Writing recaps for basketball games is much more difficult than it is for football. In football, there are only a handful of scoring opportunities. In basketball, there's a new score every 30 seconds, making it challenging to condense the game into a recap. Throughout the 2013-2014 season, I experimented with using videos and new styles of ledes.
Boys' Basketball vs. Shawnee Mission South
Published on Feb. 28, 2014 online
This recap covers a game where we upset South, mostly due to the dominance of our junior post. I highlighted him throughout this piece to illustrate his importance to the team. This was the first time that I used a moment lede, rather than a chronological lede, to start my recap.
By the third quarter, he had already scored a basket, nailed a free throw and thrown down a two-handed dunk.
Now, six-foot-seven junior Lucas Jones took a shuffle step behind the three point line and lofted a shot from the top of the key. The shot was high-arcing and smooth. It swished — definitively — and the already-raucous Lancer student section roared in approval.
Although he would go on to score 21 points in the Lancers’ 58-43 win over the SM South Raiders, the night was defensively focused for Jones and the East squad. It began with a quick three by senior Luke Haverty, who would lead the Lancers on a run to create a 10 point lead.
From there, Jones took over the game by dominating in the post. Using his vast wingspan to cover the paint, Jones blocked or affected a majority of the shots taken from inside the three-point line. On the offensive side, the big man was solid in the first half but came alive in the second, where he scored 16 points.
Almost half of Jones’ points came from the free throws, which was where the Lancers truly won the game. Both teams made it into the double bonus in both halves, and East shot 83 percent from the free throw line, sinking a total of 24 free throws to solidify their victory.
“We knew it would be a great game, great atmosphere,” head coach Shawn Hair said. “We knew both teams would compete at a high level. We were able to attack them and make it so that they had to foul us. We’re a good free throw shooting team, and we used that to our advantage.”
The Lancers would maintain a lead of at least five points for the rest of the game, using their momentum to keep the South squad on the defensive. Although the Lancers utilized set plays to score skillful shots — including two three-point shots from sophomore Jay Guastello — their domination of the game was based on high intensity and scrappy, hustle plays.
“I guess it started with Luke knocking down that first three and from there we just gained a ton of energy and never let up,” junior Gunnar Englund said. “We did everything we could to keep them out of their game and stay in ours, and we came out with a big win.”
Although South was able to rally for several runs to bring the lead under 10 points, they were unable to pull close enough to pose a threat to the Lancers. Outmatched in the post by a smothering Lancer defense, the Raiders’ offense was based on unreliable three-point shots.
In the final minutes of the game, South turned to desperate fouls, which only lengthened the Lancers’ lead. The team feels that a victory in such an intense rivalry game has given them strong momentum heading into the post-season, which will begin on Thurs., Mar. 6 against Blue Valley High School.
“We capped the week off with an outstanding win tonight,” Haverty said. “I thought Lucas was huge down low. Not only was he blocking shots but his presence factored into South missing a lot of layups and jumpers. Our coaching staff did an incredible job coming up with confusing defenses. We want to thank the East fans for believing in us.”
Boys' Basketball vs. Blue Valley Northwest
Published on March 8, 2014 online
This was last season's final game. Our team didn't have a chance against the returning state champions. Knowing this, I wrote the recap to focus on the smaller details of the game to finish the season with a positive yet honest recap.
The gym at BV Northwest was small. It made the cacophony of the East student section even louder as Collin Burns sank a three point shot, putting the Lancers up 5-0 in the first minute of the substate championship. On the bench, the team was on their feet, roaring support to their teammates.
Going into the game, the Lancers knew they were the underdogs. They were up against the reigning state champions, a squad with five returning starters who were committed or considering teams at Division I schools. BV Northwest had lost two games in two years.
But for the first few minutes of the substate game, the Lancers dominated the game. A quick drive by sophomore Joey Wentz was followed up by the three by Burns, and the Lancers were alive and rampant with hope. An upset seemed to be brewing as the Lancers kept a lead for most of the first quarter.
By the end of the half, the Lancers had fallen behind by eight. That lead would eventually stretch to 14, but it wasn’t a tearful loss for the squad. In their 63-49 loss, the Lancers won a series of small victories.
The team found Burns and junior Gunnar Englund open in the corner for multiple threes. Junior Lucas Jones swatted shots out of bounds and remained steady on defense throughout the night. And to the final seconds, when the senior bench was cleared and the crowd chanted, “Thank you seniors,” the student section stayed loud and committed to supporting the team.
“Most of the game we were down around seven or eight points and couldn’t get any closer than that,” Englund said. “I feel if we could have broken that mark then the game might have ended different, but they were the ones hitting the shots, and we couldn’t shorten their lead. They deserve a ton of credit, that’s a great team.”
The BV Northwest squad was calm and experienced, led by senior Iowa State commit Clayton Custer. Custer was quick off the dribble and effortlessly handled the ball, making it difficult for the Lancers to guard him tightly. When Custer couldn’t find an opening, he was backed up by senior Washburn University commit David Salach, who turned the tide on the game in the second half with a powerful left-handed slam dunk.
Although the lead stretched in the final quarter, the Lancers continued to battle for open shots. The second half was dry for the Lancers, and free throws helped to extend the lead of the highly-accurate BV Northwest squad. In the final minute, coach Shawn Hair put in his seniors to enjoy their final time on the court.
“The support from the East community was outstanding this year,” senior Luke Haverty said. “We created a lot of life long memories. The team next year will be special.”