Lions drop state tournament semifinal game, fall to WSE 61-74

By Gary Schmidt

The second half came as a change in the pace of the game, as all of a sudden it was the Buffaloes who were the ones pounding it into the Lions. The teams kept it close, but late in the fourth the Buffaloes began to pull away and ultimately shocked the Lions, 74-61.

Out of halftime, the Buffaloes came out fast with two quick buckets to tie the game at 36-36.  The Buffaloes changed up their defense, switching to a  two-three zone, which stifled the Lions’ offensive efforts early on. But the Lions picked up momentum after a bucket from senior Fred Brou got them back on track.

Holes in the Buffaloes zone began opening up, and following a hard foul on senior Price Morgan, the Lions soared out to a 44-38 lead.

Senior Justin Roberts also drew a hand foul with a minute left in the third– so hard he had to leave the game–the Lions entered the bonus and used the free throw line to their advantage.

Struggling to find a basket in the end of the third, Mallory shot a three which bounced out into the arms of senior guard Anthony Harvey Jr., who took the ball up strong, but was sent back to the ground harder. The ball went rolling out to the sideline. But a diving effort by Harvey and a quick timeout by coach Mike Lewis gave the Lions a chance to push their lead ahead.

Junior guard Jackson Mallory took the ball downcourt and was astounded when called for a double dribble that gave the ball to the Buffaloes with five seconds left. He then stole the inbounds and pushed it ahead, and softly flipped it over his head just as the buzzer sounded on the third quarter. Quarter three ended 50-47, Lions.

The fourth quarter started out physical on both sides, with many no-calls sliding by on what would have been easy calls earlier in the game. The Lions were taking the brute of it early, but following a big block by Brou, a shockwave was sent through the student section and the Lions began to feed off of the energy and become the aggressors.

Two threes from the Buffaloes sent WSE ahead 52-50 with six minutes to go. But a tough basket inside from Morgan tied the game at 52.

The teams traded threes, but the Lions soon found themselves down 59-55 following two quick transition scores for the Buffaloes. Two more free throws and one more bucket at the end saw the deficit for the Lions grow to eight, and then nine.

Mallory fouled out and it looked the game was beginning to slip away from the Lions when Justin Roberts made a three to to make it a two possession game.

With 1:30 left to play the Lions trailed by nine, but could not find a way to make the baskets they needed to to stay in the game and ultimately saw the game slip away from them.

The Lions await the loser of the Blue Valley Northwest/ Shawnee Mission Northwest game for the third place game tomorrow at 2 p.m..