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Topeka West rolls to Topeka Invitational final, will face Northwest

By Rick Peterson

TopSports.news

The question, in the wake of Topeka West's 50-point first half against St. Marys Friday night, wasn't that surprising, but neither was Charger coach Rick Bloomquist's answer

After West put on a clinic in the first half of its Topeka Invitational Tournament semifinal en route to opening up a commanding 50-25 lead, Bloomquist was asked if the Chargers' could play any better.

"I hope so,'' Bloomquist said with a big smile. "I'm planning on playing better every game, but we played very well. We moved the ball well and we guarded against the David-Goliath syndrome that a lot of people suffer from.

"We talked about playing against the game itself and not against the team that we're playing against and I thought our kids did a very good job of that.''

The pace slowed somewhat after the break, but the 9-1 Chargers were never seriously threatened, forcing a running clock late in the game en route to an 85-55 victory over the 9-2 Bears.

ElijahBrooksStMary1Topeka West senior Elijah Brooks soars in for one of his four dunks in Friday night's 85-55 Topeka Invitational semifinal win over St. Marys. Brooks scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Senior Elijah Brooks led Topeka West, ranked No. 4 in Class 5A, with 30 points, 11 rebounds and four dunks while junior Xavier Alexander had 16 points with four 3-pointers and senior Zander Putthoff and junior Malachi Berg added 11 points apiece.

XavierAlexanderTopeka West junior Xavier Alexander (right) had 16 points with four 3-pointers in Friday's 85-55 semifinal win over St. Marys in the Topeka Invitational Tournament. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

With the victory, Topeka West advanced to its third Topeka Invitational final in the last five years and will face Wichita Northwest, a 66-60 winner over Highland Park, in the 2:15 p.m. championship game at Highland Park. The Chargers will be looking for their first Topeka Invitational title since 2004.

St. Marys and Topeka West were tied at 8-8 before the Chargers ended the first quarter with a 16-8 run to build a 24-16 advantage.

Things got worse for the Bears, No. 2 in 2A, in the second quarter, with Topeka West putting St. Marys away with a 26-9 second-quarter blitz.

St. Marys cut its deficit to 19 points (64-45) by the end of the third quarter but Topeka West ended its big night with a 21-10 scoring edge over the final eight minutes.

St. Marys was led by junior Keller Hurla with 16 points and three 3-pointers while 6-foot-4 senior Fred Criqui added 14 points and seven rebounds.

St. Marys will face Highland Park in the third-place game at 12:30 p.m.

WICHITA NORTHWEST 66, HIGHLAND PARK 60 -- In the midst of an outstanding season, Wichita Northwest, No. 8-ranked in 6A, scaled a new height in Friday's Topeka Invitational Tournament semifinal, knocking off Highland Park, No. 2-ranked in 5A, 66-60 on the Scots' home floor.

"I think without question this is our biggest win to this point in the season,'' Northwest coach Andy Hill said. "We have had a nice year, but when we've played the teams that are the best of the best we've come up short, so to get this one done in this environment I was real proud of them.'' 

Northwest, which improved to 9-1, jumped out to a 20-9 lead over Highland Park (9-2) with two minutes left in the opening quarter, but Highland Park battled all the way back to knot the game at 46-46 on a 3-point play from junior Ketraleus Aldridge at the 7:51 mark of the fourth quarter and the Scots went up 48-46 on a basket by senior Juan'Tario Roberts with 7:21 remaining.

Northwest quickly regained control, however, scoring six straight points and Highland Park got no closer than two points the rest of the way while the Grizzlies led by as many as nine points twice down the stretch.

AldridgeWNWJunior Ketraleus Aldridge scored a game-high 21 points in Highland Park's 66-60 semifinal loss to Wichita Northwest in the Topeka Invitational Tournament. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Aldridge scored a game-high 21 points for Highland Park and Roberts added 15, but Northwest countered with five players scoring between eight and 17 points.

Senior Kevin Brown led Northwest with 17 points while senior Kee'on Hutton added 16 points and 11 rebounds, sophomore TaSean Williams 13 points, senior Geremiah Moore 10 points and senior Demarcus Hoover eight.

SHAWNEE MISSION NORTH 63, HAYDEN 49 -- Shawnee Mission North, which improved to 2-9 on the season, led Hayden by just three points (41-38) at the end of the third quarter before taking control with a 22-11 fourth quarter.

The Bison looked to be on the verge of blowing the Wildcats out when they built a 25-8 advantage with 7:40 left in the first half but Hayden battled back to within four points and trailed 35-27 at the half.

Hayden, which fell to 1-8, never led in the game but got within three points three times in the third quarter and was still within three with less than six minutes remaining before North ended the game with a 20-9 run.

Junior Joe Otting led Hayden with a game-high 22 points and seven rebounds while junior Jake Muller added 11 points.

Senior James Shepherd led Shawnee Mission North with 21 points while senior Vincent Rolls added 14 points and 10 rebounds and senior Jaylen Gray 10 points.

Shawnee Mission North advanced to Saturday's 10:45 a.m. fifth-place game to face Lawrence, which posted a 73-62 win over Topeka High.

Hayden will play Topeka High in the seventh-place game at 9 a.m.

LAWRENCE 73, TOPEKA HIGH 62 -- Looking for its second win of the season, Topeka High led Lawrence 29-26 at halftime and was still in front 36-34 midway through the third quarter before Lawrence took control with a 15-3 run to end the third quarter.

