition. That should have happen decades ago.

slider88 6 years, 3 months ago

Then take it up with KSHAA. Unless you know the facts of each young mans specific circumstance. Find a different forum to be heard.

cheerio 6 years, 3 months ago

You know what? Life isn't fair. There will always be those with more talent/money/advantages/etc. Stop complaining about it and 1) Do something to change it or 2) Step up and face the challenge. What are we teaching kids if we try and make everything fair for them?

Vaildini 6 years, 3 months ago

They did do something about it. They won.

cheerio 6 years, 3 months ago

Exactly. A lot of the people complaining on here can learn from them.

diggumpops 6 years, 3 months ago

I am a proud Seabury parent.
I believe you are missing the point. Judging by the bigger schools that Seabury played during the season I would imagine they would have gladly played in any division you put them in. Also, Seabury is a "real Kansas 1A school" just like your school, Hanston, Ashland and all the other's that you mentioned. The only difference being that Seabury is in the process of becoming an attractive option for the kids who are left without a chance to compete at the other options in Lawrence. The only reason many Lawrence families have chose the public schools over Seabury is because Seabury's athletics have been more on par with recreation league than they should have been. The culture is changing and Seabury should gain steam as it's athletics continue to become better and better. I would also suggest that Ashland proved that small towns have a pretty fair advantage of familiarity that a school in the building stages of Seabury doesn't have. The great news for small town folks like yourself is that Ashland won so all of this is a moot point. From what I heard they laced their shoes up just like our kids did and they earned a victory.

smallschooldude 6 years, 3 months ago

I cannot agree with jkilgore more. Seabury seems to be recruiting players and yet they cannot even win a State 1A Championship against schools that come from communities of 1000 people or less. Even if they won the championship, what are they teaching their students? BSA played larger schools all year long and yet were going to brag about winning the 1A championship. Recruiting, scholarships for a $10K tuition, and such have no place in 1A basketball. Go play the private Catholic schools in Kansas City if you these are your ethics!!

jhawk456 6 years, 3 months ago

Seems to be recruiting players? Is there any evidence that's actually happening?

6 years, 3 months ago

Actually, yes. Several area coaches have complained to KSHSAA about Battles trying to recruit their players away from their respective schools. Interested to see what happens from here. And I don't say that to take away from the kids on the team. I have no doubt that they work very hard.

diggumpops 6 years, 3 months ago

That wasn't evidence. And by "several area coaches" do you mean Chuck Law and/or Mike Lewis? I know several Free State basketball players have shadowed at Seabury, but if you have read any of the comments following Free State articles I think you would find that not many people are happy with that situation.

bman 6 years, 3 months ago

Ashland is a community of 600 people, 800 if you count the dogs and cats. This senior class has been special in all sports and scholastics. Congratulations to them and their parents and fans.

oleballcoach05 6 years, 3 months ago

Let me state that I have no ties to either Bishop Seabury nor Ashland. But BSA has no control over which class they compete in. That is determined by KSHSAA(Kansas State High School Activities Association) based on school enrollment. So don't bash BSA for playing who the state requires them to play.

As for private school recruiting, I'm sure that happens on some level. But BSA isn't the only one that falls under that category. There are private schools in all classes, Bishop Carrol(Wichita), Hutchinson Christian(Hutchinson), Bishop Miege(Shawnee), St. James(Overland Park), that have an enrollment advantage because they don't have boundaries like a public school. So if you want to make the argument that private schools should have their own state championship, then I'll listen.

Congrats to BSA on a great season and best of luck to Ashland in their pursuit of a state championship.

Vaildini 6 years, 3 months ago

My point a few days ago. We are not saying recruiting is right but it happens at every school in Lawrence to some degree. Most of the time schools are smart enough to have a parent who talks to you first and says," our school would certainly love to have you and would probably pay for it". That's if it is a private school. It happens all over and is not something that is unique to Seabury. They are good kids who work hard so in the name of "fairness" attack the right forum to get your problems handled. Now, why there record is what it is and why they couldn't win the 1A state championship with the line up they have is a much bigger question for this forum. We were handed an article before the game about how the 8 man rotation was going to be such a big factor and I never saw that at the game.

pbireta 6 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations on a great season Seabury. Good luck to Ashland the rest of the tournament.

