WRITER: Braden Shaw

'We're going to keep building': Gutierrez and Seabury girls look to build off foundation set this season

It took five games, but following a convincing 40-13 victory over Veritas, a young Bishop Seabury girls basketball team gained some much-needed confidence. “After that Veritas game, they realized we can be a pretty good team and we can compete with anyone as long as we kind of do what we do and worry about the little things,” Seabury coach Ryan Gutierrez said in a phone interview. The Seahawks had ...

Despite strange end to the season, Free State boys remain proud of all they accomplished

Around this time of year, Free State boys basketball head coach Sam Stroh would normally be sitting down with his players for postseason evaluations. He’d meet with returners to discuss the future and have an exit meeting with his seniors. Thanks to technology, he can still do so, but the coronavirus pandemic has forced Stroh to adjust his usual game plan. “So all that stuff had to be done online this ...

Camaraderie, senior leadership helped 'battle tested' LHS boys basketball to successful season

Even with a promising season cut short with a 72-66 loss to Blue Valley North in the first round of the Class 6A state tournament, Lawrence High head coach Mike Lewis made sure the Lions didn’t lose sight of all they’d accomplished. “As coaches we just remind them (after that game) how proud we are of them,” Lewis told the Journal-World in a phone interview. “We remind them of the importance of the ...

'Small victories' motivate Free State girls basketball in head coach Nick Wood's first year

With his first season as head coach of Free State girls basketball now in the books, Nick Wood made sure to reflect on how both he and the Firebirds performed this past season. “You’re looking at every aspect of our basketball program and looking at how we can improve upon it,” Wood told the Journal-World in a telephone interview. “I think self-reflection is a huge piece of how you do that.” The ...

KU women's basketball to open Big 12 tournament vs. Texas Tech

While the Kansas women’s basketball may have stumbled through conference play, the Jayhawks finished with their best regular season record since 2013 (15-14). Sure, 4-14 in Big 12 play is not ideal. But three of those wins came in the last six games, so the Jayhawks at least made some progress in the latter half of the season. The first conference win of the year came against KU’s next opponent in Texas ...

'Just be thankful, grateful and blessed:' Bishop Seabury rolls to 72-45 victory over Valley Heights in final game of the season

Manhattan — Despite the noise, cancellations and widespread uncertainty over the past 24 hours due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bishop Seabury head coach Jonathan Raney continued to reassure his team to “control what we can control.” “But this group is resilient, this group is used to that,” Raney said. “We take it a day at a time, anyway. I just told them, ‘Hey, count your blessings that we’re ...

Free State relies on senior leadership en route to fourth straight trip to state tournament

With plenty of state tournament veterans and senior leaders on its roster, Free State is looking to make an impact in its fourth straight trip to state. But in order to pull off a deep run, the sixth-seeded Firebirds will have to get past a team that stonewalled them in their last two trips: No. 3 seed Blue Valley Northwest. “Me and (BV Northwest head coach) Ed Fritz in the state tournament again,” Free ...

Eudora girls ride wave of community support to Class 4A state tournament

What began as a celebration of the Eudora girls basketball team's sub-state victory on Friday quickly turned into a photoshoot all around the packed Eudora gym. It started with just the team, made its way to the raucous student section, and later involved nearly all of the spectators. “It was awesome,” Eudora sophomore guard Harper Schreiner said. “Girls basketball really hasn’t been big (in Eudora) ...

Fifth inning dooms KU baseball as Jayhawks drop game to Indiana State, 9-3

A big fifth inning proved to be the difference as Kansas baseball dropped game two of a three-game series with Indiana State, 9-3, on Saturday at Hoglund Ballpark. The Jayhawks made a brief comeback in the with junior shortstop Skyler Messinger scoring in the bottom of the third inning. Junior first baseman Nolan Metcalf followed that up with a home run to cut the Sycamores’ lead to 3-2. However, Indiana ...

Fourth quarter free throws help Free State hold on for 58-48 victory over Topeka High in sub-state final

Free State sophomore Mozae Downing-Rivers was trapped at midcourt, desperately searching for a teammate. He quickly found senior guard Olin Yoder who snatched the pass and stepped — or rather jumped — into a 3-pointer. Yoder’s huge triple with just over two minutes to play — the first and only field goal for the Firebirds in the fourth quarter — helped Free State hold on for a 58-48 victory over ...

