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  • Prep athletes get the chance to strut their stuff in Junior Combine

    Rick Peterson




    It's no secret among local high school football coaches that there's an abundance of athletic talent in the Topeka area.

    The major objective of Tuesday's Topeka Area Football Coaches Association Junior Day Combine was about making sure that knowledge is no secret to college coaches either.

    Seventy-four prep players, most from the class of 2022, were on hand Tuesday at Shawnee Heights to show off their talents while representives from 18 area Division II, NAIA and junior college football programs were in attendance to take a first-hand look.  

    "We've done this 14 out of the last 15 years,'' said camp organizer Jason Swift, head coach at Shawnee Heights. "Last year was the only year we didn't do it, because of COVID.

    "This was a good number (of participants). We've got good football players in Northeast Kansas and this is a chance to promote it.''

    E0oJV9aXoAAB07dTopeka West junior Mikael Glenn goes through an agility drill at Tuesday's Junior Combine at Shawnee Heights. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

  • West's Cusick twins outlast Emporia to claim Centennial doubles title

    Rick Peterson



    Topeka West tennis standouts Ian and Miles Cusick faced off against a familiar foe in Monday's Centennial League doubles final, taking on Emporia's Brenden Kienholz and Taylor Moorman for the second time in three days.

    But the Cusick twins were.up to the challenge, surviving a Spartan rally to claim the league title with an 8-6 victory to lead city-champion West to a second-place team finish behind Manhattan, which won its sixth straight championship.

    E0gojJRXsAA1fp8Topeka West sophomores Miles Cusick (left) and Ian Cusick followed up their city doubles title with the Centennial League championship Monday at Kossover Tennis Center. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Ian and Miles Cusick, who had taken an 8-4 win over Emporia on Saturday in the finals of the Emporia tournament, jumped in front 4-1 Monday but Keinholz and Moorman were down just 7-6 before the Chargers closed out the win.

    "I think (Emporia) played extremely well today,'' Miles Cusick said. "It was a tough match, especially seeing them two days ago. I think we both tried not to take that for granted that we beat them last time.''

    "(Emporia) really stepped it up in the second half (of the match),'' Ian Cusick added. "Those close matches are hard and it's really good that we can win close matches going forward.''

  • Class of 2021 for Topeka Shawnee County Sports Hall of Fame to include Kyle McNorton, Kyle Weems, Michael Wilhoite

    Rick Peterson



    Local sports greats Kyle McNorton, Kyle Weems and Michael Wilhoite will join the Topeka Shawnee County Hall of Fame on June 30, 2021, the 15th induction class into the local shrine.

    TopSports.news, in conjunction with Envista Credit Union and A-1 Lock and Key, will host the induction and Topeka Shawnee County sports awards ceremonies at the Capitol Plaza Hotel's Maner Conference Center Sunflower Ballroom.

    McNorton is a 1978 Seaman High graduata who went on to become a star linebacker for the University of Kansas before playing in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs.

    Weems is a 2007 graduate of Highland Park, where he earned All-State basketball honors before going on to become the Missouri Valley player of the year and embark on a long and continuing professional career overseas.

    Wilhoite is also a graduate of HIghland Park, where he was a basketball teammate of Weems. Wilhoite went on to star at Washburn University and played six seasons in the National Football League before being an assistant coach in the NFL.

    Both Weems and Wilhoite were coached in high school by Ken Darting, a 2015 inductee into the Topeka Shawnee County Sports Hall of Fame.

    The most recent Topeka Shawnee County banquet was held in 2019 before last year's ceremonies were canceled due to COVID-19.

    General admission tickets are $25 per person and includes dinner. Ticket information is available on topsports.news.

    Shawnee County's top senior student-athletes will be honored for the 16th time while TopSports.news will also honor an oustanding female and male athlete from Washburn University for the first time.

    Shawnee County high schools Cair Paravel Latin, Hayden, Highland Park, Rossville, Seaman, Shawnee Heights, Silver Lake, Topeka High, Topeka West and Washburn Rural will be asked to nominate one female and male candidate with a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average as outstanding student-athlete nominees for the fall, winter and spring seasons. County high schools will also be asked to nominate a female and male candidate for most inspirational athlete.

    A  committee of local media members will select the 2021 winners, including the selection of overall female and male athletes of the year.

    The winners of Washburn's outstanding male and female awards and the nominees for this year's high school awards will be announced in the near future.

    The most recent Hall of Fame class in 2019 included Washburn Rural coaching legend Ron Bowen, 17-time state cross county and track champion Trisa Nickoley of Shawnee Heights and the late Pete Goering, who served The Topeka Capital-Journal as a sports reporter, columnist and editor for in a 35-year career at the paper.

    Hayden's Brooklyn Hunter and Washburn Rural's Carly Bachelor were named co-outstanding female athletes of the year in 2019 while Rural's Jordan White was named the male outstanding athlete.

    Hall of Fame class of 2021 capsules:

  • History! Davids' Chargers capture first city tennis title, 28-27 over Rural

    Rick Peterson



    Kurt Davids has put together an impressive list of accomplishments in his 28 years as Topeka West's boys tennis coach, coaching state champions in both singles and doubles and leading the Chargers to top-three state team finishes.

    But one thing had always eluded the veteran coach... until Thursday that is.

    Sweeping the No. 1 singles and doubles titles and adding a pair of runner-up finishes in No. 2 singles and doubles, Topeka West edged perennial city champ Washburn Rural by a single point (28-27) for the team crown.

    E0MRMYXXsAAoTKsTopeka West sophomore Carter Cool won the city title in No. 1 singles Thursday at Kossover Tennis Center, helping lead the Chargers to the city team title. [Photo by Rick Pet

    "It was our goal coming into the season to get coach a win because he hadn't ever won since he's been here and that was our goal, to get him the win,'' said city No. 1 singles champion Carter Cool, a sophomore. "It was great to come in as a team and do what we wanted to.''

  • TopSports.news to host 2021 Topeka Shawnee County sports awards/Hall of Fame induction

    Rick Peterson



    TopSports.News, in conjunction with Envista Credit Union and A-1 Lock and Key will become the new host of the 16th annual Topeka Shawnee County Sports Awards/Hall of Fame induction ceremony, continuing a longstanding tradition for the Topeka and Shawnee County sports community on June 30, 2021 at the Capitol Plaze Hotel's Maner Conference Center Sunflower Ballroom.

