During the last few weeks, Lawrence High junior point guard Trey Quartlebaum said there hasn’t been any change in his preparation.
His teammates are just happy to see that his shots have started to fall. Quartlebaum is averaging 11 points in the last seven games, helping the Lions to a 6-1 record after their midseason five-game losing streak.
Quartlebaum, listed at 6-foot-1, has entered a different role this season. He said he deferred to seniors last year. Now, he’s tried to become a better leader heading into Lawrence’s first round matchup against Blue Valley Northwest in the Class 6A state tournament at 6:30 p.m. today.
“Just getting back to my rhythm,” Quartlebaum said. “I kind of lost my rhythm a little bit from the beginning of the season. Just going back to what my strengths are and just doing whatever I can to help the team win.”
Quartlebaum isn’t a typical vocal leader. He’d rather let his play do the talking. A smooth shooter, he’s made 12 3-pointers in the last seven games.
For parts of the season, the key for Quartlebaum was to hit a few shots. He became frustrated by off nights and it affected other parts of his game.
“Sometimes he gets down on himself a little bit too much,” LHS coach Mike Lewis said. “I think he worries about missed shots too much.”
Beyond his shot, Quartlebaum has improved his ball handling throughout the season after watching teams try to apply full-court pressure against the Lions.
“I feel like he’s doing his job,” senior forward Anthony Selden said. “Whatever he’s been doing in these last few games — when he needs to score, he scores. When he needs to rebound, he rebounds.”
The son of a college coach — Kansas director of student-athlete development Fred Quartlebaum — Quartlebaum said he’s lived in six or seven different states. He’s learned that there’s different styles of basketball depending on the area and tried to incorporate a little bit of each into his own game.
Quartlebaum feels like he has an advanced awareness of reading defenses and situational basketball. Plus, he has some similarities in his personality to his current head coach.
“We aren’t extroverts and we aren’t necessarily going to show our emotions as much,” Lewis said. “But we both really care about our team.”
With some experience playing at the state tournament, Quartlebaum is hopeful that he can continue his strong play from the end of the season. And he's confident that he's starting to grow as a leader on the team.
“He’s starting to see how his leadership and his maturity can really pay off,” Lewis said.