One predicament in particular has dogged Lawrence High’s boys basketball team this season. As great as the Lions might look in one quarter, or a half, they seem to find a way to come back down to earth.
When Lawrence took a 12-point halftime lead into the third quarter at home Tuesday night against Leavenworth, senior guard Jake Mosiman remembered what had plagued the Lions in the past.
“We’re known for kind of slacking in the third quarter,” Mosiman said, “and I really didn’t want to hear coaches complain about that, so I did my best and so did the whole team.”
Mosiman drilled three straight three-point tries in the first three minutes of the second half and scored Lawrence’s first 11 points of the third quarter, sending the Lions to a 63-48 victory.
By the time the third quarter ended, Anthony Bonner, Justin Roberts and John Barbee had joined Mosiman in the scoring column and Lawrence took a commanding 52-32 lead into the fourth quarter.
Though Mosiman’s offense — 24 points, 6-for-12 three-point shooting — proved crucial for Lawrence (9-4, ranked No. 5 in Class 6A), a stellar defensive run for the Lions set the tone in the home win.
The Pioneers (6-7, No. 8 in 5A) misfired on all but one of their first 15 field-goal attempts in the second quarter. In the meantime, Lawrence sophomore guard Bonner scored two baskets and a free throw and both Mosiman and freshman point guard Roberts knocked down three-pointers for the Lions.
“One of the keys going into the game was being tough, mostly tough on defense,” Mosiman said after finishing with eight rebounds and three steals. “I think we did a really good job of that. They were missing their shots, we were getting boards and we were contesting them really well. I don’t think they were used to that.”
Lions coach Mike Lewis and his assistants didn’t have much to critique after the 15-point win, which featured a lot of bench players in the final eight minutes. Though they thought the first half got choppy at times, Lewis said his team played a complete game.
“They had a good feel,” Lewis said. “I really want them to stay focused defensively and I thought after a couple of timeouts when we were clear about our expectations, they came out and dug in and were good there for us.”
Lawrence held the Pioneers to 18-for-50 shooting and Leavenworth had 17 giveaways.
Bonner, who had 12 points and three rebounds while still recovering from a week-long illness and battling a cough, enjoyed seeing his team execute in its first game in 10 days.
“I was a little bit surprised in how well we played, actually,” Bonner admitted.
After Mosiman’s 11-point outburst to open the third, Bonner scored seven of Lawrence’s next nine points.
“That’s the great thing about this team — anyone can go for a spurt,” Bonner said. “It makes it hard for the other team to know who to guard, because any given night anyone could come out and get 20, 15. They don’t know who to expect.”
In the first quarter, junior backup guard Connor Henrichs scored four quick points with a steal and layup followed by a pull-up jumper. Roberts (11 points, four assists, four rebounds) made Lawrence’s first two field goals in the fourth quarter. Junior forward Jacob Seratte provided four points, four rebounds and three blocks off the bench.
At 7 p.m. Friday, Lawrence plays host to Shawnee Mission East, ranked No. 2 in 6A. Bonner said the Lions will need another huge night on defense in that clash.
“They’re a great offensive team, really a great team and they execute really well,” Bonner said. “We need to use our length, get deflections like we did, get them out and run and speed them up. Because if they get us in a half-court game, it’ll be a tough time.”