‘This was our revenge game’: Lawrence High boys hold off Olathe South in rematch
OLATHE — The Lawrence High boys basketball team was able to avenge one of its rare setbacks of the season with a 69-55 victory Tuesday night at Olathe South.
The Lions led for all but a minute over the Falcons, who claimed the teams’ first meeting, a 63-62 overtime thriller during the championship game of the Blue Valley Shootout on Dec. 13.
“We brought it up in a joking manner today in pregame,” LHS head coach Mike Lewis said. “We didn’t hype that part of it up. We were more focused on February and getting off to a great start. And understanding the challenge that is ahead of us.”
Perhaps revenge wasn’t the driving factor Tuesday, but the Lions were well aware they let one slip away in December. LHS saw an 11-point lead vanish in the second half of that game, as Olathe South captured the tournament title on a buzzer-beating layup in overtime.
“We came out knowing that they beat us the first time,” LHS junior Zeke Mayo said. “This was our revenge game, but we came out and played like we wanted to and got the win.”
Similar to the first meeting, the Lions (10-3, 4-1 Sunflower League) led by double digits at halftime before the Falcons (10-4, 3-3 Sunflower League) made a late push. LHS, which is ranked No. 10 in Class 6A in the updated poll by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association, was up 15 entering the fourth quarter.
Yet, Olathe South (No. 9 in Class 6A) still made it a one-possession game in the final period. Junior Bryce Dickerson closed out a 7-0 Falcons run with a basket, trimming the deficit to 48-45 with 4:03 left to play. This time around, though, the Lions weren’t letting the Falcons complete the comeback.
Moments later, Lawrence senior Valdez White drilled a 3-pointer to give his team some much-needed breathing room. Mayo then forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds attempt by the Falcons.
Off the miscue, Mayo scored to give LHS a 53-45 advantage at the 3:48 mark. Olathe South never threatened after that.
“Our composure was good,” Lewis said. “I thought our guys were steady. I thought defensively we were sound in that situation. I was just proud of the way our guys just didn’t curl up and panic.”
Mayo was a big reason why the Lions made enough plays down the stretch. He scored 16 of his team-high 21 points in the fourth quarter by attacking the rim and drawing contact. Mayo netted 11-of-12 attempts from the free-throw line, including a 10-of-10 effort in the final period.
But many players were responsible for Lawrence being in control for much of the night.
Senior Ruben Littlehead gave LHS a 2-0 lead on the team’s first possession of the night. LHS senior Peyton Mallory, who finished with 18 points in the win, had a couple of nifty finishes in the first quarter as well.
Leading 14-7 after one period, senior Mayson Quartlebaum helped the Lions increase their lead, scoring nine of his 14 points in the second quarter. He delivered an emphatic dunk and connected on a triple at the buzzer to give LHS some momentum heading into the locker room at halftime.
The Lions have now won seven games in a row, which is something they did on two different occasions last year, including an 11-game win streak. They have not lost since dropping a 73-65 decision to Olathe West on Jan. 7.
“I think our guys are starting to really buy into who we are as a team,” Lewis said. “I think we are relaxed and we know who we are. I think that shows, and we are able to play pretty solid over the last few weeks.”
Lawrence will travel to Shawnee Mission Northwest on Friday.
Zeke Mayo 5-13 11-12 21, Peyton Mallory 5-8 8-8 18, Bryce Johnson 0-3 2-2 2, Mayson Quartlebaum 5-9 2-2 14, Ruben Littlehead 3-5 0-0 6, Willie Dotson 0-2 0-0 0, Valdez White 3-5 0-0 8. Totals: 21-45 23-24 69.
OLATHE SOUTH (55)
Luke Williams 0-4 2-2 2, DJ Stubblefield 4-11 0-0 9, Kyle Stelting 4-6 4-4 14, John Boyer 5-9 0-2 10, Jake English 0-6 2-2 2, Amarion Johnson 4-7 0-0 8, Cooper Whitley 1-3 0-0 2, Branden Eckles 2-7 0-0 5, Bryce Dickerson 1-1 1-2 3. Totals: 21-54 9-12 55.
Lawrence 14 18 10 26 — 69
Olathe S 7 15 15 18 — 55
Three-point goals: LHS 4-17 (Quartlebaum 2, White 2); OS 4-16 (Stelting 2, Stubblefield, Eckles). Turnovers: LHS 11; OS 17. Fouled out: Johnson, LHS.