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LHS, FSHS girls take center stage for sub-state showdown

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Wednesday night the Lawrence High boys were fortunate enough to move on while the Free State boys saw their season come to an end.

Tonight, it's guaranteed that the girls will encounter the same fate, it's just not known yet which team will be on the winning side and which team will be finished for the season.

Girls sub-state basketball opens play tonight at Free State High, as the No. 4 Firebirds (11-9) play host to the No. 5 seed Lions (9-11) in a rematch of the city showdown that took place last Friday night.

The Firebirds won that one — in come-from-behind fashion — outscoring LHS 23-9 in the final quarter and turning a nine-point deficit after three quarters of play into a five-point victory.

The victory assured the Firebirds of a winning season, earned them homecourt advantage for tonight's rematch and gave them confidence against the Lions, who had won the last two meetings against FSHS prior to Friday night.

But did the win do something else, something much more dangerous? Perhaps. It's no secret that the loss — on Senior Night, no less — angered the Lions, who open the postseason as the defending Class 6A state champions.

Whether that anger will lead to an LHS victory in tonight's rubber match or simply lead to more frustration for the red and black remains to be seen. But it's entirely possible that it could go either way.

By nature, the 4-5 matchup is a toss up. It's typically played between two decent teams separated by a game or two in the standings. Both teams also typically pose a legitimate threat to the top seeds. All three notions are accurate in this one, and the winner will advance to Saturday's sub-state championship game with a berth in the state tournament on the line.

The stakes don't get any bigger than this. Neither do city showdowns. It's win or go home tonight at Free State, and for the third time this season it's the Free State High post players (Chantay Caron, Ashli Hill and Ashleigh Allam) against the Lawrence High guards (Taylor Bird, Haley Parker, Cassie Potter and Jasmyn Turner).

Which style will win out? There's no telling. The combined score of the previous two meetings is 84-81 in favor of the Firebirds.

Look for this one to be decided by one possession as well.

Check back with The Dividing Line on Friday and Saturday for a pre-game look at the boys and girls sub-state championship games.

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