Boys dunk on Free State 77-57


Hannah Gaines

Sophomore Trey Quartlebaum handles the ball at the City Showdown on Feb. 24. The Lions won 77-57 against Free State.

By Gary Schmidt

Senior Braden Solko had never been much of a three point shooter. In fact, he had never really been much of a shooter at all.

But on a night where everything that could have gone well for the Lions did, everyone was a shooter.

In the third quarter, Solko had a personal 8-0 run off with two three-pointers and a lay-up. He finished the night with 12 points. His previous career high was 10.

The senior led his Lions to a 77-57 victory over the Free State Firebirds in his final City Showdown.

The Lions led the game from wire to wire, but the game was not without its drama.

In the first quarter, the Lions wanted to establish a physical presence, finding senior Kobe Buffalomeat for numerous baskets inside, but the Firebirds equaled that with strong play from senior Cameron Clark.

Hard fouls went both ways, but the Lions hot outside shooting allowed the team to head into the second quarter leading 20-9.

The second quarter saw the Lions ahead, but the Firebirds steadily gaining momentum until a fortuitous call gave the Lions all the energy in the packed crowd.

Sophomore Noah Butler trailed Clark and was called for a shooting foul as he attempted to block the lay-up attempt. In the altercation following the foul, Clark was whistled for a technical foul.

Clark sat the bench for the majority of the game following the contentious call, and the Lions were able to do whatever they wished to score from there.

After the call gave the Lions the ball midway through the second quarter, the Lions closed out the half strong, and despite a buzzer beating layup by the Firebirds, headed into halftime comfortably leading 35-28.

Coming out of half, the Lions, led by Solko, were determined to not cough up any of their lead as they had in many games in the season. A new up-tempo offense emerged, where everyone got a shot.

Halfway through the third period, a double-digit lead for the Lions turned into 15, and then 20.

Completely in charge for the entire second half, the Lions were able to clear their bench to a roaring applause for the valiant effort of the senior class in their final City Showdown.

As the minutes on the clock turned to seconds, the anticipation in the gym rose, as the seniors,  happily watching from the bench giddily rose for the final seconds.

The buzzer blared and the team sprinted across the court to share the special moment with the enormous student section.

Locking arms, the Lions left behind any doubts of a team divided and enjoyed the glorious moment the team shared as one.