Analysis: Boys basketball falls in first match of season, but that shouldn’t discourage them

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By Henry DeWitt, Sports Editor

Lions fell to the Liberty Eagles 64-77 this Saturday to start the boys basketball season, but that shouldn’t discourage them.

The Lions started off the game behind with the first quarter (15-26) leaving the Lions down 11.

“They were physical,” senior Peyton Mallory said. “They had a lot of energy considering it was their first game as well.”

After the impressive first quarter for the Eagles, the Lions were able to go back-and-forth with the Eagles for the remainder of the game but ultimately could not break the deficit, finishing the game with a 13 point loss.

“We have high expectations for ourselves. In practice we play really well together,” said Mallory. “We’re ready.”

Coming off the tail of last season’s 19-3 regular season record, the Lions have high expectations heading into the winter sports season.

Last season ended short when fifth-seeded Wichita Southeast took down Lawrence High, seeded fourth, in the first round of playoffs with a close 70-67 score. Although the loss itself hit hard, so did the loss of many big impact players.

The seniors last year included Trey Quartlebaum, Clarence King, Savonni Shazor, Eric Galbreath, Bryant Graham and Brett Chapple. All of which started at some point in the season and had a large impact on the team. Now, Quartlebaum is playing at St. Francis College in New York, King is playing at Hutchinson Community College, and Graham is playing at Lamar Community College.

Losing so many impact starters would signal an end to the dominance of a majority of teams. However, what the non-seniors showed during the season last year proves Lawrence High School’s basketball success is far from over.

Mallory is not phased by the loss of last year’s senior class.

“We know that they were one of the better competition that we will face in highschool,” Mallory said.

Throughout last season, and even time in the season before, now junior Zeke Mayo showed an immense skill set. Mayo has been featured on many nationally recognized basketball pages such as HoopFocus, who described him as the “Most slept on player in Kansas.”

Another offseason storyline was senior Mayson Quartlebaum, a Kennesaw State commit. Quartlebaum was a key player coming off the bench last year. His size alone makes him a difficult player to guard. But when you pair his size with his superb all around athleticism, he proves to be a key player for the Lions and will be one of the main leaders on the court this season.

Other returning players are Willie Dotson, Valdez White and senior Bryce Johnson, who has recently received an offer from Baker University, all of whom showed significant promise last year on a deep lineup filled with stars. However, they hope to turn that promise into serious consistent production this season.