Eudora girls hang on in fourth quarter to defeat Paola 33-28 in sub-state championship

Eudora — As a desperation three from Paola bounced off the rim and the final buzzer sounded, a rush of euphoria erupted in the Eudora gym. The sudden celebration was a byproduct of the No. 1 Eudora girls defeating No. 8 Paola 33-28 in the Class 4A sub-state championship Friday night, sending the Cardinals back to the state tournament. “We wanted this so bad for our kids,” Eudora interim head coach ...

Despite fourth quarter push, Free State girls fall to Washburn Rural 66-57 in sub-state semifinals

Topeka — Despite a strong start from beyond the arc and a late push, Free State came up short in the second half as the Firebirds fell to Washburn Rural 66-57 in the sub-state semifinals Tuesday. The Firebirds finish the season 8-13 in head coach Nick Wood’s first season at the helm. “They were fun to watch tonight,” Wood said. “We didn’t lose because of lack of effort or heart. We gave them ...

'Like nothing I've ever experienced:' How being at LHS changed Ella Stewart's life on and off the court

For someone who’s looked at as “the mom” of the group, it especially hurt Lawrence High senior guard Ella Stewart to not be out on the floor for her final regular-season game last Friday. “I missed this whole week of school, so I was really trying to be good for (Friday),” Stewart said. “If I would’ve been out there, I wouldn’t have been helping the team.” Stewart had bronchitis, and even ...

Learning from past mistakes, KU grabs 77-69 conference win over Oklahoma State

After leading by as much as 22 points, Kansas women's basketball held on in the second half to defeat Oklahoma State, 77-69, Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks have now won back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 30 and have guaranteed at least a .500 record for the first time since the 2012-13 season. Eight Jayhawks scored, led by freshman guards Zakiyah Franklin with 23 points. “I mean, ...

'It's like a Disney movie': LHS shows unselfish fight and grit despite 39-28 loss to SM West

Whether it’s been injuries or youth, Lawrence High has had to learn on the fly all season. And in the Lions’ final regular-season game Friday — a 39-28 loss to Shawnee Mission West — players had to step up once again. “I thought we played fantastic,” LHS coach Jeff Dickson said. “I thought we showed more heart and grit, something we’ve been wanting to see all year long. That’s what you get ...

LHS grabs share of Sunflower League title with 77-68 win over Shawnee Mission West

Midway through the third quarter, LHS senior forward Bryce Johnson rifled a pass to the right corner to Mayo. With a defender rushing toward him, Mayo sidestepped to his left and knocked down another 3-pointer. With Mayo back on the floor, Lawrence High secured both a 77-68 win over Shawnee Mission West and a share of the Sunflower League title Friday in the Lions’ final regular-season game. “I’m really ...

Free State girls lose to SM West, 70-48, on senior night

Free State High School’s girls basketball team couldn’t keep up with a hot-shooting Shawnee Mission West team in a 70-48 loss Tuesday night at FSHS. SM West got off to a fast start with an early 10-4 lead. It was an especially tough night for Free State senior Caely Kesten, who shot 1 of 8 from the field in the first half. Much of the early offense for the Vikings came from senior guard Kierra Prim, ...

Free State rolls to 61-42 victory over SM West on senior night

Free State coach Sam Stroh yelled for somebody to play some music. Almost immediately after, “Life is Good” by Future and Drake started blasting throughout the locker room. “(Life’s) pretty good right now,” senior forward DK Middleton said. Middleton was named player of the game after scoring a team-high 15 points in the Firebirds’ 61-42 win over Shawnee Mission West on Senior Night Tuesday. That ...

Azubuike's big day propels KU to 64-61 road win over No. 1 Baylor

Despite rolling through the Big 12 schedule this season, one team has stood in the way of Kansas: the No. 1 Baylor Bears. In what will certainly be a decisive result in the Big 12 regular season title race, the Jayhawks held on to take care of the Bears 64-61 Saturday afternoon. After dropping the first matchup at Allen Fieldhouse 67-55 on Jan. 11, KU bounced back Saturday, snapping Baylor’s win streak at 23 ...

Moore wins state title, Free State boys finish 5th at state swim meet

Topeka — Standing on top of the podium Saturday, Free State junior Reilley Moore was beaming with pride after winning in the 100 butterfly at the Class 6A state swim and dive championships. “It’s like the best feeling you could ever ask for,” Moore said. “It’s like the biggest kind of honor in high school swimming, and I’m very happy to be able to have done it.” Moore won the race with a time ...