OLATHE — If there was any one play that could've summed up the Lawrence High boys basketball team's 69-66 loss to Olathe West, it was a sequence in the fourth quarter.
Fighting to get back into the game after trialing by double-figures, Clarence King missed a 3-pointer but fought for the rebound and regained possession for LHS. Zeke Mayo missed a shot but got his own rebound. He missed again but Brett Chapple grabbed the ball.
Chapple put a shot up, which also missed. He grabbed the board and went up again, this time drawing the foul and putting the ball in the hoop. He missed the ensuing free throw, but the Lions rebounded the ball back with another opportunity to cut into the deficit.
They turned it over — and then did it again.
Simply put, they couldn't finish.
"That's a great way to put it. You've got to be able to make plays" Lewis said. "We're the hunted. You know at Lawrence High School, you're going to get everyone's best shot."
Too often, the Lions simply couldn't make theirs.
The Lions shot 6 for 12 at the free-throw line, while their opponent shot 12 for 13.
Trialing 62-61 late in the fourth quarter, Trey Quartlebaum went to the line for a pair of shots and missed both. Van Dave Jacob, who finished with four points, missed all three of his shots at the line.
Yet the Lions still had a chance.
"I don't think our guys didn't want it," said Lewis.
Certainly the effort was there in the second half. Or at least whatever was missing in the first.
While Lewis said he didn't think it was entirely based on hustle or effort, the Lions struggled to defend in the first half.
Midway through the second quarter, trailing 40-24, the Lions had already committed seven turnovers, compared to one by the Owls. Olathe West was shooting 85.7 percent (6 for 7) from 3 and had a freshman — 5-10 Alston Mason — who had torched the LHS defense to the tune of 14 points.
As he did, the home supporters chanted: "He's a freshman."
“We were very, very average defensively, and made them look a lot better than they were,” said Lewis. “In our league, you can’t give up 42 points in a half and expect to win.”
Yet they very well could've.
The effort picked up 10-fold in the second half. LHS took several charges in the third quarter. Savonni Shazor missed a shot and then grabbed an offensive rebound, leading to an and-one by Zeke Mayo.
Jacob scored to cut the deficit to eight. Mayo scored to drop it to six. Shazor goaded his man into a bad shot by clapping at him and then Jacob found King once again to cut the deficit down to four.
“We decided we didn’t want to lose,” said King.
The Lions outscored the Owls 17-9 in the third quarter and began a run that would flip a 49-37 deficit into a 52-51 lead. Shazor, who finished with nine points, made the shot in the fourth quarter to pull the Lions within two. King (20 points) hit a 3-pointer to give the Lions that lead.
The Owls pulled back in front, but Brett Chapple made a basket and was fouled to put his side in front once again.
“I just want to win,” a somber King said after the game. “I don’t want to keep losing.”
Ultimately, though, that was the story.
The Lions, now 7-8 on the year (4-4 in league) ran out of gas and came away with a fifth straight defeat.
They missed shots and free throws while Mason made a pair of baskets and the Owls pushed the lead out to five. The Lions fought to make it a one-score game, but a near half-court heave by King at the buzzer fell short.
"I'm disappointed and frustrated," Lewis said. "We wish we didn't have to do that to tie. That wasn't even to win."
Lawrence High (66)
Anthony Selden 2-3 0-0 4, Brett Chapple 6-10 2-3 14, Trey Quartlebaum 1-4 0-2 3, Jake Rajewski 2-4 0-0 5, Savonni Shazor 4-9 1-1 9, Zeke Mayo 3-8 1-1 7, Clarence King 8-13 2-2 20, Van Dave Jacob 2-4 0-3 4,. Totals 28-55 6-12 66.
Olathe West (69)
Alston Mason 9-13 6-6 28, Cougar Downing 5-13 0-0 13, Jon Jenkins 1-1 0-0 2, Dominic Messina 8-15 5-5 21, Sam Nicodemus 1-4 0-1 2, Austin Hashagen 0-0 0-0 0, Dominic Messina 1-1 1-1 3, Kellen Welsh 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-47 12-13 69.
Lawrence 15 13 17 21 — 66
O-West 20 22 9 18 — 69
Three-point goals: Lawrence 4-18 (King 2, Quartlebaum, Rajewski 1); O-West 7-10 (Mason 4, Downing 3). Fouled out: Quartlebaum. Turnovers: Lawrence 18, O-West 11.