LHS boys capture Sunflower League title with win over Olathe South
OLATHE — It was evident early that it was going to be a good night for the Lawrence High boys basketball team.
Lawrence banked in three 3-pointers, including a half-court heave, during the first nine minutes of the contest. After that, the game was never in doubt, as the Lions closed out the regular season with a 74-45 road victory over Olathe South Thursday night.
“When you start doing that, you feel a little bit bad,” LHS head coach Mike Lewis said. “You go, ‘Maybe it is our night.”
With the win, LHS claimed the Sunflower League title outright. It marked the program’s first league crown since the 2014-15 season. Prior to that, the Lions hadn’t won the league since the 2001-02 season.
“I told our guys to take advantage of the opportunity,” Lewis said. “When you have the opportunity to win a championship, don’t ever down play it. Embrace it, and go after it.”
Lawrence (17-3, 10-2 Sunflower League) has made the most of such opportunities this season, securing three different titles thus far. LHS won the Blue Valley Shootout before winter break, and then rolled over three opponents to take home the Topeka Invitational Tournament title in January.
After finishing in second place last year, the Lions returned to the top of the Sunflower League standings to claim a third crown. And they did so in dominating fashion.
Lawrence won the last five contests against league foes, all of which were by at least 16 points. Over that span, LHS beat opposing teams by an average of 22.6 points per game.
“It was important, because the ultimate goal is to win championships,” senior Trey Quartlebaum said. “We thought that the whole season, we were confident with our game. That was a legit goal.”
It was apparent early that the Lions had no intention of sharing the Sunflower League title with Olathe North and Shawnee Mission South.
Junior Mayson Quartlebaum banked in a 3-pointer from the right wing, and collected key rebounds early on. Sophomore Zeke Mayo cashed in on a half-court heave at the buzzer of the first quarter, which bounced off the backboard.
Senior Clarence King then opened the second quarter with a triple off the glass from the left wing, and the game was never in doubt after that. It wasn’t long before the Lions led by 20, stretching their advantage to 30 points in the third quarter.
“We set the tone pretty good,” Trey Quartlebaum said. “From the second quarter on, we just took over.”
As a team, Lawrence connected on 12 attempts from long range. Trey Quartlebaum drilled five 3-pointers to finish with a team-high 19 points. King (17 points) and Mayo (13 points) finished in double figures as well.
Junior Willie Dotson netted a pair of 3-pointers, while junior Peyton Mallory hit a late triple as well. Even senior Brett Chapple, who is known for doing the dirty work inside, splashed a 3-pointer from the baseline. Senior center Eric Galbreath threw down a powerful putback in the second half for good measure.
Lawrence is the No 4 seed in the 6A West bracket, and will play host to Wichita South at 6 p.m. Wednesday. LHS would host the sub-state championship with a win, playing the winner Garden City/Liberal on Saturday.
“I’d love to be able to host two, we are guaranteed one,” Lewis said. “Looking forward to Wednesday, Wichita South is a good team. They are going to come up and be ready to compete.”
Zeke Mayo 3-12 6-6 13, Clarence King 5-14 6-8 17, Brett Chapple 2-2 0-1 5, Trey Quartlebaum 6-12 2-2 19, Eric Galbreath 1-2 0-0 2, Mayson Quartlebaum 4-5 0-0 9, Willie Dotson 2-4 0-0 6, Peyton Mallory 1-1 0-0 3, Bryce Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Garrett Hart 0-1 0-0 0, Devin Neal 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 24-55 14-17 74.
OLATHE SOUTH (45)
Brady Johnson 2-8 4-4 9, Kaden Creamer 0-1 0-0 0, Cole Horn 0-0 0-0 0, Kobe McKinley 1-12 6-6 8, Alex Wallace 0-0 0-0 0, Jake English 4-8 0-1 10, Branden Eckles 6-11 5-5 18, D.J. Stubblefield 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 13-43 15-16 45.
Lawrence 18 23 15 18 — 74
Olathe S 12 10 16 7 — 45
3-point goals: LHS 12-26 (Mayo, King, Chapple, T. Quartlebaum 5, M. Quartlebaum, Dotson 2, Mallory); OS 4-15 (Johnson, English 2, Ekles). Turnovers: LHS 6, OS 14. Fouled out: None.