Lady Lions, Free State girls fall; LHS boys get a win
photo by: Chance Parker/Journal-World
A fast-paced performance by Blue Valley handed the Lawrence High girls basketball program its second loss of the season, with LHS falling to the Tigers 59-38 on Friday night in the Firebirds Winter Classic.
Sophomore Brynnae Johnson led LHS (9-2) with 12 points, including a 3-pointer. Senior Amaya Marshall scored 10 points, hitting two 3s. Seniors Lucy Hardy (6 points) and Serenity Keo (5 points) each added one or more 3s toward the Lady Lions’ effort. Junior Destiny Savannah added three points and senior Daphne Bracker Sturm chipped in two points.
On a night when his group finished 12-of-35 from the field, LHS coach Jeff Dickson said his group didn’t make up for their scoring miscues on the other end.
Blue Valley moved the ball well, landing three players in double-figure scoring.
“I don’t know if we were ready for how quickly they’d be able to get the ball up and down the court,” Dickson said. “We talked during pregame about kids that would leak out, but when you get out there and (Blue Valley)’s guards can throw it with that kind of accuracy and speed, it got us back on our heels a little bit.”
LHS struggled from the field early, but two 3s by Hardy kept the Lady Lions tied with Blue Valley at 8-8 midway through the first quarter. Ending the first quarter on 3-of-12 shooting, LHS stared down an 18-10 deficit heading into the second.
The Tigers’ scoring attack didn’t slow down in the second quarter. Blue Valley senior Ainsley Lister and junior Jadyn Wooten entered double figures and burned LHS in transition en route to a 35-17 lead over the Lady Lions at halftime.
Marshall returned to the floor with a 3-pointer for LHS, but the shot didn’t stir much up offensively. Wooten coughed up a steal to Keo late in the third quarter, but the play produced a single free-throw for the Lady Lions, down 22 heading into the fourth.
Dickson felt LHS’s defense wasn’t playing up to par with the reputation they’d built heading into Friday night’s contest.
“We didn’t get up and guard the way we’re capable of guarding,” Dickson said. “We were playing off of them and I think people were a little bit worried about getting by. In the second half, we emphasized getting up and making it uncomfortable for them.”
Johnson and Savannah each added a 3 to the stat sheet in the fourth quarter, but LHS couldn’t produce enough offensively to make a clean stab at Blue Valley’s lead.
LHS will play in the third-place game against Eisenhower on Saturday afternoon.
Wichita Northwest girls 52, Free State 23
Wichita Northwest outpaced Free State girls basketball on Friday in the Firebirds Winter Classic. Staying within reach of the Grizzlies early, Free State trailed just 13-8 at the end of the first quarter but struggled defensively the rest of the way.
Sophomore Chloe Clossen led the Firebirds (0-12) with nine points all from the three-point range. Freshman Addie Fulscher added eight points, including two 3s of her own. Sophomore Jordan Walker added three points and senior Symira Spencer chipped in a free throw.
Free State will take on Great Bend in Round 3 of the event in the seventh-place game at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
Lawrence boys 47, Olathe South 43
The Lawrence High boys picked up a road win, defeating Olathe South 47-43 after leading by just four points heading into the fourth quarter.
Senior Zaxton King led LHS (9-3) with 14 points. Junior Kenton Simmons contributed 13 points, finding eight in the second half. Seniors Lance Bassett (7 points) and Will Leuschen (5 points) also stepped up from the field down the stretch.
LHS worked the floor in the first half, with six Lions joining the scoring column. King scored the Lions’ lone three-pointer of the half. Nine second-quarter points by the Falcons were enough for an even 21-21 score at halftime.
Simmons guided LHS from the block with nine second-half points. Despite a pair of fourth-quarter 3s by O-South starting guards Josiah Polynice and Nic Anderson, the Falcons couldn’t get enough going in time to stop the Lions.
LHS resumes action on Tuesday at Olathe West.