Prep Notebook: Matthew Marcum becomes first Free State wrestler to take first at Newton Tournament of Champions

Matthew Marcum during the 2021-22 Free State wrestling season.

Free State senior Matthew Marcum made history with a first place individual finish this past Saturday at the Newton Tournament of Champions – the first Firebird ever to do so.

Marcum (285 pounds), led Free State with a 5-0 record, outlasting Maize junior Ayden Flores 4-2 in the final round. With the win, Marcum moved to 28-0 on the season. Shorthanded without senior Eric Streeter (132 pounds), the Firebirds placed eighth as a team at Newton.

Senior Nolan Bradley ended the tournament at 5-1, which was good for a third-place medal. Junior D’onte Goodman posted a 5-2 performance and placed fifth. Sophomores Drew Streeter (106 pounds) and Blaine Larkin (190 pounds) grabbed seventh and eighth place finishes.

Free State travels to Blue Valley Northwest on Friday and Saturday for the Husky Invitational.

LHS girls basketball continues winning

The Lawrence High girls basketball team defeated Spring Hill 63-46 on Wednesday at home.

Senior Serenity Keo led LHS (8-1) with 17 points. Sophomore Brynnae Johnson also played a heavy scoring role with 16 points. Seniors Amaya Marshall (10) and Lucy Hardy (8) each added a pair of 3s to the stat book. Juniors Azura Clark and Destiny Savannah each chipped in five points.

LHS coach Jeff Dickson said his group is learning how to adapt on the fly.

“Our team defense was outstanding tonight,” Dickson said. “All eight kids that got in the game played so hard and they had to because Spring Hill is tough as nail and young. They really took us out of our comfort zone but our senior leadership pulled us through.”

The Lady Lions travel to Shawnee Mission West on Friday.

Free State swim takes crown at BVSW

The Free State swim and dive team captured first place at the Blue Valley Southwest meet on Tuesday with a final team score of 127 points.

Free State’s 200-yard medley relay team – senior Jackson Waggoner and sophomores Jack Kempf, Ari Mattes and Sina Khosh – took first place. Three Firebirds – seniors Elliot Ahlvers (1st), Michael Leonard (3rd), and junior Isaiah Wilkins (2nd) – ate up the top 3 diving finishes.

Junior Dawson Bonnell placed second individually in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle. Mattes also grabbed second place in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke. Khosh placed first in the 500-yard freestyle.

Free States heads to the Topeka Swim and Dive Invitational on Jan. 24.

Free State girls ousted by SM North

The Free State girls basketball team couldn’t keep up with SM North on Tuesday, falling 41-6 at home. Senior Symira Spencer and sophomore Chloe Clossen each contributed two points.

The Lady Firebirds (0-8) travel Sumner Academy on Thursday.

Free State, LHS boys open mid-season tourneys with Rd. 1 wins

The Free State boys basketball team defeated Olathe East for the second time this season, 50-43 Thursday afternoon to advance to the second round of the McPherson Invitational.

Led by Jailen Thompson’s 17 points, the Firebirds (6-2) made a second half comeback and never looked back against the Hawks (3-5) who could not keep up with the aggressive offensive attack of FSHS.

“I was proud of them playing through some adversity,” FSHS coach Sherron Collins said. “I was proud of the way they stuck with it and we were able to play our gameplan in the second half.”

Each team struggled to knock down shots consistently early on, but the Firebirds figured it out first and led 12-8 at the end of the first quarter.

Olathe East came out firing to begin the second quarter and took a 20-18 lead into halftime.

Free State roared back in the third quarter and made several crucial shots down the stretch to take a 32-30 lead going into the final eight minutes.

The Firebirds’ offensive attack continued in the fourth, after Zeek Brown scored three of his 13 points on a 3-pointer to make it 37-30 Firebirds just a couple minutes in the period. From there, FSHS made several free throws and clutch shots down the stretch to put the game away.

Free State will either play the winner of Thursday’s game between Blue Valley West and St James Academy at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Lawrence High’s boys basketball team opened play in the Topeka Invitational Tournament on Thursday night, when the third-seeded Lions took on No. 6 seed Topeka High at Topeka West High School.

LHS led 26-22 at halftime, but the two schools needed overtime to find a winner, and LHS came out on top, 61-52 in OT.

The win moved the Lions to 7-2 on the season and pushed them into Friday’s semifinals, where they will face host school and No. 2 seed Topeka West at 6:45 p.m. The Chargers defeated Lansing, 55-32, earlier in the day on Thursday.


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