The boys basketball team advances to its seventh straight state tournament


Owen Musser

Juniors Pearse Long and Jack Ryan position themselves to go up for a rebound during a tight sub-state championship against the Olathe West Owls.

By Cuyler Dunn and Andrew Phalen

Because of new bracket formats, the Lawrence High School boys basketball team’s toughest challenger will come in the first round of the state tournament this year.

The Lions will take on the Blue Valley Northwest Huskies in the state championship quarterfinals, a matchup featuring the number two and one teams in the state, respectively. The showdown will be held at Blue Valley Northwest on March 8th.

While the top eight teams in the state are usually seeded in order to keep the best teams on opposite sides of the bracket, this season the quarterfinals were assigned by sub-state divisions which led to the Lions (19-1) and Huskies (21-1) being paired up early on in the tournament.

The two powerhouses have faced off once before this season, where the Huskies won by a score of 72-50 after pulling away in the 4th quarter. 

Throughout the season, the Lawrence High team has grown closer through practices and hard-fought victories. 

“I feel that this team has a special bond and we all play for each other,” senior forward Corban Oberzan said. “It’s really good team basketball, and I think that’s played into our success.”

LHS enters the state quarterfinals after a close sub-state championship game against the Olathe West Owls. The Lions won 44-43, after stifling a 4th quarter comeback. With 2.7 seconds left Olathe West was inbounding the ball down by one when senior guard Zeke Mayo jumped out and blocked the inbounds pass. The ball grazed off of the Olathe West inbounder and went out of bounds, giving the Lions possession and eventually the win. The sub-state championship was the seventh straight for LHS. 

“Keeping the streak alive feels amazing just because nobody expected us to be able to do it and we made history,” said junior forward Pearse Long. 

Blue Valley Northwest, on the other hand, dominated through their sub-state beating Olathe East and Olathe South by margins of 40 and 28 points. Blue Valley Northwest enters as the three-time defending champion in their fourth straight trip to the state tournament. 

With their biggest matchup of the year just around the corner, the Chesty Lions look ready to finish out their season with a run at a state title.