Free State boys stifle Shawnee Mission North in 63-38 win

In their second home game of 2023, the Free State boys basketball team secured a 63-38 win over Shawnee Mission North on Tuesday night, getting a much needed victory in Sunflower League play following a third-place showing at the McPherson Invitational Tournament last week.

The Firebirds (8-3), led from start to finish over the Bison (2-10), who could not keep up with the dynamic scoring duo of Jailen Thompson and Zeek Brown, who finished with 16 and 11 points respectively.

Right from the opening tip, Free State started fast and used its speed and passing skills to take an early 13-2 lead over the Bison, prompting a Shawnee Mission North timeout halfway through the first quarter.

Brown and Tay Daniels each had four points to lead the Firebirds offense through the first quarter, but it was the defense that provided an early cushion.

The Firebirds swarmed the Bison for the remainder of the frame, forcing seven turnovers and leading 15-7 after eight minutes of play at FSHS.

“Our defense was great tonight,” FSHS coach Sherron Collins said. “I felt like we were always good inside, dominating again. As long as we continue to do that we will be fine.”

In the second quarter, Shawnee Mission North came out fired up and cut the FSHS lead down to as little as two at 15-13, forcing the Firebirds to play more aggressively on the offensive end.

But Free State never let the Bison take the lead in the first half, and kept in control by finishing with a 17-4 run to end the second quarter, courtesy of five points from Brown and six points from Thompson.

The Firebirds led 32-17 at halftime, with Thompson’s 10 points and Brown’s nine giving the Firebirds the commanding first half advantage.

Despite an array of technical fouls in the second quarter, Collins knew his team could stay together and keep their momentum going, with their defense paving the way.

“We’ve got to continue to build off that (our defense),” Collins said. “We want to be the best defensive team on the floor and we want to be the toughest team. We made it more aggressive, and that was good for us.”

Free State picked up right where it left off in the third quarter, forcing six Shawnee Mission North turnovers and never letting them get fully back in the game.

In the fourth quarter, FSHS made several key shots, but their defense ultimately secured the home victory, taking a 27-point lead with just over a minute remaining.

From there, the Firebirds dribbled out the rest of the clock and took down the Bison at home, in what was a wire-to-wire victory for the home team.

The Firebirds next play host to Olathe Northwest on Tuesday with tip-off set for 7 p.m.

“We’re just going to work on every aspect,” Collins said. “I love when we got breaks as we can just go in and teach. That’s going to be our motive.”

Shawnee Mission North (38)

Nathan Doolin 0-1 1-2 1, Aziz Jagne 5-9 2-3 12, Alex Caseras 2-5 0-0 4, Remy Broome 1-4 0-0 3, Randall Boldridge 0-5 1-2 1, Makih Franklin 2-4 1-2 7, Ian Faile 1-5 1-2 3, Quincy Bynum 1-5 2-2 5, Trey Dyer 0-3 0-0 0, Caden Kermoade 1-1 0-0 2 Totals 13-42 FG, 8-13 FT, 38.

Free State (63)

Jailen Thompson 5-10 6-12 16, Dre Daniels 1-2 0-0 3, Tay Daniels 4-8 1-3 9, Wesley Edison 2-3 1-1 5, Devon Hamilton 2-2 0-0 5, Dash Johnson 1-6 2-2 5, Korbin Dowdell 0-2 0-0 0, Zeek Brown 5-7 0-0 11, Joshua Chen 0-1 0-0 0, Will Mlynek 3-6 3-3 9, Samir Yussuf 0-1 0-0 0, Totals: 23-48 FG, 13-21 FT, 63.

Score by quarters

Shawnee Mission North 7 10 13 8 — 38

Free State 15 17 10 21– 63

3-point goals: SMN 4-16 Makih Franklin (2), Remy Broome (1), Quincy Bynum (1); FS 4-15 Dre Daniels (1) Zeek Brown (1), Devon Hamilton (1) Dash Johnson (1); Turnovers: SMN 22; FSHS 9. Fouled out: SMN: Nathan Doolin

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