LHS girls stalled by Washburn Rural in state hoops quarterfinal; Eudora chases down Baldwin to advance to state semifinal

photo by: Chance Parker

Lawrence High sophomore Brynnae Johnson dribbles the ball against Washburn Rural during the 6A State Basketball Tournament on Thursday, March 9, 2023 at Koch Arena. Lawrence High ends their season with a 58-49 loss to Washburn Rural.

Despite fighting right up until the final buzzer, the No. 4-seeded Lawrence High girls basketball team fell to No. 5 Washburn Rural, 58-49, in the quarterfinal round of the Class 6A state tournament on Thursday at Koch Arena in Wichita.

LHS, trailing by 11 with 3:12 to go, regrouped and fought to within a possession of the Junior Blues (17-5) with a 7-0 run with just over two minutes left. But in the end, LHS couldn’t close the gap all the way.

LHS coach Jeff Dickson said he was proud of how the team competed at its first state tournament appearance since 2017, even if it didn’t end the way the Lions wanted.

“They battled their hearts out,” Dickson said. “I wish a few calls could have gone our way. They are one of the greatest teams LHS has ever produced in any sport.”

Brynnae Johnson led LHS with 21 points, and senior Serenity Keo contributed 13. Six more came from fellow senior Daphne Bracker-Sturm, and Amaya Marshall, Cyrenity Hardy and Destiny Savannah each added three points.

Moments after tipoff, LHS had to burn a timeout. It couldn’t knock down a shot through the first three minutes of the game, and the Lions were down by 9 with 5:04 left in the first.

Keo broke the Lions’ silence at the free-throw line with just under four minutes left in the first, and LHS junior Destiny Savannah knocked down a much-needed 3 during a short run late in the first. But the Lions still trailed Rural 15-8 heading into the second.

Those early shooting struggles skewed LHS off track a bit, Dickson said.

“We missed a few shots we would normally hit,” Dickson said. “We protected the ball well, but we let them hit that first run of the game — which is totally on me.”

A three-point play by Johnson brought LHS within 4 of the Junior Blues with nearly six minutes until the break. Moments later, Rural senior Ma’Ryah Lutz buried consecutive 3s to send LHS down 24-11 with 3:46 left in the second.

Six unrivaled points by Bracker-Sturm and Johnson sent LHS into halftime trailing 26-19. The Lions ended the first half just 8 of 23 (34%) across the court.

With six minutes left in the third, a two-point jumper by Keo snapped Rural’s lead back down to 4, and three 3s by Johnson, Marshall, and Hardy placed LHS within one possession of the Junior Blues heading into the fourth.

Then, in the final quarter, LHS had to regroup from an 11-point deficit to challenge the Junior Blues late in the game. A 7-0 run included four free throws by Keo and a 3-pointer by Johnson. But Rural seniors Chloe Carlgren and Brooklyn DeLeye knocked down three free throws with under a minute left and pushed the Junior Blues ahead far enough to survive the late stand by LHS.

The Junior Blues will meet No. 1 Blue Valley (16-7) in the semifinal round today. Tipoff is at 4 p.m.

Dickson said Thursday’s loss would be a hard note for his four seniors to end on, but that the program would always remember their contributions.

“Our senior class — Amaya, Lucy (Hardy), Daphne and Serenity — will join the Mount Rushmore of leaders and winners at LHS,” he said.


Lawrence High (49): Johnson 8-16, 3-5, 21, Keo 4-8, 5-6, 13, Bracker-Sturm 3-3, 0-0, 6, Marshall 1-6, 0-0, 3, C. Hardy 1-2, 0-0, 3, Savannah 1-5, 0-0, 3. Totals: 18-50, 8-11, 49.

Washburn Rural: Lutz 7-15, 0-0, 19, Carlgren 4-8, 5-11, 14, DeLeye 3-9, 4-8, 11, Hinck 4-11, 2-3, 10, Buck 0-4, 2-2, 2, Ochs 0-1, 2-4, 2. Totals: 18-48, 15-28, 58.

3FGs: LHS 5-23 (Johnson 2, Marshall 1, C. Hardy 1, Savannah 1); Rural 7-24 (Lutz 5, Carlgren 1, DeLeye 1). TOs: LHS 11; Rural 18. Fouled out: none.

Eudora slips past Baldwin in OT finish

The No. 4-seeded Eudora boys basketball team advanced to the state semifinal on Wednesday, defeating No. 5 Baldwin 46-42 in overtime.

The Cardinals (19-4), who emerged victorious after trailing by 4 entering the fourth, will meet No. 1 Hugoton (21-2) in the semifinal round today.

Eudora senior Cole Parker led the way with a game-high 17 points; senior Conor Dunback added 12 more; and senior Maddox Votaw chipped in five points. The Bulldogs (18-5) were led by senior Samuel Darnell with 12 points and junior Ryker Grossner with 11 points.

Tipoff for today’s semifinal is at 2 p.m.


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