Kern’s goals: Play hard, win
To understand David Kern's importance to Lansing High sports during the past four years, you have to ignore his stats.
After all, he does.
Kern doesn't care that he led Lansing in catches, receiving yards and touchdown receptions during football season. He doesn't care that he was fourth on the team in total tackles. It's the same reason he doesn't care about being the No. 3 scorer on the basketball team this season.
In Kern's eyes, sports aren't about him. They're about winning.
"David is the least individual-oriented person," LHS basketball coach Don Allen said. "His only goal is to win a basketball game. He doesn't care if he scores zero points or 30 points. He just wants everybody around him to play as hard as he does, and he wants to win."
Kern doesn't want Wednesday's Class 5A substate basketball opener at Gardner-Edgerton to be his last high school game. But if it is, he can handle it because he said he won't have any regrets.
"You always hear people talk about 10 years from now you want to look back and not have any regrets," he said. "That's why I think it's incredibly important to play your best. You don't have to have a good game, but just know that you played your hardest. That's what I think everybody on the team is trying to do."
The others may be doing it, but Kern is the ringleader. He has drawn the toughest defensive assignment every game for the last two years. He is looked to for big shots, and he handles the ball during clutch situations. That was the case again Thursday night against Bonner Springs when Kern scored 11 of his game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter to lead LHS to a 56-54 victory.
"Chances are he got a bucket when we had to have a bucket. He got a board when we had to have a board. He made a free throw when we had to have a free throw," Allen said. "Sometimes I've probably counted on him too much over the last few years, but the kid steps up and does his job. He just comes out and plays. It's a luxury that you don't appreciate until it's gone."
When basketball season ends, it likely will be Kern's final time suiting up in a Lansing uniform. He doesn't play a spring sport, and he said he probably will get a job.
He hinted that it was possible he could be swayed to come out of retirement.
"Shawn Jung isn't going out for tennis this year, so (Matt) Warner needs a doubles partner," Kern said with a grin. I was kind of thinking about that, but I don't know."
For now, though, Kern isn't worried about the spring. He's focused on extending basketball season as long as possible and trying to make a run at the state tournament.
"State would be amazing," he said. "But if we play our best, I'm not going to be disappointed if we don't go. I think if we do the best we can, there's not much else we can do about it if we run into a team that's just better than us."
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