    RonBowenWashburn Rural coaching legend Ron Bowen (center) was inducted into the Topeka Shawnee County Sports Hall of Fame in 2019. TopSports.news will host the 2021 sports awards banquet and Hall of Fame ceremony on June 30. [Submitted]

    General admission tickets are $25 per person and includes dinner.

    The most recent Topeka Shawnee County banquet was held in 2019 before last year's ceremonies were canceled due to COVID-19.

    TopSports.News is proud to preserve and continue this annual event, which recognizes Shawnee County's top senior student-athletes while also continuing to add to the prestigious Topeka Shawnee County Sports Hall of Fame. For the first time, TSN will also honor an oustanding female and male athlete from Washburn University.

  • Vikings' Kruse takes No. 1 singles title in Seaman tennis invite, Heights wins team crown

    Rick Peterson



    Seaman junior Justin Kruse captured the No. 1 singles title on Wednesday in the Vikings' home boys tennis invitational to lead his team to a second-place team finish.

    Kruse dropped just two games in his first three matches of the round-robin tournament before capping the tournament off with an 8-4 victory over Junction City’s Hayden Diestelkamp.

    “I feel like my first three matches were pretty clean,'' Kruse said. "In my last match, I hit a wall. I just wasn’t hitting my shots right.''

    Kruse was looking forward to playing Shawnee Heights’ usual No. 1 singles player, John Lysaught, but didn't get the chance Wednesday as Lysaught did not compete at the tournament.

    “I got one (Class) 5A win over Shawnee Heights, which is a good regional win, but they didn’t bring their true number one player,'' Kruse said. "I’m looking forward to that matchup before regionals.''

    Despite being without Lysaught, Shawnee Heights managed to squeak out a 1-point team win over Seaman, 22-21.

    The T-Birds got first-place finishes from both No. 2 singles player Paul Quidu and their No. 1 doubles team of Christian Johnson and Garrison Johnson.

    Seaman got a title in No. 2 doubles from the team of juniors Landon DiLeonardo and Theo Wagnon.

    Highland Park finished third as a team, led by senior Eliseo Barreno, who finished second in No. 2 singles. The Scots also posted a third-place finish in No. 2 doubles.


    Team scores

  • Rural distance ace Arrik White returning to form

    Rick Peterson



    Wednesday's Junior Blues Invitational at Hummer Sports Park was the third track and field meet of the season for most of Arrik White's Washburn Rural teammates, while White was making a belated season debut.

    But the Rural senior, an All-City pick in cross country, was just happy to be back on the track, and even happier to be winning.

    Coming off a stress fracture in his left leg that sidelined him for about two months, White won the boys 1,600 meters by nearly 20 seconds in a time of 4 minutes, 48.3 seconds and also ran a leg on the Junior Blues' winning 4 x 400 relay (3:48.5).

    "Leading up to (the 1,600) I was super nervous because my first (track) race in two years, I was like, 'It's going to be intense,' '' White said. "But then in the middle of it I kind of got into a groove and felt like I was where I wanted to be for the amount of training I've had.''

    ArrikWhiteComing off a stress fracture, Washburn Rural senior Arrik White made his season debut Wednesday with a win in the 1,600-meter run in the Junior Blues Invitational. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    White still isn't quite 100 percent physically, but the Rural senior has also felt a sense of urgency to return to action.

    "I saw last week at Olathe a few of the guys I'd be racing with at regionals, they were doing pretty well, so I know I have to get to that spot pretty quick,'' White said. "I have faith in myself, but it will definitely be mentally challenging.''

    White thought Wednesday was a good start in the right direction.

    "I'll take it,'' said White, who has signed to run collegiately at Allen Community College. "It's always going to be in the back of my mind where I could have been if I hadn't gotten hurt, but after seven, eight weeks off, for me to be at a 4:48, I'll definitely take it.''

    Washburn Rural used Wednesday's meet as a varsity competition while several other schools in the field used the meet as a combined varsity/junior varsity meet. 

    Other highlights:

  • Final 2020-21 city high school boys basketball statistics

    Rick Peterson

    MarqueWilkersonMaizeTopeka West senior Marque Wilkerson (2) finished the 2020-21 season as the city scoring champion with a 17.1 average. [File photo by Rex Wolf/TWN]

    NOTE: Statistics for city Centennial League and United Kansas Conference boys basketball teams were compiled by Seaman girls coach Matt Tinsley, with assistance from Seaman junior Jackson Stuewe.


    Name, school                    Gms.  Pts.  Avg

    Wilkerson, Topeka West        24     410   17.1

    Smith, Topeka High               20     340   17.0

  • Spring sports roundup: Hayden soccer rolls to 5-0 win over Tonganoxie

    Rick Peterson


    Hayden's girls soccer team shared the wealth in Tuesday's 5-0 home non-league win over Tonganoxie, with five different players scoring goals as the Wildcats boosted their record to 4-2 on the season.

    Hayden got first-half goals from juniors Kate Roeder and Riley Schmidtlein before sophomore Jenessa Broxterman and freshmen Lauren Sandstrom and Jill Lenherr added second-half goals.

    Broxterman, Sandstrom, junior Abby Dodd and sophomore Piper Wrench were credited with assists while seniors Rhen Calhoon and Olivia Schmitz combined for the shutout in goal.


    Hayden 2 3 -- 5

    Tonganoxie 0 0 -- 0

    Hayden -- Goals: Roeder, Schmidtlein, Lenherr, Sandstrom, Broxterman. Assists: Broxterman, Dodd, Sandstrom, Wrench. Shutout: Calhoon, Schmitz.

    Belle Kennedy scored a goal and had four assists in Washburn Rural's 10-0 home win over Highland Park Tuesday. [Photo by Doug Wagner/Special to TSN]Belle Kennedy (10) scored a goal and had four assists in Washburn Rural's 10-0 home win over Highland Park Tuesday. [Photo by Doug Walker/Special to TSN]

    Rural soccer blanks Scots

    Ten different players scored goals as Washburn Rural improved to 4-1-1 on the season Tuesday with a 10-0 win over Highland Park at McElroy Field.

