Topeka West's Elijah Brooks gets the dunk against Washburn Rural

[Photo by Rex Wolf / TSN Sports

Rossville's Torrey Horak (left) & Corey Catron TSN Shawnee County co-offensive players of the year

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Winningest FB coach in Hayden FB History HC Bill Arnold with staff

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Shawnee Heights Luke Perkins

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Rossville HC Derick Hammes TSN Shawnee County coach of the year

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Brooks leads way with 32 points as West boys top Rural, 69-57

Rick Peterson

By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

Obviously there's still a lot of work to be done if Topeka West's boys basketball team wants to make another run at a Class 5A state title.

But veteran coach Rick Bloomquist had very few complaints about the way his Chargers, second in 5A last season, started the year Friday night, with West topping Washburn Rural 69-57 in a battle between the Centennial League stalwarts at West.

"It was a great start,'' Bloomquist said. "Those Washburn Rural kids are competitive, they're winners and they're well-coached, so we knew it was going to be a test for us without a doubt. I was a little concerned about a hangover from last year, but I don't think we had too much of a hangover. I thought we played pretty well. 

"We have a lot of things to work on, especially free throws and silly fouls but you don't want to be perfect now, you want to be perfect later.''

ElijahBrooks2WRTopeka West senior Elijah Brooks slams down a dunk on the way to a 32-point performance in West's 69-57 season-opening win over Washburn Rural. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Senior star Elijah Brooks, a returning All-Shawnee County first-teamer, was the ringleader for the Chargers, scoring 12 points with four dunks in the first 10 minutes on the way to a monster 32-point night as West returned to the court for the first time since falling to Maize in the 5A state championship game in March.

Brooks said it was great to get back out on the court.

"I don't know if it was excitement or nerves, but I think we were all ready for this game,'' Brooks said.

Junior Sincere Austin joined Brooks in double figures with 13 points while senior Zander Putthoff had nine points on three 3-pointers as Topeka West only trailed once in the game, at 2-0.

Brooks' early dunkfest helped Topeka West build an early 24-8 lead and the Chargers went on to take a 31-18 lead at the half.

Washburn Rural battled back in the second half to get within seven points late in the third quarter and the Junior Blues got as close as seven again late in the game, but were unable to get any closer as West shot 58.5 percent from the field and hit enough free throws (14 of 29) to hold Rural at bay.

QuinceyKiddTWWashburn Rural senior Quincey Kidd, reacting to a play Friday night, led the Junior Blues with 18 points in a 69-57 loss at Topeka West. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Rural, which shot 50 percent from the field and connected on 17 of 19 free throw attempts, got 18 points from senior Quincey Kidd, 13 from junior Jack Bachelor and 12 points from sophomore Griffin Durst. 

"I thought we showed some fight in the second quarter and then we cut it to seven in the third and seven in the fourth so we had two opportunities where we kind of got it close, but Elijah was just a little bit too much,'' Washburn Rural coach Kevin Muff said.

Rural used several players Friday that were seeing their first varsity action.

"We're brand new, but they'll figure it out,'' Muff said. "It may take just a little bit of time.'' 

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Former T-Bird star Fulks works way into playing time for Washburn women

Rick Peterson, Top Sports News Writer

By RICK PETERSON
TopSports.news

Coaches always preach to players that if they work hard enough good things will happen.

Washburn University women's basketball freshman Alie Fulks, a former Shawnee Heights basketball and soccer standout, is proof of that.

FulksAlie Fulks

Things didn't exactly go the way Fulks envisioned when she originally joined the Ichabods, but the 5-foot-9 guard has no complaints with how things have worked out so far.

The plan was for Fulks to play for the Washburn junior varsity in the 2020-2021 season, but she never got the chance when COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the entire JV season.

But Fulks continued to show up for practice every day with the varsity, got the opportunity to suit up for the Ichabods and even got into two games for Washburn in mopup time.

"At the end of the year I looked back and reflected and I felt like I improved a lot on my game and just as a player in general,'' Fulks said.

AlieFulksShawnee Heights product Alie Fulks scored the first points of her college career on a 3-pointer in Washburn's 72-50 loss to No. 1-ranked Fort Hays State Wednesday night. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

Fulks continued to improve over the offseason and has moved into a more prominent role this season, progressing to the point that veteran Ichabod coach Ron McHenry put her in the game in the first half of Wednesday's MIAA opener against the nation's No. 1-ranked Division II team, Fort Hays State.

