WRITER: Shane Jackson

Preps notebook: Area athletes post standout performances in January

Area athletes got off to a strong start in 2019, posting stellar individual performances in January. It is a privilege to cover high school sports in Lawrence, because there is never a shortage of spectacular athletes in the area. Just look at how many basketballs teams are ranked in the latest poll by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association. On the boys side, Lawrence (No. 3 in Class 6A), Free State (No. 8 ...

Area basketball roundup: Bishop Seabury boys bounce back with convincing win

One night after a hard-fought loss, the Bishop Seabury boys basketball team bounced back in a big way with a 74-19 win over Northland Christian Tuesday night. The Seahawks, who dropped a 52-47 decision to Maur Hill (No. 1 in Class 3A) Monday night, were in control from the start. Bishop Seabury jumped out to a 27-2 advantage by the end of the first quarter, increasing its lead to 47-5 by the ...

Ballot breakdown: No. 11 Kansas receives lowest ranking of season

After a two-week hiatus, the ballot breakdown blog is back. And at the right time. For the first time all season, the Kansas men’s basketball team was not in the top-10 in the latest AP poll, which was released Monday afternoon. The Jayhawks were listed at No. 11 following their loss to Kentucky in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge this past weekend. KU is in unfamiliar territory in this week’s poll, though the sky ...

Quick recap: No. 11 Kansas suffers 73-63 defeat at Texas

The streak is over. Not KU’s streak of Big 12 regular-season titles, of course, as that remains intact for the moment. But Kansas’ dominating run against Texas came to an end Tuesday night in Frank Erwin Center. The Longhorns led for all but nine seconds of their 73-63 win over the Jayhawks. Kansas had won the previous 10 meetings with Texas, including an 80-78 victory on Jan. 14 in Allen Fieldhouse. It ...

Preps notebook: After 9 consecutive wins, Kaws ready for crucial rematch with Jefferson West

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 ...

Preps notebook: FSHS wrestling notches runner-up finish at Junction City Invitational

Free State’s wrestling team continues to have a stellar season this winter. The Firebirds came away with another high finish in a loaded tournament, claiming second place at the Junction City Invitational this past weekend. FSHS scored 180 points, finishing just 1 point shy of the champion Kapaun Mt. Carmel. Another balanced effort led Free State to its runner-up finish, as eight different wrestlers recorded ...

Quick recap: Kansas falls to Kentucky in SEC/Big 12 Challenge

The battle of blue blood programs lived up to the billing. No. 9 Kansas and No. 8 Kentucky traded punches during a gritty, slugfest in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge Saturday afternoon. In the end, though, the Wildcats delivered the decisive blows in the second half to secure a 71-63 victory over the Jayhawks in Rupp Arena. The win by Kentucky (16-3) snapped a three-game skid against Kansas (16-4) in the series ...

Lions drop season-high 92 points to notch 10th consecutive win

After a sluggish opening quarter, it was business as usual for the Lawrence High boys basketball team. LHS had not played an actual game in nearly a week, as two of its games were postponed this week due to weather. It also disrupted Lawrence’s practice routine, and the rust was evident during a back-and-forth opening period with Wyandotte. The Lions then scored 28 points in the second quarter en route to a ...

Free State girls dominate opening round of Firebirds Winter Classic

Before a second even ticked off the clock, the Free State girls basketball team faced a deficit on the scoreboard. Junior guard Caely Kesten grabbed the wrong jersey, which gifted Hutchinson a trip to the free-throw line at the start of the game. The Salthawks hit one of the two freebies, and then netted a bucket on the game’s first possession to take a 3-0 advantage within 13 seconds. The Firebirds ...

Marcus Garrett's recent offensive success due to his growth as a finisher

Entering the season, Kansas fans probably would have scoffed at the notion of sophomore Marcus Garrett getting an offensive play called for him in the final minutes of a Big 12 contest. But that’s exactly what happened during KU’s 80-76 win over Iowa State Monday night in Allen Fieldhouse. With 1:17 left in the game, freshman point guard Devon Dotson passed the ball to Garrett on the left wing. Dotson ...

