Preps notebook: After 9 consecutive wins, Kaws ready for crucial rematch with Jefferson West
photo by: Contributed photo
It was the second loss that did the trick for the Perry-Lecompton boys basketball team.
The Kaws dropped two of their first four games to start the season, including a 56-51 defeat against rival Jefferson West on Dec. 11. Since that loss, Perry-Lecompton has won nine consecutive games, all of which have been by double digits.
“From that moment on, they started to buy into the things we were talking about in practice,” Perry-Lecompton head coach Jared Swafford said. “Since then, we have been on a pretty good run.”
The Kaws (11-2) will put their win streak to the test against the very team that handed them their last defeat. PLHS will travel to Jefferson West at 7 p.m. Tuesday, in a game that has huge league implications.
But Perry-Lecompton, which was recently ranked No. 10 in Class 3A via the coaches poll, is not the same team it was when it dropped a home decision a little over six weeks ago. The Kaws have since beat Sabetha (No. 9 in 3A) by a 54-42 margin on Jan. 11, and rolled over most of their opponents.
It is because Swafford’s squad is playing as a cohesive unit, embracing their defined roles for the good of the team. A trio of players are averaging in double figures, including a team-high 14.9 points per game from senior Colton Mallonee. Junior Blake Farmer is producing 14.1 points per contest, while senior Connor Anderson is scoring 11.2 points per outing.
“Early on, even though we had some experience, roles have changed,” Swafford said. “We lost our top-two scorers, and two primary ball handlers. I think it just took this group a little bit of time to realize what their new roles were.”
The team has bought in, and that was never more evident than during the Oskaloosa tournament.
Perry-Lecompton secured three wins in four days to claim a midseason tournament title. The Kaws began the event with a 66-35 route of Jefferson County North in the opening round. PLHS then took down Rossville by a 65-34 margin before knocking off Cornerstone in the championship with a 61-51 win.
“We learned quite a bit,” Swafford said. “Our first couple of games, we were able to get out to big leads early. We continued to press that lead, and not have letdowns, which is a sign of a good team.”
After a dominating run through the field, Perry-Lecompton had three players recognized on the all-tournament team. Senior point guard Conner Morgison was named to the all-tournament team along with Farmer and Mallonee.
“Conner Morgison got recognized, which we were really excited to see as coaches,” Swafford said. “He may not be averaging 20 points per game, but he’s averaging three steals per game. He’s averaging almost three assists. He is doing the little things, and he’s been huge for us.”
But that’s exactly what makes this team poised for an impressive encore to last year’s stellar campaign. The Kaws lost four letterwinners, including two starters, from a team that went 20-4 a year ago and made it the state tournament for the first time in 35 years.
This season, every player has embraced this run-and-gun style of play. PLHS thrives in transition and playing pressure basketball on the defensive end. And it needs every player in order to succeed in this system.
Sophomores Parker Stone and Dawson Williams along with senior Colton Ketron have provided valuable minutes for the Kaws this season, and will be essential if the team hopes to continue this remarkable winning streak.
“Although we like to get the ball inside, we are starting to run our secondary break better,” Swafford said. “We are starting to push the ball ahead when it is there, but also realizing we don’t have to force anything. That has been a difference maker for us.”
KBCA polls updated
For the time this season, Perry-Lecompton cracked the coaches poll when it was updated Monday afternoon. The Kaws are now ranked No. 10 in Class 3A, according the latest poll via the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association.
Four other area boys basketball teams remain ranked in the latest poll. Lawrence High, which has won 10 consecutive games since dropping the season opener, fell from No. 2 to No. 3 in Class 6A. Free State is No. 8 in Class 6A.
Eudora, meanwhile, dropped two spots down to No. 9 in Class 4A. Bishop Seabury is No. 3 in Class 2A. On the girls side, both Baldwin and Eudora maintained their spots in Class 4A. The Bulldogs are listed No. 4, while the Cardinals are No. 10.
LHS girls defeat Olathe West
The Lawrence High girls bowling team swept the top three spots to take down Olathe West by a score of 2,113-1,829 Monday afternoon.
Emilie Rodman led the way with a series score of 617, claiming first place on the individual leaderboard. Ashley Dykes placed second with a 503, while Lana Chieu claimed third with a 475.
On the boys side, LHS lost by a score of 2,328-2,149 to Olathe West. Lorenzo Dan posted the best for the Lions, rolling a series score of 563.
Lawrence will compete in a triangular with Shawnee Mission East and Shawnee Mission West at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at College Lanes.
LHS at Olathe West dual
At Mission Bowl ‘N Olathe
Varsity girls: LHS 2113; OW 1829
Emilie Rodman: 258=191-168=617; Ashley Dykes: 176-167-161=504; Lana Chieu: 155-151-169=475; Skyler Scrivner: 134-192-135=461; Alexis Foster: 190-138-124=452; Jojo Blackwood: 124-146-131=401
Varsity boys: OW 2328; LHS 2149
Lorenzo Dan: 202-181-180=563; Andrew Flynn: 180-172-205=557; Jayden Cress: 161-174-188=523; Josh King: 155-134-157=446; Sebastian Daniel: 215-89-137=441; Joey Thurman: 122-132-112=366