Jeff Kilgore 6 years, 3 months ago

I hope that it's understood that I don't dislike or feel angry toward the Seabury kids, parents, etc. If you played ball in a 1A town, you'd understand.

I have no hard feelings for the Seabury kids, schools, anything. I wish them the best of luck. My real problem is with the state's athletic association for this potential mismatch to be allowed.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations to BSA for a good year. Just for the record, yes private schools can recruit students. There is nothing wrong with that since they do not have to follow the same rules as the public schools. [KSHSAA http://www.kshsaa.org/]. The private schools should have their own state tournaments and let the public school teams, limited by who lives there, play in their tournament. Again, good job and a fine season, no matter where the players come from.

goob 6 years, 3 months ago

Please show where a private school exemption exists. I can find it nowhere in the handbook.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 3 months ago

Good point. Public schools cannot 'recruit' students or move them around. For example, a kid couldn't switch from LHS to Freestate unless their parent/s moved to the new attendance area. Otherwise, they are ineligible for 18 weeks (semester.) There is an appeal process, but the intent is to prevent 'recruiting' athletes, musicians, etc. If a kid quits LHS and transfers to BSA, for example, they will probably be eligible immediately. Foreign recruiting is also big. Find rich parents in Costa Rica, for example, offer then a chance to attend a Catholic school in Kansas, fly them in and suit them up. It's probably not that big a deal overall, but the private religious schools have won more than their share of state championships over the years. Private schools are a good choice for some parents and they can pay large tuitions. Their academic results are not much different from the public schools, (discrimination can be an advantage) but their athletic teams can be dominating if they get the right kids. The KSHSAA rules are complex.

lawrence267 6 years, 3 months ago

If a student transfer from a public school to Seabury without moving school districts, they are ineligible for 18 weeks, just like any other KSHSAA school. The only exception is if the former school signs a waiver allowing the kid to play immediately.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 3 months ago

Thanks. If the kid's not too good, and the former school won't have to play the new school, the odds of getting a waiver increase.

tolawdjk 6 years, 3 months ago

The Denver area is experiencing a bit of this "private vs public" problem as well, except on a much larger school scale. Theoretically there are rules in place to prevent "recruiting" but it still happens, even to the point of "discounted tuition" as you can't give scholarships.

Several leagues here have even gone so far as to vote to kick the private schools out, forcing them to have ballooning travel budgets for out of state games.

skittles 6 years, 3 months ago

Some states have private schools play up a classification.

A local school or not...this seems like a lot of attention for a small school and the 10-12 kids on the team. Hope to see the same coverage when LHS goes to state in baseball or Free State girls go to state in soccer this spring.

lawrence267 6 years, 3 months ago

If they're the only local team left playing, they probably will

tolawdjk 6 years, 3 months ago

Lighten up, Francis.

A lot of attention? There was an article that said they were in. There was an article that said they lost. Not sure how that qualifies as "a lot" or why it should matter if the school is large or small.

"Local team makes state tourney" is pretty standard Americana no matter where you are.

not_that_crazy 6 years, 3 months ago

There were actually three acticles before/about the game, and a photo gallery. I don't think LJW barely covered when LHS went to state in soccer this spring, let alone sent a photographer.

tolawdjk 6 years, 3 months ago

My only rebuttal is "Soccer isn't Americana." :)

Linda Aikins 6 years, 3 months ago

I am from Hanston, Ashland, and Lawrence! The game was played fairly and Ashland won. They are now 24-0 which is very impressive! And the win is even sweeter if BSA is recruiting, don't you think?

It is your time Bluejays and I will be there to see it through! Awesome comeback and win!

seahawks06 6 years, 3 months ago

i have been reading all these comments all week and finally can not stop myself from chiming in. As a former seabury student and graduate i would just like to say that i did not excel at sports nor did i have "rich" parents, i went because seabury offers financial aid for their students and flexible payment options. do not hate on the school or the kids without some concrete evidence of recruiting because until there is it is all speculation. i am proud to say i am a seahawk and proud of our school for where we were to where they are now.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 3 months ago

+1, Good for you. "Be true to your school......."

