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Topeka West ends 18-year Topeka Invitational title drought with 64-56 win

By Rick Peterson

TopSports.news

Very few, if any, of the current Topeka West boys basketball players were even born the last time the Chargers won the Topeka Invitational Tournament championship back in 2004.

But the importance of the moment certainly wasn't lost on the Chargers, who topped Wichita Northwest 64-56 in Saturday's championship game at Highland Park.

ElijahBrooksjubeTopeka West star Elijah Brooks (left), who had 30 points, celebrates the Chargers' first Topeka Invitational Tournament championship since 2004 with junior teammate Sincere Austin. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

TWestjube2Topeka West celebrates its Topeka Invitational Tournament championship Saturday at Highland Park. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Topeka West, which improved to 10-1 on the season, won the Topeka Invitational title for only the fourth time in the 61-year history of the event and became the first city school to win the title since 2013.

"Right before the game (the coaches) said, 'Let's go win it for the city,'' said Topeka West 6-foot-4 senior star Elijah Brooks. "I had to get one before I get out of here. This was my last chance.

"It's good to win this tournament, just for the team and the city.''

West coach Rick Bloomquist agreed.

"It's good for Topeka West, it's good for the program,'' Bloomquist said. "It's good for the alumni and the kids that played here in the past that got close to winning it and couldn't win it.

"We finally jumped the hurdle and got what we needed to get done. These kids take a lot of pride in where they're from right now. They know that they're not only representing themselves but they're representing Topeka West High School and that's something they're proud of and we protected that today.'' 

In what is becoming a common occurence, Topeka West got a monster night from Brooks, who led the Chargers with 30 points and 14 rebounds to give him 94 points in West's three tournament wins.

Junior Xavier Alexander added 13 points, with three 3-pointers, for the Chargers while junior Malachi Berg added nine points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Topeka West, ranked No. 4 in Class 5A by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association, led by as many as nine points (20-11) in the first quarter and never trailed in the opening half, but the Grizzlies, No. 9 in 6A, forged a 37-37 halftime tie on the strength of nine 3-pointers in the half.

Northwest took a three-point lead early in the second half the Grizzlies led 44-42 midway through the third quarter, but West responded with an 8-1 run to take a 50-45 lead into the fourth stanza.

The Grizzlies got as close as four points twice in the fourth, the last time at 60-56 with 1:01 remaining, but Alexander and Brooks hit two free throws apiece to close out the win.

"We adjusted to the type of game we had to play to win,'' Bloomquist said. "That's a good sign.''

Senior Geremiah Moore led Wichita Northwest (9-2) with 17 points and five 3-pointers while sophomore LaSean Williams added 13 points.

HIGHLAND PARK 77, ST. MARYS 50 -- Highland Park rebounded from Friday's semifinal loss to Wichita Northwest with a strong performance in Saturday's third-place game of the Topeka Invitational Tournament, with the Scots improving to 10-2 on the season.

Scots coach Mike Williams said Saturday's solid performance was a positive sign in the wake of Friday's 66-60 loss.

"I just think at this point of time in the year tht's all we're looking for game-in and game-out right now,'' Williams said. "The season's long, so we're kind of in the dog days, but we're also figuring things out about ourselves.

"I'm glad our guys responded that way.'' 

The Scots, ranked No. 2 in 5A, jumped out to a 22-13 first-quarter lead over the Bears, second-ranked in 2A, and Highland Park led 37-26 at halftime.

Highland Park then put the Bears away with a 20-8 third quarter and outscored 9-3 St. Marys 40-24 in the second half.

Junior Jahmir Kingcannon scored a game-high 18 points for Highland Park with four 3-pointers while juniors Ketraleus Aldridge and Tre Richardson added 15 and 14 points and freshman Jacorey Robinson 12.

Junior Keller Hurla scored 14 points to lead St. Marys while senior Fred Criqui added 12 points.

LAWRENCE 63, SHAWNEE MISSION NORTH 46 -- After dropping a two-point decision to tournament champion Topeka West in the first round, Lawrence won its final two tournament games to finish fifth.

Shawnee Mission North remained within striking distance through most of Saturday's game against its Sunflower League rival before the Lions (9-3) pulled away late.

Lawrence led North 10-8 at the end of the opening quarter and 30-24 at the half before outscoring the Bison 33-22 in the second half.

Sophomore Zaxton King capped a strong tournament performance with 20 points for Lawrence while seniors Avion Nelson and Pearse Long added 12 points apiece.

Senior Vincent Rolls led Shawnee Mission North (2-10) with 15 points.

HAYDEN 43, TOPEKA HIGH 41 -- Hayden rallied in the fourth quarter to top Topeka High and finish seventh in the Topeka Invitational.

Hayden, which improved to 2-8 on the season, trailed 15-10 at the end of the first quarter, 23-18 at the half and 32-29 at the start of the fourth quarter before outscoring the Trojans 14-9 over the final eight minutes.