    The game ended at halftime due to the 10-goal spread.

    The Junior Blues got goals from seniors Brynn Fitzgibbons, Riley Palmer and Izzy Entz, juniors Hunter McWilliams, Belle Kennedy, Sheriden Wichman, Reagan Allen and Alandra Bailey and sophomores Brianna Jones and Maya Hoge.

  • Topeka High soccer posts third straight win, 10-0 over Scots

    Rick Peterson

    AveryZimmermanFreshman Avery Zimmerman (2) scored two goals and had two assists as Topeka High's girls soccer team pushed its winning streak to three games with a 10-0 win over Highland Park Monday at Hummer Sports Park. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]



    Battle-tested by four tough early-season games, Topeka High girls soccer coach Derek Snook knew that Monday's game against Highland Park was one his Trojans should win.

    But there were still plenty of things Snook wanted his team to get done against their USD 501 rivals and the High coach was pleased to see that the Trojans were able to check most of the items off that list in a 10-0 win at Hummer Sports Park that ended at halftime due to the 10-goal spread.

    "I felt pretty good about the way we were going through the game and they were actually listening to what I asked them to do, regardless of whether we had a one on one or whatever else, we were still looking for the next pass, which was good,'' said Snook, whose team improved to 3-2 overall.

    It took just 20 seconds for junior Talayah Thomas to score the only goal Topeka High would need and the Trojans were in control 3-0 five minutes into the game as senior Americka Whetstone and junior Cheyenne Bahadur added rapid-fire scores.

    Bahadur would go on to score a three-goal hat track for the Trojans while freshman Avery Zimmerman and junior Luxanna Sands added two goals apiece and sophomore Cierra Carranza also cracked the scoring column.

  • Topeka West's Alexander earns KBCA All-Class 5A first-team honors

    Rick Peterson

    TrevionAlexanderMaizeTopeka West senior Trevion Alexander has been named a KBCA first-team All-Class 5A pick after helping lead the Chargers to a state runner-up finish. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]



    Topeka West's Trevion Alexander, a 6-foot-4 senior, has been named to the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association All-Class 5A first team after helping lead the Chargers to a second-place finish in the 5A state tournament and a 21-3 record overall.

    Alexander's senior teammate, Marque Wilkerson (6-2), was a second-team All-5A pick while West junior Elijah Brooks (6-3) received honorable mention.

    Washburn Rural senior Joe Berry (6-3)received All-6A honorable mention while Highland Park senior CJ Powell (6-7) received All-5A honorable menion.

  • Shawnee County baseball: Trojans get season off to perfect start

    Rick Peterson




    Topeka High's baseball team faces a tough challenge to become a contender in the Centennial League, which has produced multiple state championship teams.

    But Cody Miller's team got the 2021 season off to a good start on Monday at Hummer Sports Park. In fact, it was a perfect start for the Trojans, with three Topeka High pitchers combining for a three-inning perfect game in the Trojans' 15-0 non-league win over Kansas City-Washington.

    Senior Lukas Brennan was the starting pitcher for Topeka, followed by junior Dillon Mitchell and junior Max Colombo, with Brennan and Mitchell both striking out three hitters and Colombo two.

  • Shawnee County softball: High appears set for big '21 season

    Rick Peterson



    After advancing to the Class 6A state tournament in 2019, another big year could be in store for Shane Miles' Topeka High softball team this spring.

    The Trojans return eight players that gained starting experience for High's 16-4 team in '19, including All-Staters Zoe Caryl and NiJaree Canady and four other players who received All-City recognition, and Miles' team is already off to a 4-0 start, including a pair of wins over 5A power Shawnee Heights.

     ZoeCarylvsWest2Topeka High senior catcher Zoe Caryl, an All-Stater in 2019, has helped lead the Trojans to a 4-0 start this spring. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

     NiJareeCanadyvsWestTopeka High junior NiJaree Canady, who received All-State recognition as a freshman, is a star at the plate and on the pitching mound for the Trojans. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    Topeka High will build this year's team around seniors Caryl, Zoie Kincade, Tatum Wilson and Mia Kelly and juniors Canady, Amiah Cain and Majayla Boyd while top newcomers include junior Elycia Joyce and sophomores Adisyn Caryl and Quincy Smith.

  • City girls soccer: Rural still experienced despite long layoff

    Rick Peterson



    Washburn Rural's girls soccer team was very good but young in 2019 and the fact that several freshmen and sophomores saw time for the Junior Blues' 18-3-0 team that posted a runner-up finish in the Class 6A state tournament could pay big dividends this spring.

    The defending Centennial League champions graduated some key seniors off the '19 team, but will build this year's team around returning seniors Izzy Entz, Brynn Fitzgibbons, Joy Ngibuini and Riley Palmer and juniors Reagan Allen, Belle Kennedy, Emma Krueger, Hunter McWilliams, McKenna Merrick and Sheriden Wichman.

    Joy NgibuiniJoy Ngibuini

    Several newcomers are also expected to challenge for playing time, including junior Alandra Bailey and sophomores Hailey Beck, Addi Broxterman, Brooklyn DeLeye, Maya Hoge, Brianna Jones, Karsyn McMaster, Mackinly Rohn and Heidi Schieber. 

    "Despite missing an entire season last year, we return 10 players with varsity experience and some talented newcomers,'' Washburn Rural coach Brian Hensyel said. "We are excited to begin our season and look forward to playing a very challenging schedule.

    "Our goals are to win the Centennial League and make a return trip to the Class 6A final four.''

  • Final 2020-21 city high school girls basketball statistics

    Rick Peterson

    NOTE: Statistics for city Centennial League and United Kansas Conference girls basketball teams were compiled by Seaman girls coach Matt Tinsley, with assistance from Seaman junior Jackson Stuewe.

