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Topeka High girls improve to 15-0 with 66-33 romp past Manhattan

By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

It's probably a given that Topeka High's girls basketball team has been thinking about Friday's showdown with Washburn Rural for a while now.

After all, the Junior Blues were the last team to beat the Trojans, in the 2019 Class 6A state championship game, and is the only team to play High closer than 16 points this season.

But High coach Hannah Alexander wanted to make sure that all of her team's attention Wednesday night was on Manhattan, which visited top-ranked Topeka High for a Centennial League makeup game, and that seemed to be the case as the Trojans rolled to a 66-33 win over the Indians to stretch their winning streak to 38 games.

"We always talk about executing and make sure we handle business right away and not get caught and not overlook any opponent,'' Alexander said after the Trojans improved to 15-0 overall and 12-0 in the league. "I thought they did a really good job executing that tonight.

"Control what you can control, that's what we say, and take care of business and make sure we get good at what we do.''

NiJaree Canady 2NiJaree Canady

Manhattan (7-7, 6-4) was still within striking distance after a 19-11 first quarter, but Topeka High hit the Indians with a 22-6 second-quarter lick to build a commanding 41-17 halftime lead and the Trojans boosted their advantage to 60-30 by the end of the third quarter to force a running clock throughout the fourth.

Junior NiJaree Canady, who sat out Tuesday's game against Highland Park for precautionary reasons, scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds by halftime and finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds, both game-highs, despite playing limited minutes.

Sophomore Kiki Smith was right behind Canady with 19 points while senior Jae'Mya Lyons came off the bench to score 10 points and grab 7 rebounds.

Topeka High shot 50 percent from the floor against the Indians while forcing Manhattan into 31.6-percent shooting and 23 turnovers.

"For the most part I thought we played well,'' Alexander said. "They played hard, they played physical and they stepped up to the challenge. Manhattan was physical and tough and I thought they gave us a good game.''

Sophomore Destiny Yates scored 14 points, including 3 3-pointers, to lead Manhattan, but was the lone Indian in double figures.

Now the Trojans can officially start thinking about Friday's rematch with Washburn Rural at Rural. The Junior Blues led the Trojans late in the game on Jan. 14 before High rallied for a 53-49 win. Washburn Rural is 13-1 on the season and is ranked No. 3 in 6A.

"You want these tough games,'' Alexander said. "This is what baskeball is all about. We've got to beat good teams to be at the top.''

TOPEKA HIGH GIRLS 66, MANHATTAN 33

Manhattan 11 6 13 3 -- 33

Topeka High 19 22 19 6 -- 66

Manhattan (7-7, 6-4) -- Yates 5-10 1-2 14, Awbrey 0-0 0-0 0, Larson 0-0 0-0 0, Claussen 3-7 0-0 7, Dixon 2-8 0-0 4, Chauncey 0-4 2-2 2, Doering 0-2 1-2 1, Ruliffson 2-6 1-2 5, Kuntz 0-0 0-0 0, Jimenez 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 12-38 5-8 33.

Topeka High (15-0, 12-0) -- L. Smith 1-2 0-0 3, Thomas 2-5 1-2 6, K. Smith 7-13 3-4 19, Hendricks 2-4 0-0 5, Canady 9-15 3-6 21, Lyons 4-6 2-3 10, Z. Caryl 0-1 0-0 0, Leesman 0 0-0 0, A. Caryl 0-1 0-0 0, Shields 1-5 0-0 2, Wiley 0-0 0-0 0, Zimmerman 0-0 0-0 0, Fulton 0-0 0-0 0, Ramsey 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-52 9-15 66.

 3-point goals -- Manhattan 4 (Yates 3, Claussen), Topeka High 5 (K. Smith 2, L. Smith, Thomas, Hendricks). Total fouls -- Manhattan 12, Topeka High 10. Fouled out -- none.