Senior Trent Duffey tied for game-high scoring honors with 13 points for Hayden while junior Joe Otting added 12 points.

Topeka High, which fell to 1-10, got 13 points from senior Germane Mays and sophomore BJ Canady while sophomore Isaiah Lyons added 11 points.

HAYDEN 43, TOPEKA HIGH 41

Topeka High 15 8 9 9 -- 41

Hayden        10 8 11 14 -- 43

Topeka High (1-10) -- Lyons 2 5-6 11, Mays 3 7-10 13, Cameron 0 1-4 1, Thrasher 0 0-1 0, Canady 5 3-4 13, Brown 1 0-0 3, Gomez 0 0-0 0, Morales 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 16-25 41.

Hayden (2-8) -- Muller 2 1-2 5, Duffey 4 3-3 13, Ham 0 0-0 0, Alfonsi 0 4-4 4, Otting 6 0-3 12, Padilla 2 4-5 8, Foster 0 0-0 0, Gorman 0 0-0 0, Ridley 0 0-0 0, Rice 0 1-2 1. Totals 14 13-19 43.

3-point goals -- Topeka High 3 (Lyons 2, Brown), Hayden 2 (Duffey 2). Total fouls -- Topeka High 20, Hayden 22. Fouled out -- Duffey, Thrasher. Technical foul -- none.

LAWRENCE 63, SHAWNEE MISSION NORTH 46

Lawrence     10 20 12 21 -- 63

SM North         8 16 9 13 -- 46 

Lawrence (9-3) -- Nelson 5 0-0 12, Juelsgaard 2 0-0 6, Bassett 1 0-0 2, King 8 1-2 20, Long 5 1-2 12, Bowen 1 0-0 2, Herlihy 1 0-0 2, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Avery 0 0-0 0, Watson 2 1-1 5, Cleavinger 1 0-0 2. Totals 26 3-5 63.

Shawnee Mission North (2-10) --White 2 0-1 4, Hines 2 1-2 6, Shepherd 1 0-0 2, Boldridge 2 0-0 5, Rolls 7 1-2 15, Culp 0 0-0 0, Schneider 3 2-2 8, Jagne 2 0-0 4, Knowles 0 0-0 0, Franklin 0 2-2 2. Totals 19 6-9 46.

3-point goals -- Lawrence 8 (King 3, Nelson 2, Juelsgaard 2, Long), Shawnee Mission North 2 (Hines, Boldridge). Total fouls -- Lawrence 8, Shawnee Mission North 8. Fouled out -- none. Technical foul -- none 

HIGHLAND PARK 77, ST. MARYS 50

St. Marys           13 13 8 16 -- 50

Highland Park 22 15 20 20 -- 77

St. Marys (9-3) -- Jacobson 1 0-0 2, J. Hurla 3 2-2 8, K. Hurla 6 1-3 14, Homan 3 0-0 8, Criqui 6 0-0 12, DeDonder 1 0-0 3, B. Hurla 0 0-0 0, Ewing 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 3-5 50.

Highland Park (10-2) -- Adams 3 2-2 9, Aldridge 7 0-0 15, Richardson 5 2-2 14, Kingcannon 6 2-2 18, Roberts 0 0-0 15, McMillon 1 1-2 3, Clemons 0 0-0 0, Martin 0 0-0 0, Williams Jr. 1 0-0 3, Robinson 6 0-0 12, Anderson 1 0-0 3, Davis 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30 7-8 77.

3-point goals -- St. Marys 5 (K. Hurla 2, Homan 2, DeDonder), Highland Park 10 (Kingcannon 4, Richardson 2, Adams, Aldridge, Williams Jr., Anderson). Total fouls -- St. Marys 8, Highland Park 13. Fouled out -- none. Technical foul -- none.

TOPEKA WEST 64, WICHITA NORTHWEST 56

Topeka West            20 17 13 14 -- 64

Wichita Northwest     14 23 8 11 -- 56

Topeka West (10-1) -- Austin 3 0-1 7, Brooks 12 4-8 30, Alexander 3 4-7 13, Berg 4 1-2 9, Putthoff 2 0-0 5, Robinson 0 0-0 0, Foy 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 9-16 64.

Wichita Northwest (9-2) -- Hoover 3 1-1 7, Williams 5 0-0 13, Moore 5 2-2 17, Hutton 2 1-2 6, K. Brown 3 1-4 8, James 1 0-0 3, T. Brown 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 5-9 56.

3-point goals -- Topeka West 7 (Alexander 3, Brooks 2, Austin, Putthoff), Wichita Northwest 11 (Moore 5, Williams 3, James, Hutton, K. Brown). Total fouls -- Topeka West 11, Wichita Northwest 19. Fouled out -- Hutton.

 RESULTS SATURDAY

Topeka West 64, Wichita Northwest 56 (championship)

Highland Park 77, St. Marys 50 (third)

Lawrence 63, Shawnee Mission North 46 (fifth)

Hayden 43, Topeka High 41 (seventh)