    NijaCanadyvsRuralTopeka High junior NiJaree Canady led the city in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. [File photo/TSN]


    Name, school                    Gms.  Pts.  Avg

    Canady, Topeka High        22      454   20.6

    DeLeye, Washburn Rural  19      329   17.3

  • Canady repeats as Centennial League girls player of the year

    Rick Peterson

    NiJareeCanadySMNWTopeka High junior NiJaree Canady has been named Centennial League girls player of the year for the second straight season after averaging 20.6 points and 12.3 rebounds for the 23-2 Trojans. [Photo by Jeff Jacobsen/Action Images Photography]



    NiJaree Canady, a 6-foot junior, earned the Centennial League girls player of the year honor for the second straight season after leading Topeka High to the undefeated league championship, a second-place finish in the Class 6A state tournament and a 23-2 record overall.

    Canady, who averaged 20.6 points and 12.3 rebounds, was joined on the all-league first team by sophomore Kiki Smith and senior Lilly Smith in balloting by league coaches.

    KikiSmithHeightsTopeka High sophomore Kiki Smith has been named to the All-Centennial League first team after helping lead the Trojans to a second-place finish in Class 6A. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    LillySmithHeightsTopeka High senior Lilly Smith was one of three Trojans earning spots on the All-Centennial League first team. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    Washburn Rural (16-3) put sophomore Brooklyn DeLeye and junior Emma Krueger on the first team while Emporia junior Gracie Gilpin rounded out the first team.

    EmmaKruegerRuralWashburn Rural junior Emma Krueger earned a berth on the All-Centennial League team after helping lead the Junior Blues to a 16-3 record. [File photo/TSN]

    BrooklynDeLeyevsTHighBrooklyn DeLeye, a Washburn Rural sophomore, received first-team All-Centennial League honors from league coaches. [File photo/TSN] 

  • Topeka High, Washburn Rural sweep first-team spots on TSN's All-Shawnee County girls basketball team

    Rick Peterson

     NiJaCanadyHeights2Topeka High junior NiJaree Canady has been named TopSports.news' All-Shawnee County girls basketball player of the year after leading the Trojans to a 23-2 record and a second-place finish in Class 6A. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]



    NiJaree Canady, a 6-foot junior, headlines TopSports.news' first-ever All-Shawnee County girls basketball team after leading Topeka High to a second-place finish in the Class 6A state tournament and a 23-2 record overall.

    Player of the year Canady, who averaged 20.6 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.8 blocks, is joined on the all-county team by teammates Kiki Smith, a sophomore, and her older sister, senior Lilly Smith, while Washburn Rural sophomore Brooklyn DeLeye and junior Emma Krueger earned the other two first-team spots after leading the Junior Blues to a 16-3 record.

    Kiki Smith averaged 15.7 points, 3.0 assists, 2.8 steals and hit 39 3-pointers while Lilly Smith averaged 8.7 points, 1.9 steals and led the city with 41 made 3-pointers.

  • City stars Alexander, Berry, Wilkerson share Centennial League player of the year honor

    Rick Peterson



    Centennial League coaches found it impossible to single out one boys player as the best in the league, with the voting for player of the year ending up a three-way tie between seniors Trevion Alexander and Marque Wilkerson of Topeka West and Joe Berry of Washburn Rural.

    TrevionAlexanderStateTopeka West senior Trevion Alexander was one of three players named Centennial League tri-players of the year. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

     JoeBerryManhattan2Washburn Rural senior Joe Berry was named Centennial League tri-player of the year for 2020-21. [File photo]

    MarqueWilkersonhaysTopeka West senior Marque Wilkerson was named tri-Centennial League player of the year by league coaches. [File photo]

    Alexander, Berry and Wilkerson share the player of the year while making up three-sixths of the All-Centennial first team along with West junior Elijah Brooks, Highland Park senior CJ Powell and Emporia senior Charles Snyder.

  • Topeka West dominates TSN's All-Shawnee County boys basketball team

    Rick Peterson



    Coming off one of the most successful seasons in school history, Topeka West dominates TopSports.news' inaugural All-Shawnee County boys basketball team, with seniors Trevion Alexander and Marque Wilkerson sharing the player of the year honor while junior Elijah Brooks joins his teammates on the first team.

    TrevionAlexanderStateTopeka West senior Trevion Alexander shares Top.Sports.new All-Shawnee County boys player of the year honors with teammate Marque Wilkerson. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

     MarqueWilkersonMaizeTopeka West senior Marque Wilkerson was named the All-Shawnee County co-player of the year with teammate Trevion Alexander. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    Washburn Rural senior Joe Berry and Highland Park senior CJ Powell round out the first team, with Berry leading the Junior Blues to a 14-7 record and a berth in a Class 6A sub-state championship game while Powell led the Scots to a 12-8 record this past season after helping Hi Park advance to the 5A state tournament as a junior.

    Wilkerson averaged 17.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.2 steals this past season for the 21-3 Chargers while Alexander averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds 4.3 assists and 2.3 steals and Brooks averaged 15.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.5 steals.

  • Prep roundup: Rossville girls outlast Wabaunsee in OT, 56-53


    Rossville's girls basketball team outlasted Mid-East League foe Wabaunsee 56-53 in overtime Monday night, improving to .

    Monday's game was close thorughout, with the Bulldawgs leading 17-15 at the end of the first quarter before Wabaunsee took a 32-28 advantage at the half.

    Rossville used a 13-9 third quarter to tie the contest at 41 and the game was deadlocked 51-all at the end of regullation before the Bulldawgs outscored the Chargers 5-2 in the OT.

    Rossville had three double-figure scorers, led by freshman Kinsey Perine with 16 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Freshman Emma Mitchell added 12 points and senior Julia Streit 10 points.

  • Prep roundup: Scots post fourth straight win behind Powell's 31 points

    Rick Peterson


    Highland Park's boys basketball is starting to look like the team coach Michael Williams expected at the start of the 2020-21 season, with the Scots running their win streak to four games Tuesday night with a 63-58 home Centennial League win over Emporia.

    CJ Powell, a 6-foot-6 senior, had a monster night for the Scots, scoring 31 points as Highland Park improved to 7-5 overall and 6-3 in the league. Junior Juan'Tario Roberts added 16 points with 4 3-pointers as the Scots' 1-2 punch carried the team offensively.

    Emporia (6-6, 3-5) led 16-14 at the end of the first quarter, but Highland Park used a 15-7 second quarter to take a 29-23 lead at the half.

