Free State boys run past Olathe West for 55-40 road win
photo by: Nick Krug
Free State’s boys basketball team wrapped up its fifth consecutive win in convincing fashion, securing a 55-40 road victory over Olathe West on Tuesday.
The Firebirds (13-2, No. 5 in Class 6A) have not lost since falling at St. James Academy on Jan. 23, which was the team’s third game in as many days. Tuesday’s league victory over Olathe West (8-6) was thanks in large part to a strong second half by FSHS.
After giving up 16 points in the first quarter alone, the Firebirds surrendered 16 points in the entire second half. Free State recorded a 36-16 advantage over Olathe West over the final two quarters.
“I liked our composure at halftime,” FSHS head coach Sam Stroh said. “We played much better defensively in the second half and it was just a great team effort in the second half.”
Three different Free State players finished in double figures in the road win. Jailen Thompson and Mozae Downing each ended up with 11 points. Cooper Jackson tallied 10 points to round out the balanced attack.
Yet Free State’s defense was ultimately key to the team starting off a busy week on the right foot. FSHS will have three games in three days later this week, beginning with a road tilt at Shawnee Mission West at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The Firebirds will then host Shawnee Mission East on Friday before concluding the week with a road matchup against Shawnee Mission South on Saturday.
“I told them that the team I’ve seen more often than not is the team in the second half (and) that’s what we need the next three games,” Stroh said. “No easy games, no nights off. We just have to take it one game at a time.”
Free State 8 11 20 16 — 55
Olathe West 16 8 6 10 — 40
Free State (55)
Kris Daniels 6, Mozae Downing 11, Justin Hicks 1, Dash Cleveland 4, Jailen Thompson 11, Cole Wheeler 2, Isaac Gonzales 3, Andrew Piper 7, Cooper Jackson 10.