LHS boys claim 2nd tournament title with 69-58 win over Topeka High
photo by: Carter Gaskins
By Lawrence High’s lofty standards, Saturday’s game was a grind-it-out victory.
Through the early part of the season, the Lions’ high-octane offense has made scoring look effortless. In its third game in as many days, though, LHS had to work for every single bucket during a 69-58 win over Topeka High in the championship game of the Topeka Invitational Tournament at Topeka West.
“We will take the win however we can get it,” LHS coach Mike Lewis said. “It was a little bit of a grind, it was just a different feel than the previous two games. I thought our guys played hard, especially with being a little bit tired.”
The win clinched the program’s first Topeka Invitational Tournament title since the 2015-16 season.
More than that, though, it was a fitting bookend to a dominating tournament run by the Lions. LHS won all three games by double digits, including the last two games against ranked foes, to secure its second tournament title of the season.
In the semifinals, Lawrence (9-1, No. 3 in 6A) trounced Wichita Southeast (No. 2 in 6A) by a 72-46 margin. LHS then never trailed en route to its 11-point victory over Topeka High (9-2, No. 8 in 6A) less than 20 hours later.
“We like to be tested, because we like to know where we are at and how much better we can be,” senior Trey Quartlebaum said.
Sophomore Zeke Mayo gifted Lawrence the lead on the game’s first possession, as he drained a triple from the left wing. A few minutes later, Mayo was credited with an assist on a basket by senior Brett Chapple via a designed set.
That was the theme of the first half for the Lions, who were more methodical and ran more plays to use up the clock.
After clinging to a 23-20 lead at the intermission, Lawrence created some cushion with another huge third quarter. Senior Clarence King, who paced the team with 27 points, scored the first 7 points of the second half. Quartlebaum then flushed a transition dunk off of his own steal to force Topeka High to call a timeout.
The Lions increased their lead to double digits with a 25-point effort in the third quarter. It marked the team’s fourth consecutive game of scoring at least 25 points in the third period.
“We did what we needed to do to finish it off today,” Lewis said. “We played a little tired and a little emotional, but we did what we needed to do to win. It could have been a little bit cleaner, but all in all, I’m proud of our guys.”
The Trojans trimmed the deficit to single digits with a brief run to start the final quarter, but the Lions never wavered. They made enough plays down the stretch, including a powerful driving dunk by King at the 5:58 mark, to remove any doubt about the outcome.
Lawrence has now won nine games in a row, eight of which have been by double digits. Over its nine-game winning streak, which includes a title in the Blue Valley Shootout, LHS has beat opponents by an average of 19 points per game.
“We have been playing a lot of good teams early in the season,” Quartlebaum said. “So when state does come, we will be familiar with the teams and we will know what to expect.”
Lawrence will face Free State at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse.
Zeke Mayo 3-11 2-2 9; Clarence King 8-17 9-11 27; Brett Chapple 4-6 0-0 8; Trey Quartlebaum 6-10 2-2 16; Eric Galbreath 0-1 2-2 2; Mayson Quartlebaum 1-5 0-0 2; Willie Dotson 1-2 0-0 3; Bryant Graham 0-1 0-0 0; Bryce Johnson 0-1 2-2 2; Totals: 23-54 17-19 69.
Topeka High (58)
Ky Thomas 2-10 1-1 5; De’Vonshai Harden 7-174-6 18; King Sutton 4-15 4-7 13; Carlos Esquibel 2-9 0-0 5; Kee’Andre Smith 2-3 0-0 5; Isiah Esquibel 0-2 0-0 0; Jalen McMurray 1-1 0-0 3; Grant Cooney 1-1 0-1 2; Jalen Smith 3-4 1-1 7. Totals: 15-31 7-10 58.
Lawrence 15 8 25 21 — 69
Topeka 8 12 15 23 — 58
Three-point goals: Lawrence 6-18 (Mayo, King 2, T. Quartlebaum 2, Dotson); Topeka 4-17 Sutton, C. Esquibel, Smith, McMurray). Turnovers: Lawrence 12; Topeka 11. Fouled out: None.