    The Scots were still in front by 6 points (45-39) at the start of the fourth quarter and held off the Spartans for the win.

    Emporia was led by senior Charles Snyder's 24 points.


    Tuesday wasn't one of Cair Paravel Latin's most productive offensive games, but the Lions did the job defensively, not allowing more than 12 points in a quarter on the way to a 44-38 home boys victory over St. Mary's Academy.

  • County grid standouts poised to sign college letters of intent

    Rick Peterson



    Football's National Signing Day is Wednesday, Feb. 3, with multiple Shawnee County athletes expected to sign college letters of intent on Wednesday or in the near future.

    Six Hayden players are expected to sign Wednesday, including Wildcat tight end/defensive end Trey Pivarnik and defensive end Jayden Rainer with Washburn.

    Wildcat defensive back Ja'mier Garrett, linebacker Jordan Rainer and lineman Tim Wells are expected to sign with Butler Community College while receiver/defensive back Geivonnii Williams is headed to Independence Community College.

    Hayden star Desmond Purnell, a running back/defensive back, signed earlier with Kansas State.

    Rossville receiver Bo Reeves plans to sign with Central Missouri of the MIAA while linebacker Kaiden Brown is headed to Baker University after the duo helped Rossville win the Class 2A state championship last fall.

  • Highland Park boys, Topeka High girls extend win streaks



    Topeka High's boys basketball team gave rival Highland Park a battle Tuesday night, but missed opportunites, particularly at the free throw line, allowed the Scots to extend their winning streak to seven games with a 60-49 Centennial League win at High.

    High's boys were able to penetrate and draw fouls against a solid Scots defense, which forced 12 turnovers in the game, but the struggled to capitalize on opportunities at the charity stripe, making just 15 of 31 free throw attempts (48 percent).

    Highland Park, meanwhile, built an early lead and was able to survive Topeka High's second-half rally to improve to 10-5 on the season, 9-3 in the league.

    Highland Park spread the wealth, with seven different players finding themselves in the scoring column, led by seniors Jahi Peppers with 13 points, MuKhajhae Daniels 12 and CJ Powell with 11 points while junior Juan’Tario Roberts also had 11 points for the Scots.

  • Highland Park boys run win streak to six games with 57-50 road win

    By Rick Peterson


    Highland Park's boys basketball team ran its winning streak to six games Monday night, rallying for a 57-50 Centennial League win at Emporia.

    The Scots, who improved to 9-5 overall and 8-3 in the league, trailed 24-17 at the half after a 15-4 second quarter by Emporia, but Highland Park outscored the Spartans 40-26 in the second half.

    Highland Park used an 18-8 third quarter to take a 35-32 advantage into the fourth quarter and outscored Emporia 22-18 the rest of the way.

  • Seaman puts itself in position for league bowling titles

    By Rick Peterson


    There can't be any celebrating until Friday, but Seaman's boys and girls bowling teams did what they could Wednesday at West Ridge Lanes to win Centennial League team championships and will now play the waiting game.

    Eight of the nine league schools competed in the league meet Wednesday in two separate sessions, but Emporia did not have school Wednesday due to weather conditions and was not allowed to travel to Topeka to compete. The Spartans will compete Friday, with all of their scores counting in the final team standings.

    In the meantime, Seaman put up the scores to beat in the league race, with the Viking boys rallying for a 3,380-3,330 margin over Washburn Rural, while Seaman's girls are in control by a 3,079-2,969 margin over Rural.

    SeamangirlsbowlingSeaman's girls bowling team celebrates a strike during the Baker format games in Wednesday's Centennial League bowling tournament. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Individually, Seaman sophomore Katie Price leads the girls standings with a 658 series, while Washburn Rural's Hannah Casto is currently second with a 650 and Seaman's Makenzie Millard third with a 590.

  • Highland Park boys roll to 65-40 Senior Night win over Manhattan


    By Rick Peterson


    After some hiccups earlier in the season, Highland Park's boys basketball team has continued to make steady progress, as evidenced by the Scots' 8-game winning streak.

    And Highland Park's latest win Wednesday night may well have been its best performance of the year, with the Scots taking control by the end of the opening quarter on the way to a 65-40 Centennial League romp over Manhattan on Senior Night at Hi Park.

    “You could kind of seeing it coming and it’s been good to see the progression, to see where we were back in December and to keep building and be at the spot we’re at right now late in the season,'' Highland Park coach Michael Williams said.

    “It’s just good to put a whole game together. I think over the course of the season we’ve put stretches together and put quarters together, but now to be able to put together three quarters, three and a half quarters, four quarters, I think that’s boding well.’’


    Highland Park opened up a 17-8 first-quarter advantage and stretched its advantage to 30-19 at the half before turning the game into a rout with a 35-21 scoring edge over the second half, improving to 11-5 overall and staying alive in the league race with a 10-3 record.

    The Scots also displayed perhaps their most balanced offensive attack of the season, with nine played cracking the scoring column and three seniors cracking double figures.

    MuKhajhae Daniels led Highland Park with a game-high 15 points while CJ Powell added 14 points and Jahi Peppers 11 as the Scots shot 51 percent and canned 9 3-pointers, including 3 from Powell and 2 from junior Juan'Tario Roberts, who finished with 8 points.

    "To see multiple guys involved, that was big,'' Williams said. "I think it's a testament to the kids just sticking through it.''

    Senior Owen Braxmeyer led Manhattan (8-8, 6-7) with 12 points while sophomore Jack Wilson added 9 points.

     CJPowell1000pointsDSC 5082Highland Park boys basketball coach Michael Williams speaks about Scot senior CJ Powell, who was honored before Wednesday's game for reaching the 1,000-point career milestone in a recent game. (Top photo by Rick Peterson/ Bottom photo by Rex Wolf)

  • Seaman, Price take Centennial League bowling titles

    By Rick Peterson


    They had to wait a couple of extra days to make it official, but Seaman's boys and girls bowling teams and sophomore Katie Price were crowned Centennial League bowling champs Friday.

    Eight of the nine league schools competed in the league meet Wednesday at West Ridge Lanes in two separate sessions, but the league meet did not finish up until Friday when Emporia bowled.

