Larks take one step forward and one back in regional play

John Ruth – Sports Editor

The home crowd celebrates each win, and mourns each loss. Lark fans experienced a bit of both this past week starting with a huge win over Highland Community College and ending with Saturday’s painful loss to rival Johnson County and an overall record of 15-7.

Sophomore Cody Halvorson. Photo by Tori Byler
Sophomore Cody Halvorson. Photo by Tori Byler

The Larks came into game 3 of regionals with a record of 2-1, and they were not backing down from another challenge against Highland. The passionate Larks crowd was there like always to support their “family,” and the boys wearing white must have sensed their energy; they were not alone in this battle.

Throughout the game passionate fans teased the opposing players as if to put a stop to their swagger. The game went into yet another thriller, like the team was saying thank you to the fans. It came down to a late, yet huge 3 from sharp-shooter Cody Halverson to tie the game in the final ticks of the clock. Lark fans raised their hands, holding up three fingers, roaring over Highland’s coach’s timeout plead. With a late surge spurred by passion, team chemistry and that huge 3-pointer, the team ended up besting Highland 86-79.

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Students huddle up with players after Highland home game to celebrate win. Photo by Tori Byler

As the final buzzer sounded, the fans knew what to do, rushing down to center court to form a large huddle with their victorious, now 3-1 regional team.

Coach Dustin Galyon appreciates the support.

“I’m so thankful for the students coming and people having fun,” said Galyon. “It’s the best place to play in our region.”

Entering game 4 of regionals, the Larks were ready for what was next, a contest against Johnson County Community College. Coach Galyon and his players wanted that W. So did the passionate Lark crowd. Galyon said the Lark energy gives the team an edge.

“It’s a huge advantage and makes for an even more exciting event.”

But the support coming from the stands couldn’t protect the Larks. Galyon said early problems for the boys in white – turn-overs and little presence guarding the paint – plagued them.

The game was close until the second half when Johnson County went on a run and took over for a while. It looked like the game might be out of reach.

Cue the Lark fans.

With the roar of the crowed behind them, a second wind took the Larks on a run of their own, tying Johnson County at 80 with three seconds left on the clock. The home team had the ball coming out of a time out. The Larks had a chance to win in at the buzzer!

Enthusiastic cries from fans ready to storm the court turned into disappointed sighs as the ball hit the rim and bounced back after a last second jumper missed.

Overtime.

Then the Larks seemed to lose control, especially with about a minute left. Coach Galyon was looking at an L in record books. That wasn’t letting that stop him and his players. He had more important things to worry about; learning from the loss and preparing for the next game.

“I’m pleased overall and am very excited about what we’re doing,” Galyon said later. “I like that the guys have stepped up on different nights.”

The Larks will need to step it up again going on big road stretch, and in tonight’s game at Kansas City Community College.

 

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