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Lyons boys basketball team rallies behind coach in strong 2020-21 season

Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 8:41 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Less than six months have passed since a shooting in Lyons injured a Lyons police officer and the high school’s boys basketball coach. Officer Cory Ryan and Coach Bryan Friess suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the October incident. As spring approaches, both have recovered and Friess has his team within two wins of a Class 3A State Tournament birth.

In the small, Rice County town of Lyons, the tightknit community wasn’t prepared for what happened on Oct. 16, 2020. It’s a day Friess said will forever be on his mind.

“I think mentally, I’ll always remember exactly what happened,” he said.

Friess said his leg that was wounded “still bothers (him) a little bit,” but physically he said he feels well.

“I feel really good,” he said. “I’m very fortunate.”

Eyewitness News previously caught up with Friess when he returned to the court with his team in December. Toward the end of the season, he said his team and the sport they love has helped him get through personal hardships and tragedy in 2020. While recovering from the shooting was difficult, he said nothing compares to what happened to his family a few months before that.

“May 13th, we lost our daughter,” Friess said.

He said losing his daughter to her three-year cancer battle was traumatic for him and his wife.

“And then, we were just starting to get over that because we had all the ‘thank yous’ to write and we thought we were finally back to normal, or whatever normal is,” Friess said. “And then the shooting happened on October 16th. And so that started the grieving process all over again, But we’ve had so much support from our community and it’s been wonderful what our town has done for us.”

Lyons players say they were scared after learning that there coach was injured in a shooting.

“I didn’t know what happened, so then I just started asking around, ‘what happened?’ And then found out my coach had just been shot, I was immediately speechless and scared,” Lyons boys basketball team co-captain, junior Dawson Stover said.

The Lyons Lions are headed to the Hesston sub-state semifinals where the team wants to win for Coach Friess.

“I mean, with everything that has happened, it’ll be special if we can get (to a sub-state championship), and we hope to do that,” Lyons boys basketball team co-captain, senior Trey McClure said.

At 15-4, Friess said his excited that his team has a chance. Representing a quiet town, Lyons hopes to make noise by continuing to win.

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