"I was a little shocked, but as a bench player I'm always ready to hear my name and step into the role that I need to be for the team,'' said Fulks, who played 9 minutes, 13 seconds in the Ichabods' 72-50 loss to the Tigers.

"For sure I was excited to get in there and just help in any way I could with the team. It sucks with the loss, but it's really exciting to hear my name called and get out there and get in the fight with my teammates.''

The highlight of the night came with 4:35 remaining when Fulks canned a 3-pointer from the top of the key for the first points of her college career.

"It was exciting, but we were down pretty good so the first instinct is to get back on defense and try to keep going,'' Fulks said.

Now the goal for Fulks, who continues to see spot duty for the junior varsity, is to keep moving forward.

"Looking back and looking at where I am now, I've just come so far and I'm looking forward to keep improving and helping the team out.'' 

WU volleyball rolls to NCAA Central Region semis with 3-1 win over Winona State

Rick Peterson, Top Sports News Writer

By RICK PETERSON
TopSports.news

The No. 5-seeded Washburn University volleyball team got off to a lightning start Thursday night and didn't slow down much the rest of the night, rolling to a 3-1 win over No. 4 seed Winona State in the NCAA Central Region quarterfinals and earning a spot in Friday's semifinals at Warrensburg, Mo.

Washburn, which improved to 27-5 on the season, overwhelmed the Warriors 25-12 in a first-set victory.

Then, after Winona State (28-5) bounced back to a take a 25-19 second-set win, Washburn closed out its victory with 25-16 and 25-17 victories.

WUjubeNCAAsWashburn's volleyball team celebrates a point during Thursday's 3-1 win over Winona State in an NCAA Central Regional quarterfinal at Warrensburg, Mo. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics}

With the win the Ichabods advanced to a 7:30 regional semifinal Friday night to face top regional seed and tournament host Central Missouri, which swept Arkansas Tech 3-0 in the quarterfinals. Washburn has split its previous two matches with the Jennies this season. 

The quarterfinal match was back-and-forth to start as neither team held a lead of more than two points until Washburn put together an 18-2 scoring tear to take a commanding 23-9 advantage. Allison Maxwell put the set away with a kill to give the Ichabods a 1-0 lead.

The second set started out similar to the first, but it was the Warriors who put together a 9-2 run to go in front, 17-13. Trailing 19-14, the Ichabods won five of the next six points to pull within one, but that would be as close as it got as Winona State closed out the set with five unanswered points.

The Warriors scored the first two points of the third frame, but Washburn responded with a 9-1 run and never looked back. Genna Berg ended the 25-16 win with her seventh kill in the set.

Winona State took an early lead and was up 9-7 in the fourth set when a kill from Sydney Fitzgibbons sparked an 8-2 run to give the Ichabods a 15-11 lead. The teams traded points until Berg knocked down a kill to make it 21-16 and Washburn went on to claim four of the final five points, capped off by a kill by Kelsey Gordon.

Washburn hit .232 on the night while Winona State was limited to an .084 hitting percentage. The Ichabods led in kills, 52-43, and in digs, 85-71.

Berg led all players with 19 kills and added 14 digs to record her seventh double-double of the season. Maxwell knocked down a dozen kills and Gordon also contributed double-figure kills with 10. Defensively, Gordon and Fitzgibbons were a wall at the net and were a part of seven blocks.

Setter Allison Sadler recorded her 10th double-double with 40 assists to go with 14 digs.

Washburn senior Faith Rottinghaus led all players with 27 digs in the Ichabods' 3-1 win over Winona State in a Central Region quarterfinal Thursday night at Warrensburg, Mo. [Photo  courtesy of Washburn Athletics]Washburn senior Faith Rottinghaus led all players with 27 digs in the Ichabods' 3-1 win over Winona State in a Central Region quarterfinal Thursday night at Warrensburg, Mo. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

In the back court, Shawnee Heights product Faith Rottinghaus led all players with 27 digs. Taylor Antonowich scooped up 12 digs and landed two of Washburn's six service aces.

For the Warriors, Megan Flom had 17 kills and a .239 hitting percentage.

Nebraska-Kearney, which knocked off Northwest Missouri in the quarterfinals, will meet Concordia-St. Paul in Friday's first semifinal at 5 p.m.

MATCH RESULT

Washburn def. Winona State, 25-12, 19-25, 25-16, 25-17.