LHS senior Zeke Mayo ends career with 29-point outburst in final quarter
photo by: Chance Parker
There was no way Zeke Mayo was subbing out of the game in the fourth quarter of Lawrence High’s 71-63 loss to Blue Valley North in the Class 6A semifinals on Thursday at Wichita State University. He told head coach Mike Lewis as much, asking to not sub him out during the final period.
Mayo knew that the fourth quarter would likely be his final eight minutes in an LHS jersey after staring down a 51-34 deficit at the end of the third period. So Mayo wanted to savor every last second he had as a Lion, while giving Lawrence everything he had left in the tank.
“I’m a guy that likes to play until the clock hits zero,” Mayo said. “I knew it was my last game, whether we came back and made it close or not. I just wanted to finish and finish on a good note.”
Mayo certainly did that, ending things in style. He scored all 29 of Lawrence’s points in the fourth quarter, which fueled a valiant effort by the Lions (20-2) down the stretch in their attempt to make the Mustangs (20-3) work for the victory.
Lawrence’s senior guard finished with a game-high 41 points. He went 15-for-27 from the floor, while posting a 4-of-9 clip from 3-point range. Mayo finished a triple shy of matching the record for most points in a 6A state tournament game, which is a 44-point performance set by Adams Peakes of Blue Valley North in 1991.
Mayo, who will play for South Dakota State at the next level, also collected 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double in his final high school game.
“We were trying to really take the ball out of his hands as much as possible,” Blue Valley North coach Ryan Phifer said. “He’s a pretty patient player, and we knew at some point he was going to get going. Good thing that we had a big lead there when he got going.”
But the fourth-quarter fireworks by Mayo will certainly leave a lasting memory. Mayo went 10-for-11 from the floor over those final eight minutes, which included a 4-of-5 clip from 3-point range.
“I looked up at the clock at the start of the fourth quarter and I saw we were down a lot,” Mayo said. “My instinct is to just take over and do what I did. Thank god shots were going in. When I see one go in, I’m going to keep shooting until I miss.”
The start of Mayo’s offensive onslaught actually began with 33 seconds left to play in the third quarter, when he connected on a pull-up jumper. Prior to that basket, Mayo scored 10 points through the first 23-plus minutes.
Mayo began the fourth period with a casual 2-for-2 effort from the free-throw line. He followed that up with a trio of baskets over the next three minutes. Following a missed freebie from Blue Valley North, Mayo flew up the court and completed an and-one sequence midway through the fourth quarter.
By this point, there was no reason to suspect anything. Mayo had 9 points through the opening four minutes. He then followed that up with two more baskets, one of which came on a baseline drive and the other was another pull-up jumper.
LHS juniors Truman Juelsgaard and Pearse Long then both missed a 3-pointer that could have cut the deficit to 10 points at the time. Mayo converted on a couple more free throws before burying a step-back 3-pointer from the top of the key with one minute left to go.
That marked Mayo’s first of the triple of the game, but he would end up hitting three more in just as incredulous fashion. Mayo knocked down another triple from the top of the key on the next trip down the floor.
With 16.1 seconds left in the game, Mayo managed to find the bottom of the net on a fadeaway 3-point attempt from the corner right in front of the LHS bench. He capped things off with one last 3-pointer from the right wing with four seconds remaining in the contest.
“He was just playing with that ultimate freedom,” Lewis said of Mayo’s fourth-quarter explosion. “He knew it was his last run.”
It served as a fitting end for Mayo, who has been an impact player all four years at LHS. This season, though, he was the leader of a young LHS team that managed to secure a program-record seventh consecutive state berth.
Entering Thursday, Mayo was averaging 20.3 points per game to go along with an average of 6.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.9 steals per contest. Mayo reached double figures in all 22 games this year.
Mayo finished with 19 points or more in 14 different outings, with his previous season-high being a 30-point showing against Shawnee Mission East before Thursday’s scorcher in the Class 6A semifinals.
“It is a great way for him to go out,” Lewis said. “He’s also just such a special teammate and he handles himself the way we want our kids to handle themselves. He’s just a great reflection of Lawrence High basketball.”
Zeke Mayo’s senior season game log
Manhattan — 28 points, 11-16 FG
Blue Valley — 26 points, 5-13 FG
Ruskin — 28 points, 12-23 FG
Grandview — 23 points, 9-15 FG
Shawnee Mission North — 22 points, 9-17 FG
Olathe Northwest — 21 points, 7-13 FG
Mill Valley — 18 points, 6-10 FG
Olathe East — 17 points, 5-12 FG
BV Northwest — 22 points, 6-15 FG
Gardner Edgerton — 19 points, 6-12 FG
Olathe South — 19 points, 8-15 FG
Shawnee Mission Northwest — 19 points, 8-12 FG
Shawnee Mission East — 30 points, 9-16 FG
Olathe West — 18 points, 6-8 FG
Olathe North — 14 points, 5-12 FG
Shawnee Mission West — 19 points, 7-12 FG
Free State — 12 points, 3-7 FG
Shawnee Mission South — 15 points, 5-10 FG
Olathe Northwest — 10 points, 3-7 FG
Olathe West — 19 points, 8-13 FG
Blue Valley Northwest — 27 points, 10-18 FG
Blue Valley North — 41 points, 15-27 FG