Quick recap: Kansas avoids season sweep with 80-76 win over Iowa State

Kansas flipped the script in the second half to secure another Big Monday victory. After suffering a 17-point loss to Iowa State just a few weeks ago, KU got its revenge with a 80-76 victory Monday night in Allen Fieldhouse. Since the 2013-14 season, the Jayhawks (16-3, 5-2 Big 12) are 37-3 following a loss. With the loss, ISU (14-5, 4-3) dropped from a four-way tie for first place in the Big 12. KU has won ...

Preps notebook: Five takeaways from midseason basketball tournament week

Midseason basketball tournament week is one of my favorite times of the year. It is a chance to see a ton of basketball, and watch squads grow in the process. This past week was no different, as a number of area teams were in action during their respective midseason basketball tournaments. The Lawrence High boys basketball team rolled through the Topeka Invitational Tournament, capturing its first title in the ...

LHS boys claim 2nd tournament title with 69-58 win over Topeka High

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 ...

Preps notebook: FSHS wrestling places 4th at Husky Invitational, LHS takes 11th

Both city wrestling teams were in action this past weekend during the Husky Invitational. In the two-day event, which featured 21 teams, Free State’s wrestling team did well enough across the board to secure a fourth-place finish with 127.5 points. Lawrence High, meanwhile, scored 51.5 points to place 11th. Maize won the event with 218 points, while Bonner Springs finished second with 204 and Blue Valley ...

Lawrence boys wallop Wichita Southeast behind 27-point third quarter

It is safe to say that the third quarter belongs to the Lawrence High boys basketball team until further notice. For the third consecutive game, LHS saved its firepower for the third period to cruise to a double-digit win. Lawrence dropped 27 points in the third quarter to thrash Wichita Southeast, 72-46, Friday night at Topeka West. With the win, the Lions (8-1) advanced to the championship game of the Topeka ...

Strong bench play lifts FSHS boys past Mill Valley in McPherson Invitational

Prior to the opening round of the McPherson Invitational, the Free State boys basketball coach Sam Stroh gave his team a challenge. With Noah Butler sidelined with an ankle injury, Stroh asked players to step up in his absence. And that they did. A trio of players scored in double figures, including a reserve, to lead Free State to a 61-44 victory over Mill Valley Thursday night at McPherson. “I thought this ...

Lawrence High boys score season-high 82 points in win over Topeka West

TOPEKA — With his feet planted firmly on the Topeka West Charger logo, which was a good distance beyond the arc, Lawrence High sophomore Zeke Mayo decided to let it fly. Mayo’s shot splashed through the net with three seconds left in the first half, giving Lawrence a 1-point advantage. LHS carried that momentum over to the second half, recording an 82-66 victory over Topeka West Thursday night at Topeka ...

Area basketball roundup: Seahawks defeat Bulldogs during first round of Baldwin Invitational

Bishop Seabury rolled to its second consecutive win over an area team, defeating Baldwin by a 75-61 margin during the opening round of the Baldwin Invitational. The Seahawks (8-1), who needed a buzzer beater to take down Veritas in their previous game, relied on four double-digit scorers to roll to a 14-point win Tuesday night at BHS. Stavian Jones led the team with 27 points, while Miles Branch scored 16. Zach ...

Happy homecoming: Kevin Stewart introduced as Free State's football coach

Kevin Stewart knows it is no easy task to follow in the footsteps of the only head football coach Free State has ever known. Stewart, who introduced himself to the FSHS football team as the program’s next head coach Wednesday afternoon, made it clear that there is no replacing someone like Bob Lisher. After all, Lisher compiled an 148-85 record in 22 seasons at Free State. But Stewart also recalled hearing a ...

Preps notebook: FSHS wrestling takes down Shawnee Mission Northwest

Free State’s wrestling team claimed another impressive dual win Wednesday afternoon. Despite the meet being moved up two hours due to potential weather, the Firebirds took care of business from the very beginning. Free State defeated Shawnee Mission West by a 64-12 margin to extend its dual winning streak to 38 consecutive matches. Ben Mellenbrunch, Trey Shanks, Lou Fincher, Caleb Streeter, Jordan Kryfka, ...