Missing key player, LHS boys basketball falls to SM South

Lawrence High's boys basketball team talks through a play during a timeout against Shawnee Mission South Tuesday night at LHS on Feb. 25, 2020.

Playing without one of its best players, Lawrence High’s boys basketball team suffered a 45-42 loss to Shawnee Mission South Tuesday night at LHS.

In the first game without junior guard Zeke Mayo, who suffered an injury late in the team’s win over Free State, the Lions struggled to get much going on the offensive end. Lawrence, which averaged 65 points per game entering Tuesday, scored 8 points fewer than its previous season low in its first loss Jan. 7.

The defeat snapped a 12-game win streak for the Lions, who are ranked No. 4 in Class 6A.

“We let one get away,” LHS head coach Mike Lewis said. “We didn’t play very well — definitely didn’t play well enough to win tonight.”

Despite trailing by as many as 9 points in the final two minutes of the game, Lawrence (15-4, 9-2 Sunflower League) still had a shot at the end of the thrilling clash with SM South (10-6, 7-4) on Tuesday.

LHS senior Mayson Quartlebaum, who led the team with 15 points, connected on a pair of 3-pointers in the final 97 seconds. Quartlebaum’s second triple pulled Lawrence within a single possession, 41-39, with 26 seconds remaining.

Junior Jack Webb proceeded to hit both attempts from the charity stripe on the other end to give Shawnee Mission South a 4-point advantage. Lawrence then turned it over on the ensuing possession, which normally would have been the end of the threat.

Instead, the Raiders were unable to capitalize at the free-throw line. LHS senior Peyton Mallory then was fouled on a 3-point attempt, converting all of his freebies at the line to pull his team with a single point with five seconds left in the game.

This time around, Shawnee Mission South junior Max Close made both of his attempts after he was sent to the line. Leading by 3, the Raiders then fouled the Lions on the inbound play and forced a new set to come from the sideline.

Senior Bryce Johnson attempted to tie the game with a triple, but he missed, spoiling a chance for LHS to win on senior night. The team’s seniors — Johnson, Mallory, Quartlebaum, Ethan Bentzinger, Willie Dotson, Valdez White and Ruben Littlehead — were all honored before the game.

“I thought our guys showed good fight,” Lewis said. “We put ourselves in a position to get it done, we just weren’t good enough tonight.”

Lawrence’s late charge was necessary after the Lions scored just 1 point in the second quarter. The hosts were held scoreless for seven minutes in the second period before Johnson netted a free throw with 57 seconds to go in the first half.

“Maybe we missed (Zeke) more than we were expecting,” Lewis said. “He’s been a big piece to our puzzle all year long.”

It allowed the Raiders to grab a 21-16 advantage at the intermission, and they held off a valiant effort by the Lions, who could have clinched at least a share of the Sunflower League crown with a win.

Littlehead and Johnson each finished with 9 points, while Mallory added 7 points. Close paced Shawnee Mission South with a game-high 18 points in the win.

“I think we sputtered and I wasn’t expecting us to sputter as much,” Lewis said. “Defensively, we were a bit soft on a number of possessions. We need to be better defensively too.”

Lawrence will play host to Shawnee Mission West at 7 p.m. Friday. Lewis said Mayo is questionable for the regular-season finale.

Shawnee Mission South (45)

Erik Smith 0-5 2-3 2, Jack Webb 3-8 2-2 9, Blake Potthoff 4-9 0-1 10, Andrew Brewer 2-4 2-2 6, Mac Close 6-8 6-8 18, Miles McKenna 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 15-35 12-16 45.

Lawrence (42)

Peyton Mallory 1-7 5-5 7, Valdez White 1-3 0-0 2, Bryce Johnson 3-13 3-6 9, Mayson Quartlebaum 6-10 0-0 15, Ruben Littlehead 4-8 0-2 9, Ethan Bentzinger 0-2 0-0 0, Willie Dotson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 15-45 8-13 42.

SM South 15 6 10 14 — 45

Lawrence 15 1 8 18 — 42

Three-point goals: SMS 3-9 (Webb, Potthoff 2); LHS 4-15 (Quartlebaum 3, Littlehead). Turnovers: SMS 10; LHS 6. Fouled out: None.


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