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The three-week sprint to the end of the regular season began with Tuesday night’s game, which included three matchups between city teams. Here’s what went down…

-For three quarters, Seaman hung tough at home with Highland Park in boys basketball action, but the fourth quarter belonged to the Scots. Juan’Tario Roberts began getting to the basket and scoring at will and he sparked a 17-0 run that gave the Scots breathing room in what ultimately became a 60-45 win. Roberts, who has had some tough games in January and February, is still one of the most capable scorers in the city, and he proved it with a 22-point effort against the stubborn Vikings. Seaman had a balanced offensive attack with three in double figures, led by Mateo Hyman‘s 11 points, but they just didn’t have the answer when Highland Park cranked it up in the final frame. The Scots continue to prove their toughness and are looking the part of a 5A contender. In the girls game at Seaman, the visiting Lady Scots deserve a ton of credit for putting a scare into the Lady Vikes, especially with top post player Aisya Taylor out for the game and with only six players available. Sanetra Jackson’s girls played their hearts out, led by Dariauna Carter‘s 22 points, and you can tell that as Jackson puts her stamp on the program and as it grows in numbers and talent, they’re going to be hard to play against every night. It just wasn’t enough last night to get past the deeper, talented Lady Vikes, who got 22 points from Camryn Turner in a 56-45 win. Seaman’s not blowing teams out but they are finding ways to get better as games go along and they are strong fourth quarter closers.

-It was a road sweep for Topeka High’s boys and girls at Hayden last night. The Lady Trojans did what they do, racing out to an early lead and lapping the competition in a 67-33 win to remain undefeated. Nija Canady and Kiki Smith carried the big weight for the offense as usual, with Canady scoring 22 points and Smith adding 17. Sophia Purcell tried to keep her team in the game, scoring 12 points, but the Lady Wildcats became the 16th victim of Topeka High’s astounding season to date. In the boys contest, Topeka High won what ended up the rubber game in a three-game season series, getting past the Wildcats 55-45 and staying a game back of Washburn Rural in the league race. Jalen Smith went off for 19 points while Da’Vonshai Harden added 16 and did the dirty work defensively in the post with King Sutton dealing with foul trouble. Hayden got another big night from Vacarrio Triplett, who scored 18 points, but they weren’t able to muster a fourth-quarter rally.

-Don’t look now, but the Shawnee Heights Thunderbirds and Lady T-Birds might be getting hot at the right time, as both teams earned wins over Topeka West. The T-Bird boys snuck past the Chargers 51-50 for one of their best wins of the season. Ken Darting always says he doesn’t have a great shooting basketball team, but they certainly were that Tuesday night, with Isiah Johnson burying five three pointers and Zander Putthoff cashing in three triples of his own. Without Marquis Barksdale for the rest of the season, it’d be easy for Heights to make excuses, but they’re not interested in that as they’ve run off three straight wins since their senior power forward went out. It’s a tough loss for the Chargers, their second straight, but they’ve got no time to brood over it with Junction City on the docket Wednesday night. In the girls game, Heights blew open a close game in the second half for a 55-36 triumph over the Lady Chargers. Kam Wells has always been capable of big scoring nights, and the senior had one, pouring in a game-high 21 points. The Lady T-Birds have now won four straight games.

-Washburn Rural came away with victories in boys and girls action against Emporia, and both games were defensive struggles – which is A-OK with Kevin Bordewick and Kevin Muff. The Lady Blues stayed within a game of Topeka High for the Centennial League lead ahead of their big showdown Friday night by beating Emporia 39-28. Rural got 11 points from Kasey Hamilton and stifled the Lady Spartans completely, never allowing them to go on a run to threaten them late. The boys game was similarly tight, but Rural scored the final seven points of the game for a 38-31 victory. Once again, Josh Williams came up with clutch plays in the fourth quarter, scoring back-to-back hoops to break a 31-31 deadlock. Williams’ 11 points led the Junior Blues’ offensive efforts as they stayed atop the Centennial League with Highland Park and Topeka High hot on their heels.

CENTENNIAL LEAGUE STANDINGS AFTER TUESDAY NIGHT

BOYS

Washburn Rural – 8-2
Highland Park – 7-2
Topeka High – 7-3
Manhattan – 6-3
Topeka West – 5-3
Junction City  – 3-5
Emporia – 2-6
Hayden – 2-8
Seaman – 1-9

GIRLS

Topeka High – 10-0
Washburn Rural – 9-1
Seaman – 7-3
Emporia – 4-4
Manhattan – 4-5
Hayden – 4-6
Highland Park – 2-7
Topeka West – 1-7
Junction City – 0-8

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