    Things remained the same at the top, however, with Seaman winning the boys team championship by a 3,380-3,330 margin over Washburn Rural while the Viking girls won by a 3,079-2,969 margin over Rural.

    Seaman's Price won the girls individual title with a 658 series, while Washburn Rural's Hannah Casto finished second with a 650 and Seaman's Makenzie Millard was third with a 590.

    Manhattan's Kyle Millett was the boys champ with a 706 series, followed by Junction City's Torrey Lindsay (673), Seaman's Ethan Burns (660) and Hayden's Aaron Thomas (657). 

    SeamangirlsbowlingSeaman's girls bowling team celebrates a strike during the Baker format games in Wednesday's Centennial League bowling tournament. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

  • Girls prep roundup: Hayden, Rural girls roll to Centennnial wins


    Hayden's girls basketball team turned in its biggest offensive night of the season, with nine players scoring and four cracking double figures in the Wildcats' 79-26 Centennial League romp at Highland Park.

    Hayden, which improved to 5-4 overall and in the league, was led by junior Carly Stuke with 18 points, while senior Rhen Calhoon added 16, freshman Lauren Sandstrom 13 and junior Sandy Anguiano 10 points for the Wildcats.

    The Wildcats jumped out to a 20-8 first-quarter advantage and took a commanding 49-14 lead to the locker room at the half. Hayden led 71-23 after three quarters and a running clock was used throughout the fourth.

    Highland Park (0-8, 0-8), which has fought a numbers crunch throughout the season, got a team-high 12 points from junior Aisya Taylor.


    Washburn Rural's girls started a bit slow in Friday's home Centennial League contest against Emporia, but the Junior Blues took control with an 18-7 second quarter on the way to a 58-35 victory.

  • A1 Key Performers January 18th, 2021

    Rick Peterson, TNS Sports Reporter

    by Rick Peterson
    Top Sports News

     Levi Braun mugLevi Braun

    LEVI BRAUN, Washburn University

    Braun, a 6-foot-4 redshirt freshman, turned in the biggest week of his Washburn career, scoring 34 points in two wins while canning 11 of 15 3-pointers. Braun had 19 points and 6 3s against Missouri Southern and 15 points on 5 3s against Pittsburg State.

  • A1 Lock & Key Performers February 8, 2021

    Rick Peterson


    HunterBentleymugHunter Bentley

    HUNTER BENTLEY, Washburn University

    Bentley, a 5-foot-9 senior guard out of Bishop Miege, scored a game-high 27 points and hit 9 of 9 free throw attempts as Washburn's women's basketball team bounced back from a pair of tough MIAA losses to take a 76-66 home victory over Northeastern State. Bentley scored 41 points on the week as the 7-8 Ichabods split games.

    TylerGeimanmugTyler Geiman

    TYLER GEIMAN, Washburn University

    A 6-1 senior point guard, the former Blue Valley star scored a game-high 29 points, including 21 in the second half, as Washburn, using just seven players due to injury and illness, improved to 12-3 with an 88-77 come-from-behind MIAA home victory over Rogers State. Geiman also had 8 assists and 7 rebounds for the Ichabods and scored 12 straight points in the second half to spearhead the win.

    Hailey HortonHailey Horton

    HAILEY HORTON, Silver Lake

    A freshman, Horton won the 155-pound title in Friday's Division II District Girls Wrestling Tournament at Marysville, helping the Eagles win the district team championship by an 88-73 margin over Holton. Horton won her first match with a 23-second pin before taking a 7-2 decision over Atchison County's Hannah Simmers in the finals.

    Daigan KrugerDaigan Kruger

    DAIGAN KRUGER, Silver Lake

    Kruger, a junior, won the 170-pound championship in Saturday's Class 3A-1A  District Boys Wrestling Tournament at Silver Lake, posting three straight pins to help the Eagles win the team title. Kruger, now 41-1 on the season, posted pins in 36 seconds and 2 minutes, 36 seconds to reach the finals and pinned Mission Valley's Justice Dunbar in 1:09 to win the 170 title. 

    CJ PowellCJ Powell

    CJ POWELL, Highland Park

    Powell, a 6-7 senior, scored 59 points in two games on the week as Highland Park's boys basketball team extended its winning streak to five games with Centennial League victories over Emporia and Seaman. Powell scored 31 points in the Scots' 63-58 win over Emporia and followed that up with a 28-point performance in the Scots' 55-47 overtime win over Seaman on Friday, forcing the OT with a clutch 3-point loss. 

    MarqueWilkersonMarque Wilkerson


    Wilkerson, a 6-2 senior, scored a game-high 25 points as Topeka West's boys basketball team took over sole possession of the Centennial League lead with a 63-46 home Centennial League win over Washburn Rural. Continuing a recent hot streak, Wilkerson scored 16 points in the first half and hit 11 of 14 field goal attempts on the night as the Chargers improved to 11-2 overall and 8-1 in the league. 

  • Prep roundup: Heights sweeps Leavenworth, Rural girls cruise

    Rick Peterson


    Still playing without senior standout Isiah Johnson and his 30-point scoring average due to COVID-19 protocols, Shawnee Heights went on the road Tuesday night and came home with a big 63-51 United Kansas Conference win over Leavenworth.

    Four Shawnee Heights players cracked double figures, led by sophomore Dante' Harrison with 17 points, as the T-Birds improved to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the UKC.

    Andrew Rantz and Harvey Davis both added 12 points for the T-Birds while Nate Pewe had 11 for the T-Birds.

    "It was a big win,'' Heights coach Ken Darting said. "I think this is something we can build on. We just need to keep growing every day and I think we will.'' 

  • Brooks, Topeka West boys off to red-hot start

    Rick Peterson


    Topeka West junior basketball standout Elijah Brooks certainly didn't want to have to fight through an injury earlier this season.

    But after going down early in the Chargers’ game against Shawnee Heights with an injury to his left foot and missing West’s final game before the holiday break against Manhattan, the 6-foot-3 Brooks is quickly making up for lost time.

    “I rolled it when I tried to stop too quick and I dislocated a bone,’’ Brooks said.

    Elijah Brooks 270

    Elijah Brooks

    Brooks had to stay off the foot for a couple of weeks, but said that time made him appreciate how much he loves the game.

