East and Rockhurst, the main out-of-conference rivalry for the Lancers, will be clashing for the second time this season tomorrow night. The East main gym will be booming — expect masses of students and guests. The hype is real.
The two varsity teams have both struggled this season. The Lancers hold a 2-10 record while the Hawklets of Rockhurst are 7-9. With East has had a tougher schedule, facing the likes of SM North and SM West Rockhurst’s, while Rockhurst’s schedule has been fairly normal, facing lower-ranked teams.
“We have had some tough breaks, our kids have played their tails off, we have lost at the buzzer, at overtime, at double-overtime,” varsity coach Shawn Hair said. “They have done a great job, I couldn’t be prouder of them, if we caught a few breaks we could easily be 10-2.”
Earlier this year, Rockhurst beat the Lancers with a buzzer-beater to win the game by 3 points, so this game will be the last chance for this years’ seniors to beat Rockhurst.
The game is going to be held at East and both the players and the coaches feel that the home court advantage will help the team with more people coming to watch.
“If we score one bucket everyone goes crazy, which gets us going and it could lead to a big run of scoring if we keep that energy,” senior forward, Luke Ehly said.
East is coming off a win last week against Wichita North and hope to gain momentum from the game on Friday.
“It is a big turning point because we still haven’t beaten a well-respected team and rivalry games are huge, they are what really spur our team and get us going,” Ehly said.
As for Rockhurst, they have a simple game plan that involves junior guard Chris Teahan, who has just come back after a brief injury, and getting to the three-point-line.
“It is simply to play our game with a focused effort and heightened intensity in front of a great environment,” Rockhurst senior shooting guard, Grant Hiss said.
East plans to counter that game plan by controlling their rebounding, three-point shooting and of course, the guard, Teahan.
“As far as biggest threat, it’s hard to say because they are all very good players and we need to take care of the basketball, rebound and knock down some shots,” Hair said. “If we do that we will be in great shape on Friday.”