The School Newspaper of Lawrence Free State High School
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City basketball showdown to be played at Allen Fieldhouse

At the front of Allen Field House, the statue of Phog Allen stands to remind citizens of the history of basketball in Lawrence. Allen Field House is the home of Kansas basketball and has seen players like Danny Manning, Wilt Chamberlain and Mario Chalmers.

Gabrielle Wheeler

Gabrielle Wheeler

At the front of Allen Field House, the statue of Phog Allen stands to remind citizens of the history of basketball in Lawrence. Allen Field House is the home of Kansas basketball and has seen players like Danny Manning, Wilt Chamberlain and Mario Chalmers.

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Bright lights illuminate the court. Sneakers squeak against a floor that has seen All Stars to D Roses, Chamberlain to Chalmers over the past 61 years. On Friday Dec. 16, Allen Fieldhouse will host an all new group of competitors. Instead of cramming into the Free State gym for the Free State versus Lawrence High varsity basketball showdown, fans have the opportunity to watch from the historic seats of Allen Fieldhouse.

The boys basketball coach, Sam Stroh, explained how the venue was secured for the school’s teams.

“Coach [Mike] Hill and I had discussions for the last 6 to 12 months and we always kind of talked about the idea. [Then] Coach Hill approached [KU Director of Athletics Sheahon] Zenger [and] they were on board and it was also working with LHS to kind of make sure everyone wanted to be a part of it.”  

Gabrielle Wheeler
Senior, Jacob Pavlyak runs in for a layup during a team scrimmage. Pavlyak had played for Free State his entire high school career. “I’m looking forward to the atmosphere at Allen Fieldhouse, its one of the greatest, if not the greatest, basketball venue in the world, so it’ll be a perfect place for the rivalry,” Pavlyak said.

Stroh believes students from both schools are enthusiastic the iconic location has agreed to host the games.

“I think not only the two teams will generate a lot of buzz, but also the fact that there hasn’t been a [high school] game in [Allen Fieldhouse] in a long time. I think it’s been since the ‘80s since a high school basketball game has been played [there],” Stroh said.

The news spread when the Lawrence Journal-World Twitter account announced that the game would be held at Allen Fieldhouse. Basketball players, fans and coaches shared their excitement about the event.

“I kind of heard it from a few friends and I didn’t really know how reliable that would be, but it was posted on Twitter [and] I got notified [and] I really couldn’t believe it,” said Jaycee Bishop, senior guard.

After hearing the news, girls varsity basketball coach Ted Juneau also shared his excitement and believes the game will be entertaining for the players and fans.

“It’s a great opportunity for not only the basketball teams but [for] the students as well to be able to go to Allen Fieldhouse and cheer for their high school team,” Juneau said.

Nicola Santangelo
Dribbling the ball, sophomore Lauryn Jones runs up to the basket for a layup. Jones has been playing basketball since she was four. “It’ll be fun to see what we bring to Allen against LHS this year,” she said.

Junior Leah Wethington, who attends basketball games, is enthusiastic at the thought of attending the big game in a fresh location.

“It will be really cool [for the teams] to play basketball in a place that has such a great reputation for basketball,” Wethington said.

Another reason for the enthusiasm is the size of Allen Fieldhouse, which will allow many more Free State and Lawrence High fans to attend the game.   

Junior guard Erin Cushing is eager to be able to cheer on the boys team thanks to the greater number of seats.

“Being that the guys play right after us, our teams like to watch and support them but in the past at the LHS games there have been no room to sit. Now that we have more space, we will be able to watch,” Cushing said.

Senior guard Jacob Pavlyak expresses the importance of being able to play in such an iconic location.

“I think it will be cool to play in one of the greatest venues of basketball in the nation because this is the hometown and that’s where it was founded,” Pavlyak said.

Bishop also agrees about the opportunity to play in such an historic location.

Being in Lawrence, you always see KU mens basketball play [in Allen Fieldhouse] and to have it be [the location of] our rivalry game is incredible because I know the crowd will all be there and they’ll all be cheering”

— Jaycee Bishop

“Being in Lawrence, you always see KU mens basketball play [in Allen Fieldhouse] and to have it be [the location of] our rivalry game is incredible because I know the crowd will all be there and they’ll all be cheering,” Bishop said.

At the front of Allen Field House, the statue of Phog Allen stands to remind citizens of the history of basketball in Lawrence. Allen Field House is the home of Kansas basketball and has seen players like Danny Manning, Wilt Chamberlain and Mario Chalmers.

 

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The School Newspaper of Lawrence Free State High School
City basketball showdown to be played at Allen Fieldhouse