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The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

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Geneva Sabatini
Geneva Sabatini
Assistant Design Editor

Geneva is a junior at Free State. She is a photographer and designer on journalism staff. She runs track and cross country and is apart of NHS and LINK. Outside of school, she loves to spend time with...

SPORTS: Weekend Madness

NCAA Final Four recap
Graphic made by Eli Roust.

Following the first week of April, the NCAA March Madness games are down to the Final Four for both the men’s and women’s brackets. The action-packed weekend saw a fierce matchup against their opponents and impressed sports fans around the country. 

The NCAA women’s basketball Final Four matchup took place at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio on April 5. Kicking off the match day, No. 1 seed women’s basketball school University of Iowa Hawkeyes defeated No. 3 University of Connecticut Huskies, 69-71. 

Leading into the first half, Iowa University’s prominent guard, senior Caitlin Clark was not able to capitalize on the team’s offensive power. The Hawkeyes defense also saw multiple turnovers and steals by the Huskies which resulted in poor offensive plays. The Huskies were up 32-26 by the end of the first half. 

By the end of the third quarter, the Hawkeyes were able to level out the score, 51-51. The Huskies and the Hawkeyes kept close contention with their scores until the end of the fourth quarter. 

With just nine seconds left on the clock, an offensive foul was called for the Huskie forward senior Aaliyah Edwards which gave back ball possession to the Hawkeyes. Seconds later, Huskie guard Junior Paige Bueckers fouled Clark. The Hawkeyes were able to conceive a free throw to extend their lead. 

The powerful Huskie offense was not able to get the ball back in time to score another net. With only a few seconds left, the Hawkeyes ended the game with a thrilling win. 

Later that evening, No. 1 seed University of South Carolina Gamecocks dominantly defeated No. 3  North Carolina State University Wolfpack, 78-59. 

Throughout the first half, both teams were neck-to-neck in their offense and defense with South Carolina only managing to hold the lead by just a point by the end of the first half.  

After the halftime break, the Wolfpack defense could not do anything to stop the consistent offensive plays by the Gamecocks led by leading game scorer senior Kamilla Cardoso. 

The Gamecocks left the stadium that night with an undefeated record of 37-0. Cardoso and the Gamecocks established themselves an electric win to secure themselves a spot in the NCAA championship final. 

Over at the Men’s side of the Final Four Bracket, the match-up was held on Saturday, April 6 at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. 

Starting the day, the No. 1 seed Purdue University Boilermakers were up against No. 11 North Carolina State University Wolfpack for a spot in the championship final.

NC State’s wolfpack pulled off a surprise win last week against No. 4 seed and state rivals Duke University. Coming into the game against Purdue, they were the underdog favorites. 

Coming into the first half, the Boilermakers were leading the game 35-29 with the Wolfpack trailing by four points. 

North Carolina’s defense didn’t seem to hold together following the first half while Purdue stood high and kept scoring nets to only extend their lead. 

The wolfpack was not able to regain their deficit and Purdue ended up having a comfortable win with a final score of 63-50. 

Following the opening match, 2023 champions University of Connecticut Huskies defeated No. 4 University of Alabama Crimson Tide, 72-86, to secure themselves a spot to defend their title. 

The Crimson Tide seemed confident of ending UConn’s championship-winning hopes; however, the Huskies took hold of their advantageous offense led by freshmen guard Stephon Castle and sophomore center Donovan Clingan. They were able to break through the Crimson Tide defense with ease.

The Alabama offense however did not give up with their game and kept fighting till the last minute. By the end of the first half, the Huskies were up 44-40, with Alabama only trailing by four points. 

During the next half, the Huskies kept their composure. The Crimson Tide were not able to capitalize on UConn’s powerful defense, thus the Huskies were able to maintain their lead and secure the win. 

Purdue University’s Boilermakers will take on the defending champions University of Connecticut Huskies for a chance to make history tonight, April 8. The duel will take place in the State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona at 8:20 p.m. central time.

About the Contributor
Rakshan Ossen
Rakshan Ossen, Reporter
Rakshan Ossen is a sophomore at Free State and is a reporter for FSJ. He devotes himself to the Free State community by being involved with many clubs at school. Outside of his academic life, he finds himself being an enthusiast in Formula 1 Racing, playing sports and taking architectural photography.
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