Two great city rivalries were on the docket for Friday night, another exciting night of basketball. Here’s what transpired…
-On our Envista Credit Union Game of the Week, Highland Park moved into sole possession of second place in the Centennial League with a 56-44 win over Topeka West at a packed ‘Pressure Cooker’. The Scots were in full command of the game once they took the lead in the second quarter and never let the visiting Chargers go on a run to make the game tight in the second half. CJ Powell continued his dominant play of late, pouring in a game-high 21 points, while Jahi Peppers added 16 points. Elijah Brooks tried his best to drag the Chargers back in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 of his team-leading 13 points in the frame, but they were the only points of the final quarter for West as the Scots frustrated the Chargers offensively. In the girls contest, the Lady Scots held off the Lady Chargers 42-40 to earn a season-series split. Aisya Taylor feasted on the block for Highland Park, scoring 20 points, but in the fourth quarter it was Dariauna Carter‘s skill and senior savvy making plays to see the Lady Scots through to the win. Topeka West was led by Miyah Larson‘s 14 points, and they had a three-point shot to win it in the final seconds that just missed.
-It was a nailbiter in the boys game at the Ken Bueltel Activities Center, and a low-scoring affair that left both coaches pleased with the defensive effort on display. But Washburn Rural had the offense they needed to pull ahead after falling behind by five with half the fourth quarter gone, and the Junior Blues held off Hayden 38-35. Noah Krueger made the shot that kicked off Rural’s decisive 8-0 run, with Joe Berry making the go-ahead shot and Josh Williams making clutch plays on both ends. Hayden got 10 points from John Roeder and they played the game they needed to play to try and earn the upset, but in the end Rural had the playmakers to stay atop the Centennial League standings. It was a road sweep for Rural hoops as the Lady Blues topped Hayden, 52-40. Kasey Hamilton started hot for Rural and remained that way throughout the game, scoring 24 points. The result was a sign of how much the Lady Wildcats have improved this year, but it also showed that the Lady Blues are developing some road toughness.
-Topeka High picked up two victories at The Dungeon. The Lady Trojans eased to 15-0 with an 81-23 victory over the Lady Jays. Against overmatched competition, the Lady Trojans aren’t messing around, jumping out to huge leads and allowing their starters to rest their legs late. Nija Canady poured in 25 points and the Smith sisters, Kiki and Lilly, combined for 34. In the boys game, Eric King’s Trojans proved once again that the fourth quarter is when they play their best, beating Junction City 60-51. The Trojans held the Jays to just seven points in the final period. Da’Vonshai Harden led the way with 18 points while King Sutton added 17 as the Trojans stayed a game behind Rural in the league.
-The Seaman girls finished off a season-series sweep of Manhattan in convincing fashion, topping the Indians 57-34 in Manhattan. Another monster game from Chloe Carter boosted the Lady Vikes, as she poured in 24 points. The Lady Vikes have won five in a row and are rolling towards home-court advantage in the 5A sub-states. The Vikings boys were unable to build on their first win of the season from the night previous, as they fell to a Manhattan team that was starving for a win themselves. Seaman’s offense never got rolling and Manhattan won in a 65-39 rout.
-Shawnee Heights’ boys and girls each earned road wins at Leavenworth. The Heights boys got 21 points from Harvey Davis Jr. and 19 points from three-point ace Isiah Johnson as they pulled away from the Pioneers in a 62-49 win. The Lady T-Birds rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to top Leavenworth 46-43, with back court mates Alie Fulks and Kam Wells each scoring 13 points. The T-Birds and Lady T-Birds should both be flying high after picking up a pair of road victories this week.