    “It makes you anxious and it makes you look at the game better and see you need to cherish every moment that you play,’’ Brooks said.

    Brooks has been outstanding since returning to action, scoring 28 points in West’ 78-60 Centennial League win over Hayden last Friday and following that up with a 29-point performance in Tuesday’s 76-50 win over Emporia.

  • Highland Park boys hand West first loss, 57-54 in overtime

    Rick Peterson


    Highland Park boys basketball coach Michael Williams isn't quite ready to say his Scots are all the way back after an inconsistent start to the 2020-21 season, but Williams knows that Friday night's 57-54 home overtime win over previously-unbeaten Topeka West was a big step in the right direction.

    "Obviously we want wins, we don't want losses, but the biggest thing we want more than anything is to just play Highland Park basketball and just to be ourselves, just to look like ourselves out there on both sides of the ball,'' said Williams, whose Scots improved to 3-3 overall and in the Centennial League. 

    "I feel like it's coming and all we're looking for is fight.''

    CJ Powell

    CJ Powell

  • West boys, Rural girls dominate bowling quadrangular

    Rick Peterson


    Topeka West's boys and Washburn Rural's girls bowling teams turned in dominating performances in Tuesday's Topeka High quadrangular at Gage Bowl.

    Topeka West won the boys team championship by 154 pins over Washburn Rural (2,653-2,499) while West's Zach Phillips and Justin Brookens went one-two individually, rolling 704 and 656 series, respectively.

    Washburn Rural's girls, meanwhile, swept the top four individual spots on the way to a 375-pin victory over Topeka High (2,230-1,855), with Logan Wiesendanger taking individual honors with a 559 series. Rural's Hannah Casto finished second with a 548 series, while Kaitlyn Doyal was third (547) and Callie Hart fourth (520).

  • Highland Park boys ride hot start to 61-47 win at Manhattan

    Rick Peterson


    Highland Park boys basketball coach Michael Williams has been looking for his Scots to play with a little more urgency out of the gate.

    Williams got his wish Tuesday night at Manhattan, with the Scots rolling to a 17-5 first-quarter lead and a 28-14 halftime advantage on the way to a 61-47 Centennial League victory.

    CJ Powell, a 6-foot-7 senior, had big first and fourth quarters for Highland Park, scoring 11 points in the opening quarter and 10 in the fourth, finishing with a game-high 27 points to lead the way as the Scots evened their record at 5-5 (4-3 in the league) with their second straight win.

    Junior Juan'Tario Roberts added 14 points with a pair of 3-pointers for Highland Park.

    Manhattan (3-4, 2-2) got 24 points from senior Owen Braxmeyer, including 3 3-pointers, to lead the Indians.

    The Indians used an 18-13 third quarter to cut Highland Park's lead to 41-32 at the start of the fourth quarter, but the Scots closed out their win with a 20-15 fourth-quarter scoring edge.


    Highland Park 17 11 13 20 -- 61

    Manhattan 5 9 18 15 -- 47 

    Highland Park (5-5, 4-3) -- Peppers 3 1-2 8, Powell 12 2-4 27, Kingcannon 1 0-0 3, Prosper 0 0-0 0, Roberts 6 0-0 14, Richardson 1 0-0 2, Simms 0 0-0 0, Daniels 2 3-4 7, Flores 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 6-10 61.

    Manhattan (3-4, 2-2) -- Hall 0 0-0 0, Braxmeyer 10 1-1 24, Brown 0 0-0 0, Perkins 2 2-2 8, Reid 1 1-1 3, Wilson 0 2-2 2, Carr 1 3-3 6, Wilson 2 0-2 4. Totals 16 9-11 47.

    3-point goals -- Highland Park 5 (Roberts 2, Peppers, Powell, Kingcannon), Manhattan 6 (Braxmeyer 3, Perkins 2, Carr). Total fouls -- Highland Park 14, Manhattan 12. Fouled out -- none.



  • Scots looking to build off big win in Topeka Invitational

    Rick Peterson


    Highland Park boys basketball coach Michael Williams is quick to admit that the early portion of the 2020-21 season wasn’t what he expected for his Scots, who were coming off a 15-8 record and a trip to the Class 5A state tournament last season.

    But after an inconsistent start, Highland Park enters this week’s Topeka Invitational Tournament at Topeka High on a high note after topping Topeka West 57-54 in overtime last Friday, with the Scots handing the Chargers their first loss.

     “It was kind of getting to us mentally a little bit and we were looking around at each other and kind of questioning some things,’’ said Williams, whose team improved to 3-3 with the win over West. “I think a game like (last Friday) can kind of help our mindset and to get back on track.

  • Seaman, Shawnee Heights bowlers claim team, individual titles

    Rick Peterson


    Seaman’s bowling teams dominated Tuesday's quadrangular at West Ridge Lanes, sweeping all four titles.

    Seaman's boys won the team championship by a 2,445-2,185 over Topeka West, with senior Dylan Birkenbaugh leading a 1-2-3 individual finish for the Vikings.

    Birkenbaugh posted a 628 three-game series while Jack Easum was second with a 618 and Braxton Moore finished third with a 591.

    Seaman's girls won by a 1,974-1,737 margin over Hayden while Viking junior Makenzie Millard took top individual honors with a 596 series.

    Topeka West's Justin Brookens finished fourth in the boys division with a 569 while Aaron Thomas of Hayden rounded out the top five with a 562.

    Hayden's Kayla Simons finished second individually with a 528 series while Topeka West's Megan Wood took third (525), Seaman's Katie Price fourth (487) and Highland Park's Jackie Perez fifth (473).


    Shawnee Heights continued its hot start to the 2021 season, sweeping the titles in Tuesday's home United Kansas Conference triangular at Gage Bowl. 

    Heights’ boys won the team championship by a 2,377-2,022 margin over Turner by 355 pins, with the T-Birds sweeping the top three individual spots.

    Josh Egly won the boys title with a 588 series while Benjamin Weinzirl was second with a 587 and Aidan VanMetre third with a 580.

  • Scots, Trojans fall in Topeka Invitational openers

    Rick Peterson


    Highland Park gave itself a chance at the end of Thursday's Topeka Invitational Tournament first-round game against Wichita Southeast, but the Scots game up just short, falling 55-54 to the Buffalos at Topeka High.

