The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


St. Mark's School of Texas
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The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


Season of Champions
Ben Adams and Hayden Meyers February 16, 2024

Laczkowski, Lions celebrate milestone with win

Zachary Bashour
Junior Luke Laczkowski celebrates his 1,000-point milestone and hits a game-tying 3 in an overtime victory.

Luke Laczkowski didn’t really expect the shot to go in. He watched it fly for a second, before moving quickly to get back on defense. It was just another shot.

It had been a tough night for the entire Lions team. The Hornets were on a 20-game winning streak, and boasted a combination of elite scoring and lights-out shooting, as well as a strong, swarming defense. Down 77-74, the Lions needed a moment of magic.

He wasn’t supposed to be the one shooting on that play, but when the newest 1000-point Lion Laczkowski rose up, with a hand in his face and ten seconds on the clock, it was only right that he sank it. 

“I passed the ball to Pranav [Danda, sophomore], and then Pranav looked back at me,” Laczkowski said, “So we did a dribble handoff and I just went up with it, hoping that if I missed someone would get a rebound.”

In a way, that contested three-pointer to drive the game into overtime symbolized the Lions’ entire night – hard fought, inspired, magical and just a little bit lucky.

“I can’t recall having been at a more exciting basketball game,” assistant athletic director Josh Friesen said. “Both teams were so clutch throughout the game, hitting big shot after big shot and answering each other’s runs with a run of their own. I really enjoyed watching it from a basketball fan’s perspective, just because both teams were so clutch.”

At the start of the game, Laczkowski and the Lions came roaring out of the gates on offense as the teams traded buckets. At the end of the first quarter, they led by a score of 23-19.

“They hit a couple of threes at the beginning, so I thought it’d be cool to get hot; I hit my first three [three-pointers] which was fun,” Laczkowski said. “Not really anything I meant to do – the shots were just falling.”

But, as the game wore on, the Lions wore down. In the second quarter, they would squander the lead, going into halftime down four. 

“I was feeling pretty exhausted,” Laczkowski said. “I used a ton of energy in the first quarter, and I guess towards mid-second quarter I was struggling to get up and down the court.”

The situation deteriorated further for the team when the Hornets went on a quick run out of halftime, leading the score at 56-38 and quieting the Lions’ home crowd. But, the team refused to give up, staying locked in to the game and focused on chipping away at the lead.

“We never felt like we were completely out of the game,” Laczkowski said. “I did personally on the court at one moment, and then I just kept hearing the fans cheering and everyone supporting us. I’m like, ‘There’s no way we can’t make this game close’.” 

And they would make it close. The team refused to go away, fighting for every point as the third quarter came to a close. Greenhill lead, 61-50. But, the Lions’ valiant spirit wouldn’t be quenched there.

“When we got the lead down to 10 points, I was like, ‘There’s no way we can’t win this game’,” Laczkowski said. “We just never gave up – that was kind of our focus in the timeout; we put in the work and just trusted each other.”

The Lions defense finally ground the Greenhill offense to a halt, as the score jumped from 61-50 to 64-all within the span of minutes. From there on out, it was a race to the finish line, with a newly energized Laczkowski at the helm.

“I was just really tired, so I just knew I wanted something to eat,” Laczkowski said. “So my dad bought a Snickers bar and gave it to [junior] Henry Estes and then Henry gave it to me. I had a Snickers bar and I think that’s what sparked me in the fourth quarter to hit the shots.”

But, characterizing this effort as only Laczkowski’s work would be irresponsible. The contributions of the other starters, which included freshman Dawson Battie, seniors Lucas Blumenthal and Brian Graham, and the aforementioned sophomore Danda helped spur the team on in overtime, eventually pushing St. Mark’s to an 87-83 win.

“Brian had a couple huge threes that definitely helped get us back in the game,” Laczkowski said. “And his two offensive boards really late in the game helped us get multiple extra possessions.”

A constant force behind the Lions’ win was the support of the student section, which, amongst singing the national anthem in light of a technical difficulty, was always fired up for the team.

“[The student section] ignited a fire under us,” Laczkowski said. “After every big play, or every time they made a mistake, we’d always hear something. It was so much fun, especially after everyone stormed the court. That’s what you live for.”

For Laczkowski, the win was the perfect end to a night in which he was recognized for scoring 1000 points as a St. Mark’s varsity basketball player – a feat which his brother, Tate Laczkowski ‘22 accomplished as well.

“The cheerleaders made the sign, and then I looked up into the stands and there’s 10 signs with my name that multiple moms made, which meant a lot to me,” Laczkowski said. It shows how good of a community St. Mark’s is and how special our bond is on this team.”

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About the Contributors
Neil Yepuri, Sports Editor
Zachary Bashour, Head Photographer