Paul R Getto 6 years, 3 months ago

Good points and part of the sad reality of rural Kansas. When the school goes away, it usually hurts the town too. We must save rural America, or at least what we can. Most people are used to eating regularly. If private ownership of the breadbasket and the great plains goes away, large, possibly foreign interests will pick up the slack, import machinery and labor and take over the process. Believe me, it won't get any cheaper when that happens. They may even decide to ship the food overseas instead of selling in locally.

Lawrence_Kansas 6 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations to the Seabury Men's basketball team. What I'm puzzled over is the quote Seabury's coach gave following the game, “The team with better players, with guys that’ll move on and do probably bigger, better things didn’t win." This is true Seabury has two if not three players with division one potential, and Funatrov dominated the 6A level last year, putting a decent but by no means great Free State team on his back. Pretty much it just baffles me how this team did not win more games than it did especially at the 1A class they were playing in. Those schools that they played more than likely would not have had the size to guard the 6'7" Funtarov or the 6'4" Lane, so I don't see how these two didn't dominate more games and lead this team farther into the post season, give credit to Ashland also though they showed up, played hard, and got the W.

user84 6 years, 3 months ago

I've said it before - the reason they didn't do as well as expected is their coaching. I have seen a few games and I have never seen a coach bi&^h and moan about calls as much as Battles does. Technical from the bench in a state game against the #1 seed in 1A - good coaches don't do that. I read thru all of the posts here and I have to agree with the majority in that let the 1A schools compete. The majority of these kids grew up their entire lives in the same town - worked and played with the same kids and look forward to good things in their ports career. When you get public schools recruiting and competing against these smaller schools - it is not fair! I know that the number of kids determines which class a school plays - but I think the KSHSAA needs to reconsider this and put the private schools in their own category and let them recruit away!

diggumpops 6 years, 3 months ago

user84 is a Waverly fan with sour grapes. The irony of your comment is that while Waverly had a good team, they weren't well prepared at all. Seabury was a step ahead of them the entire game.

Beaver_at_heart 6 years, 3 months ago

In a town with 3 choices for secondary education, 3 choices for athletic teams, etc., there is going to be movement or migration between schools. Anyone who thinks that FSHS and LHS don't recruit and/or influence where athletes have addresses (compared to 15th street) is not realistic. Seabury has been providing the public schools athletes since its inception, and public school coaches have recruited or influenced movement between each other and from Seabury. Kids are fickle and "the grass is greener" gets the better of them. Three choices means that another 40 boys basketball athletes get the opportunity to play for real instead of hanging out at Holcomb after being cut.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 3 months ago

+1 Good points. The more kids involved in athletics and other school activities the better.

Mclovin69 6 years, 3 months ago

Haters are just going to hate. Everyone is upset because thier team didnt make it as far as seabury did. Great season seahawks, best team i have seen in a long time.

he_who_knows_all 6 years, 3 months ago

This sounds like a saying of one of the twins.

Vaildini 6 years, 3 months ago

so the best team you've seen in a long time is 13-13 ball club that lost in the first round of the 1A state tourn. hahaha you should watch more BBall. If you are a true Seabury fan and watch them play you have seen plenty of better teams.

wbalmung 6 years, 3 months ago

That lost in the first round of the 1A tournament. To the #1 seed in the state. By one point. I'm failing to see your point... Oh, and they finished 13-11. Not 13-13.

diggumpops 6 years, 3 months ago

In reality, they were 15-8. Beat 4A Bishop Ward & Paola and they didn't play their starters against Hyman Brand. Two losses to St. James Academy, and losses to Shawnee Mission North, Blue Valley, Harmon, KC Washington, Wichita Word of Life, and Ashland. I think they had all players available & healthy for one St James Academy game, Wichita Word of Life and Ashland. LHS was the best team in the city - then Seabury.

Steve Jacob 6 years, 3 months ago

One issue is KSHAA does not factor schedule very well in any sports. How often have you seen western Kansas teams with great records get better seeds then NE Kansas teams they play the best teams all season? And no way they can play 20 1A division games because that would be way to much traveling out west.

But all things considered, I bet heads will roll over this loss.

goob 6 years, 3 months ago

How many western KS teams have you watched? Go to www.KSHSAA.org and look up state champs. If they are playing nobody why are these teams winning so many championships? What do you count as a tougher schedule? Bigger schools? Better records? What's the criteria for this so called tougher schedule?

Linda Aikins 6 years, 3 months ago

In case anyone is still reading, Ashland won the tournament.

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