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The 13-1 Lancers take on the 9-6 Shawnee Mission Northwest Cougars on friday night at East. This will be the second to last home game played in the regular season with the possibility of hosting sub-state as well. The Lancers are coming off a nice victory over Olathe South on tuesday night, while the Cougars are coming in with a 5 game winning streak including a win over Olathe East who is one of the top teams in the Sunflower League.
For Mike Rose’s Northwest squad, 6’4” junior forward Brady Skeens is their key player who will likely be matched up with Zach Schneider. Skeens is coming off a double double against Olathe North. Running the show at point guard for the Cougars will be 6’0” junior Keaton Cross who is very capable. Another big scoring threat is 6’2” senior Luke Fields who has put up good numbers this season as a wing.
The Cougars are a deep team that consistently plays eight or nine players in their lineup. Defensively coach Rose likes to run a man to man predominantly and sometimes will try to run a trap. They play several guys around 6’4” and are not a small guard oriented team like Lawrence or Olathe South who East has played most recently.
The Lancers want to keep feeding their front court in Zach Schneider and Lucas Jones who have both played a huge role in the success this team has seen thus far.
“Consistently we want to keep getting the ball inside,” Head Coach Shawn Hair said. “Schneider is playing unbelievable right now. He has had 21 points in the last two games and has hit big shot after big shot. Schneider and Lucas have a great bond its just awesome.”
After hitting the game winner against Lawrence last Friday, Schneider had another stellar performance against Olathe South and will look to keep his efficient scoring going.
“I hope we aren’t overlooking them because it’s a Shawnee Mission versus Shawnee Mission,” Hair said. “It is going to be a tough game, we’re in a position now where everybody is coming after us. We are kind of the hot team and if we don’t rise to the challenge, people will knock us off. It happens all the time.”
The key to the game will be how Northwest can defend the Lancer’s big men. Schneider and Jones have not been contained this year other than in the McPherson game which is their only loss on the season. Two interesting matchups to watch will be Schneider against Skeens who are arguably the two best players on each team, and also senior guard Chase Hanna against Luke Fields who is the best scoring guard for the Cougars. Both teams are hot right now and it should be an interesting district battle.