Topeka High (1-9) battled back to get as close as four points four times in the fourth quarter, but the Lions (8-3) ended the game with an 11-4 run.

Sophomore BJ Canady had another big game for Topeka High, finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds while sophomore Bryson Thrasher added 11 points and Germane Mays and Mason Gomez scored nine points apiece. All nine of Gomez's points came on 3-pointers.

Sophomore Zaxton King led Lawrence with a game-high 25 points while senior Pearse Long added 20 points and senior Truman Juelsgaard 11 points. 

TOPEKA WEST 85, ST. MARYS 55

Topeka West 24 26 14 21 -- 85

St. Marys       16 9 20 10 -- 55

Topeka West (9-1) -- Austin 2 2-3 6, Brooks 14 2-3 30, Alexander 5 2-4 16, Berg 4 3-6 11, Putthoff 4 0-0 11, Robinson 3 0-0 6, Foy 0 0-0 0, Sowell 0 0-0 0, Noonoo 0 0-0 0, Reimer 1 0-0 2, Wilkerson 0 0-0 0, Bearman 1 1-4 3. Totals 34 10-20 85.

St. Marys (9-2) -- Jacobson 2 0-1 6, J. Hurla 2 0-0 6, K. Hurla 6 1-2 16, Homan 2 0-0 6, Criqui 6 2-3 14, DeDonder 1 0-0 2, B. Hurla 0 0-0 0, Ewing 2 1-2 5. Totals 21 4-8 55.

3-point goals -- Topeka West 7 (Alexander 4, Putthoff 3), St. Marys 9 (K. Hurla 3, Jacobson 2, J. Hurla 2, Homan 2). Total fouls -- Topeka West 13, St. Marys 15. Fouled out -- J. Hurla.

WICHITA NORTHWEST 66, HIGHLAND PARK 60

Wichita Northwest 22 15 9 20 -- 66

Highland Park 14 16 13 17 -- 60

Wichita Northwest (9-1) -- Hoover 3 1-2 8, Williams 4 2-2 13, Moore 2 4-6 10, Hutton 7 1-3 16, K. Brown 5 4-6 15, James 0-0 2-2 2, T. Brown 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23 13-20 66.

Highland Park (9-2) -- Adams 2 1-1 6, Aldridge 9 2-2 21, Richardson 4 0-1 8, Kingcannon 2 0-0 6, Roberts 5 4-6 15, Martin 0 0-0 0, Robinson 2 0-0 4. Totals 24 7-10 60.

3-point goals -- Wichita Northwest 7 (Williams 3, Moore 2, Hoover, Hutton), Highland Park 5 (Kingcannon 2, Adams, Aldridge, Roberts). Total fouls -- Wichita Northwest 11, Highland Park 15. Fouled out -- none.

SHAWNEE MISSION NORTH 63, HAYDEN 49

Hayden     8 19 11 11 -- 49

SM North 22 13 6 22 -- 63

Hayden (1-8) -- Muller 4 1-2 11, Duffey 2 2-2 7, Ham 1 0-0 2, Alfonsi 1 0-0 2, Otting 10 2-3 22, Bartlett 0 0-0 0, Gorman 1 0-0 2, Rice 0 0-0 0, Ridley 1 0-0 3. Totals 20 5-7 49.

Shawnee Mission North (2-9) --Hines 4 0-0 8, Shepherd 8 1-3 21, Gray 4 0-0 10, Rolls 5 4-4 14, Oberle 1 0-0 2, White 0 0-0 0, Schneider 1 1-2 3, Boldridge 2 1-1 5. Totals 25 7-10 63.

3-point goals -- Hayden 4 (Muller 2, Duffey, Ridley), Shawnee Mission North 6 (Shepherd 4, Gray 2). Total fouls -- Hayden 13, Shawnee Mission North 11. Fouled out -- none. Technical foul -- Gray.  

LAWRENCE 73, TOPEKA HIGH 62

Lawrence     14 12 23 24 -- 73

Topeka High 12 17 10 23 -- 62

Lawrence (8-3) -- Nelson 2 0-0 4, Juelsgaard 2 7-8 11, King 9 6-8 25, Watson 1 1-1 3, Long 5 9-10 20, Bowen 2 0-0 5, Herlihy 0 3-6 3, Bassett 0 0-0 0, Cleavinger 0 2-2 2. Totals 21 28-35 73.

Topeka High (1-10) -- Lyons 2 0-0 6, Mays 4 1-3 9, Cameron 2 0-0 4, Thrasher 3 5-6 11, Canady 6 9-10 21, Brown 0 0-0 0, Norman 0 0-0 0, Gomez 3 0-0 9, Morales 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 15-19 62.

3-point goals -- Lawrence 3 (Bowen, King, Long), Topeka High 5 (Gomez 3, Lyons 2). Total fouls -- Lawrence 18, Topeka High 25. Fouled out -- Bowen, Mays. Technical foul -- Mays.

RESULTS FRIDAY

Topeka West 85, St. Marys 55 (semifinal)

Wichita Northwest 66, Highland Park 60 (semifinal)

Shawnee Mission North 63, Hayden 49 (consolation)

Lawrence 73, Topeka High 62 (consolation)

GAMES SATURDAY

9 a.m. -- Hayden vs. Topeka High (seventh)

10:45 -- Shawnee Mission North vs. Lawrence (fifth)

12:30 p.m. -- St. Marys vs. Highland Park (third)

2:15 -- Topeka West vs. Wichita Northwest (championship).