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LJWorld.com weblogs The Dividing Line

Tait's Take: LHS boys vs. Highland Park

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One of the more popular features of our Kansas University sports site, KUSports.com, is “The Keegan Ratings,” in which Journal-World Sports Editor Tom Keegan ranks the Jayhawks’ performances in both football and basketball after every game he attends. The individual rankings provide a great starting point for discussion and debate about the game that was in KU Sports.

With that in mind, the Journal-World would like to introduce “Tait’s Take,” a similar ranking system for the local high school games that High School Sports Editor Matt Tait attends each week. Because we can’t be in two places at once — or even three for that matter — this will not be a comprehensive look at athletes at both Lawrence High and Free State over the course of any given season. However, it will provide you with a deeper look at the most recent game and will give Tait an opportunity to include those tidbits about certain players that may not have made it into his story about the game.

This feature will fly fast and furious throughout the football, basketball and baseball seasons. So stop by often. If you can’t find a game you’re interested in, click on The Dividing Line archives and search for it. Chances are it will be there.

Here’s the latest edition of Tait’s Take, which looks back at the top players from Saturday’s 68-50 loss by the Lawrence High boys basketball team to Highland Park in the title game of the Topeka Invitational.

1. K.J. Pritchard, soph. — Great night all the way around. Aggressive on both offense and defense and sparked by the fact that his shots were falling, including 5 of 9 from three-point land.

2. Marcus Ray, sr. — Missed a couple of easy ones but hit the boards hard, was solid at the free throw line and finished with 14 points and 5 rebounds. Emerging as the leader this team needs him to be.

3. Michael McCabe, sr. — Held down the point guard duties well by dishing four assists and hitting 2 of 4 shots. Still played a little too sped up at times, which led to three turnovers, but poured heart and soul into every possession.

4. Garrett Wagner, jr. — Limited but huge minutes helped calm the Lions down and gave them a bit of an inside presence they so desperately need. Hit the only shot he attempted — on a strong post move — and drained a 2 of 2 free throws.

5. Anthony Buffalomeat, soph. — Only points came from the free throw line (0-of-5 from the floor on the night) but still provided the Lions with a strong presence on both ends of the floor. Despite the off night, Buffalomeat was aggressive in attacking the basket and he appears to be a lot more comfortable doing so.

6. Drake DeBiasse, sr. — Hit a big three-pointer and helped the Lions maintain their poise after the ugly, early 15-1 run by Highland Park. DeBiasse added two assists and a steal in his minutes.

7. Logan Henrichs, soph. — Overmatched physically but that didn’t stop him from mixing it up. His shots were not falling but he took good shots. Didn’t happen often but a couple of his mistakes can be creditted to a lack of experience, something that’s slowly becoming less of a deal each time out.

8. Jake Johnson, jr. — Played as hard and strong as he can but was in over his head a little with Highland Park’s athletic big men.

9. Steven Melton, sr. — Two rebounds and two points in limited minutes. One three-pointer he attempted looked good the whole way but rimmed out.

10. Matt Montes de Oca, sr. — Second rough night in a row for Montes de Oca. LHS’s most skilled offensive big man needs to get back to playing by feel instead of thinking so much on the floor.

Lawrence High record: 3-8
Next up: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at Olathe North

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