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Prep Appraisals — Lawrence High Boys vs. Wichita Northwest
If the rest of the Topeka Invitational lives up to the standard set in the tournament's opening game, it's going to be a wild weekend.
Lawrence High's boys knocked off Wichita Northwest, 57-56, with a controversial game-winning shot by junior Shane Willoughby.
With a 3:15 afternoon tip, the atmosphere in the gym was on par with a library early on, complete with timeouts so quiet you could hear message alerts on people's mobile devices going off.
But by the end of the game — thanks to a steady barrage of second-half three-pointers by the Lions — everyone was on the edge of their seats when Logan Henrichs drilled a game-tying three and Willoughby sank his buzzer-beater in the last 15 seconds.
LHS senior KJ Pritchard, who led the team with 21 points, said it was a memorable, fun game to be a part of.
"You live for the last 10 seconds of a game when it's close," said Pritchard, who passed the ball to Henrichs and Willoughby for their clutch shots.
Of course, with a great game such as this one, there were plenty of contributions from everyone. Let's check out the rankings for Lawrence's first-round win.
1. KJ Pritchard, sr. — Pritchard was pretty incredible in the second half and big throughout the game. He got a couple of shots to fall early, then scored 14 points in the final 16 minutes, with nine of them coming via the three ball in the third quarter. The best part about his 4-for-9 performance from long range was that he wasn't forcing shots.
2. Logan Henrichs, sr. — The multi-talented guard really kept LHS in the game in the second quarter, when he tipped in a basket on an offensive rebound, hit a pair of free throws and finished a good-looking reverse layup in transition. Henrichs rarely wavered and finished with 14 points. And with no Bryce Montes de Oca, Henrichs often occupied the paint in Lawrence's 2-3 zone, which was fairly effective versus WNW.
3. Troy Willoughby, sr. — It's hard not to like the boost the elder Willoughby brought off the bench. Any time Troy caught a glimpse of a driving lane, he attacked it and the result was either a layup, a foul or both. His 11 points off the bench were crucial in the nail-biter of a win. Plus, with just over a minute to go and Lawrence down three, he drew an offensive foul.
4. Anthony Buffalomeat, sr. — "Buff" played a complimentary role and didn't look for his offense, finishing with just two points on one shot attempt, but he vacuumed up rebounds better than anyone for the Lions, finishing with eight.
5. Shane Willoughby, jr. — Shane will remember this day for a long time after hitting THE shot of the game. What made the dramatic jumper even more impressive was that he was 0-for-3 from the floor up to that point. Killer confidence.
6. Jake Mosiman, jr. — As usual, Mosiman took smart shots. He was able to score on a drive after grabbing a long offensive rebound in the first quarter, then hit one of the Lions' five threes in the third. He finished with five points and just had some good-looking attempts rim out.
7. Tyrone Jenkins, jr. — A couple of strong rebounds were helpful off the bench, and Jenkins found Troy for an open three-pointer in the first quarter that got him going.
Lawrence record: 6-4
Next up: 8:30 p.m. Friday, Topeka, at Highland Park.
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