The dream is complete for the Lansing Lions.
The Lions finished an undefeated 25-0 season with a surprisingly easy 48-27 victory over Topeka Highland Park in the Kansas 5A boys basketball state championship game on Saturday.
Lansing led 18-17 when senior Zach Jackson missed a three-pointer and 6-2 senior Khalil Bailey dunked home the rebound at the buzzer, ending the first half. The spark continued after halftime when Lansing went on a 13-3 run. The Lions led 31-18 after junior Kenneth Banks connected on a three-pointer on the left baseline with 1:37 left in the third quarter.
“Our guys have really played well in the third quarter all year,” Lansing coach Rob Briggs said. “Maybe its’ because we have seven seniors.”
Lansing led 31-20 entering the fourth quarter, holding the Scots to just three points in the third quarter.
Highland Park’s meek 27 points in the game earned Lansing’s defense praise from its coach.
“We played as well as we could tonight,” Briggs said. “That’s a good a defense as we have ever played.”
It was the fewest number of points allowed all season by the Lions and the fewest Highland Park scored all season. The 27 points also was the fewest points ever scored by a losing team in a 5A state title game.
Lansing was impressive in its ability to move the ball around for easy shots in the first half.
“I was surprised that they used a zone, after we did so well against it last night (against Wichita Heights),” Briggs said.
Bailey had 13 first-half points on five-of-nine shooting and was three-for-three at the free-throw line. He finished with 19 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Joe Schneider added 10 points, all in the second half.
The Lions were 11-of-12 from the free-throw line in winning the school’s first state title in boys basketball.
“This is something they will remember for the rest of their lives,” Briggs concluded.