FSHS boys erase early deficit in 41-39 win over Olathe Northwest

Junior DK Middleton watches over the lane in a game at Olathe Northwest, January 11.

OLATHE — For the second game in a row, Free State boys basketball coach Sam Stroh found himself relying on one of his top shooters to make a late-game free throw and secure a come-from-behind win.

With the Firebirds up by 1 against Olathe Northwest with under two minutes to go, freshman Mozae Downing was at the line in desperate need of 2 points to give his team a 3-point cushion heading into the final minute of the game.

Downing missed the first end of the one-and-one, but the Firebirds still found a way to hold on in an eventual 41-39 victory Friday night. On the final play of the game, Andrew Piper blocked a shot from Olathe Northwest’s Sam Suprnaut, and then a 3-point attempt by Christian Carlstedt rolled out of basket.

“We’re kind of in these situations a lot,” Stroh said. “No excuses, but we found a way to get a win on the road in league. Our defense found a way to get it done, but offensively we still have some things to work on. We made enough (free throws) for it to count, but we’ll keep working on it.”

FSHS (5-1, 4-1 Sunflower League) has now won two games in a row.

The Firebirds were down at the half, but FSHS junior DK Middleton scored 6 points in transition over the course of three consecutive possessions, and Free State took a 4-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Middleton finished with a team-leading 12 points, while senior Noah Butler joined him in double figures with 10.

Piper didn’t miss a basket on three shots to score 8 points, while also dominating the defensive glass for clutch rebounds and a final-minute block. The Firebirds’ defense held the Ravens to a season-low 39 points.

Free State will play host to Blue Valley West at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Free State (41)

DK Middleton 5-11 1-1 12, Noah Butler 3-7 4-8 10, Andrew Piper 3-3 2-2 8, Mozae Downing 2-5 1-3 6, Ethan Lincoln 2-4 0-1 5, Ryan Stacey 0-1 0-0 0, Alyus Wisdom 0-1 0-0 0, Jaxson Webb 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-32 8-15 41.

Olathe Northwest (39)

Sam Suprnaut 6-11 2-3 15, Chase Franks 2-4 0-0 6, Dee Goree 2-4 0-0 6, John Lindsey 2-5 0-0 6, Chris Martinez 1-7 0-0 3, Christian Carlstedt 1-7 0-0 3, Zaid Dajani 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 14-43 2-3 39.

Free State 11 10 11 9 – 41

Olathe Northwest 15 4 9 11 – 39

3-point goals: Free State 3-12 (Downing, Middleton, Lincoln); Northwest 9-24 (Franks 2, Goree 2, Lindsey 2, Martinez, Carlstedt, Supranaut). Turnovers: Free State 6, Northwest 10. Fouled out: None.

Strong start not enough for FSHS girls

Even though they trailed at the end of the first half, everything seemed to be going the Firebirds’ way early on against Olathe Northwest.

But although they had outscored every opponent in the second half leading up to Friday, Free State ultimately couldn’t close things out, losing 69-62.

“We celebrated the fact that we took a lead in the first quarter,” FSHS coach Ted Juneau said. “We got into a bit of foul trouble and they came back on us a little bit. We gave up a couple of shots and missed a couple of rotations that we were doing well earlier.”

In the first quarter, Free State (2-6, 0-4 Sunflower League) limited the Ravens’ league-leading scorer, Sarah Beth Gueldner, to 5 points, and FSHS senior Sam Lawrence made five early 3-pointers.

But the Ravens managed to pull away, in part because of their 11 made free throws in the second half.

Coach Ted Juneau talks to sophomore guard Shannon Clarke during a timeout in a game at Olathe Northwest, January 11.

FSHS sophomore Evy Harrell was once again given the task of guarding the opposing team’s best player. Before foul trouble forced her to the bench, Harrell had forced Guelder to miss two baskets in the first quarter. But Gueldner kept scoring for the Ravens, eventually finishing with a game-high 30 points on 16 shots.

Lawrence and sophomore Shannon Clarke led Free State’s offense. Lawrence had 20 with a game-high six 3-pointers, and Clarke had 21 on 9-of-19 shooting. Haley Hippe scored 14 points with seven jumpers, while Caely Kesten scored 7 points on 10 shots.

“I was working a lot this week and I was like ‘go out there and shoot it,'” Lawrence said. “I was letting the girls drive it and if they kicked it out to me, I was ready to shoot it.”

Despite the setback, Juneau was optimistic that his team was improving.

“I told them that I really believe that they are close to being a very, very good team,” Juneau said. “They just have to continue to work hard; all the pieces are there.”

Free State will play host to Gardner Edgerton at 7 p.m. Friday.

Free State (62)

Shannon Clarke 9-19 1-4 21, Sam Lawrence 7-11 0-0 20, Caely Kesten 3-10 0-1 7, Haley Hippe 7-11 0-0 14, Evy Harrell 0-0 0-0 0, Joy Nunoo 0-0 0-0 0, Lilliana Keathley 0-0 0-0 0, Hope Wheeler-Halstead. Totals 26-51 1-5 62.

Olathe Northwest (69)

Sarah Beth Gueldner 9-16 7-7 30, Mary Reiber 3-6 2-4 9, Liz Thomas 3-4 0-0 9, Erika Boeh 3-4 2-4 9, Riley Wade 2-6 2-2 7, Ashley Cass 2-2 1-2 5, Holey McCormick 0-1 0-0 0, Joan Reiber 0-1 0-0 0, Holly McCormick 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 22-42 14-19 69.

Free State 20 14 15 13 – 62

Olathe Northwest 15 20 19 15 – 69

3-point goals: Free State 9-17 (Lawrence 6, Clarke 2, Kesten); Northwest 11-23 (Gueldner 5, Thomas 3, Rieber, Boeh, Wade). Turnovers: Free State 5, Northwest 4. Fouled out: Harrell (1:31).


Welcome to the new LJWorld.com. Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.