    Highland Park, which fell to 3-4, trailed Southeast 17-8 at the end of the first quarter, 33-24 at the half and 45-34 through three quarter, but the Scots outscored the Buffs 20-10 the rest of the way to get back in the hunt.

    The Scots had an opportunity to tie the game with 2.1 seconds remaining in regulation, but a missed free throw allowed Southeast to escape with the victory.

    Sophomore Kobe Smith led Wichita Southeast with 22 points.

  • Valdivia, Hayden girls take titles in bowling triangular

    Rick Peterson


    Hayden senior Isabella Valdivia captured the individual title to lead the Wildcats to the girls team championship in Wednesday's Hayden bowling triangular at Gage Bowl.

    Valdivia bowled a 506 three-game series to claim individual honors while Hayden earned the team title by a 1,720-1,508 margin over Ottawa. Highland Park was third with a 1,462 team score.

    Hayden also got third and fourth-place from senior Grace Moran (416) and junior Kayla Simons (409) while Highland Park’s Alaura Austin was fifth (391).

  • Chargers get back on track with 67-57 win over Highland Park

    Rick Peterson

    DSC 5328Topeka West's Marque Wilkerson reaches for a basket during Thursday nights game against Shawnee Mission North /Photo by Rex Wolf TSNBy RICK PETERSON

    Topeka West's two-game mini-skid started with Highland Park and it also ended with the Scots.

    Topeka West dropped a 57-54 overtime decision at Highland Park in its final game leading into the Topeka Invitational Tournament and then dropped a 60-59 decision to Shawnee Mission North on Thursday, prompting veteran West coach Rick Bloomquist to promise some changes for Friday's consolation game against the Scots.

    The moves paid off, with the 7-2 Chargers building a 17-point lead and surviving a furious fourth-quarter rally by the 3-5 Scots to take a 67-57 victory in Topeka High's auxiliary gym and advance to Saturday's 4:30 p.m. fifth-place game against Hayden.

    "They're good kids. There's no knuckleheads out there, there's no head cases on this team and and they were as embarrassed with themselves last night as everybody else was and they wanted to change,'' Bloomquist said.

    "I was kind of anxious to see how they'd react because this is a tough game to play, not only physically because of Highland Park and the athleticism they have, but because of where we were and what gym we were in. There's nothing good about this (consolation) game at all, but we played extrordinarily well for the circumstances.''

    Topeka West got big games from its senior leaders, with Marque Wilkerson scoring a game-high 22 points and Trevion Alexander adding 17, but the Chargers, who played without injured junior standout Elijah Brooks, also got key contributions from several other players.

  • Prep roundup: High girls take 71-28 road win at Shawnee Heights

    Rick Peterson


    Shawnee Heights' girls basketball team was able to stay within striking distance of top-ranked and undefeated Topeka High through the first half Thursday night before the Trojans pulled away for a 71-28 win at Shawnee Heights with a dominating second half. 

    Shawnee Heights was within 3 points early in the second quarter and was down by a 30-20 margin at the half before the Trojans outscored the T-Birds 41-8 in the second half to improve to 9-0 on the season.

    Junior NiJaree Canady scored 16 of her game-high 28 points in the first half while senior Lilly Smith added 16 points and 4 3-pointers and sophomore Kiki Smith 11 points and 3 3s.

    Senior Tatum Brown and freshman Breezy Canady scored 7 points apiece for Shawnee Heights (3-5) while senior Taylor Hawkins added 6 points on a pair of 3-pointers.

  • Highland Park rides big first half to 54-43 tourney win over High

    Rick Peterson


    Highland Park's boys basketball team is still searching for the consistency the Scots will need to become a Class 5A contender this season, and that issue crept up again Saturday in the second half of the Scots' Topeka Invitational Tournament seventh-place game against Topeka High.

    Fortunately for Highland Park, the Scots had played well enough in a 33-16 first half to give them enough of a margin to hold off the Trojans for a 54-43 victory in High's auxiliary gym.

  • Birkenbaugh, Millard lead Seaman bowlers in Emporia quad scorefest

    Rick Peterson



    High scores were the norm in Thursday's Emporia's Quadrangular at Flint Hills Lanes, with four bowlers rolling 700-plus series and competitors combining for 15 games over 240.

    Seaman dominated the day, with Viking junior Makenzie Millard and senior Dylan Birkenbaugh sweeping the individual titles and leading their teams to team championships.

    Dylan BirkenbaughDylan Birkenbaugh

    Millard rolled a 708 three-game series, including games of 258 and 246, to lead Seaman's girls to a 2,524-1,827 margin over host Emporia as the Viking swept the top four individual spots.

    MakenzieMillardMakenzie Millard

  • Prep roundup: Hi Park boys win third straight, 63-37 over Hayden

    Rick Peterson


    Highland Park’s boys basketball team reeled off its third straight win Friday night, rolling to a 63-37 Centennial League home victory over Hayden to climb to 6-5 on the season.

    Highland Park, 5-3 in the league, is above the .500 mark for the first time this season after Friday’s win.

    Highland Park trailed by 6 points early in the second quarter, but rallied for a 29-20 halftime advantage and cruised the rest of the way.

    The Scots had four players crack double figures while limiting Hayden to no more than 11 points in a quarter and 17 second-half points.

  • Seaman girls end five-game losing streak in 68-31 romp past Scots

    Rick Peterson



    In the midst of a five-game losing streak, the only objective for Matt Tinsley's Seaman girls basketball team Friday night against Highland Park was to get back in the victory column.

    The Vikings achieved that goal in impressive fashion, leading wire to wire in a 68-31 Centennial League road win over the Scots.

    Matt TinsleyMatt Tinsley's Seaman Lady Vikings snapped a five-game losing streak with a 68-31 win over Highland Park Friday night at Highland Park. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

  • Powell stars as Highland Park outlasts Seaman in OT, 55-47

    Rick Peterson



    Earlier in the season Highland Park had trouble in close games, getting off to a 3-5 start with three losses by 3 or fewer points.

    But suddenly the Scots are finding a way to win those games, including Friday's 55-47 overtime Centennial League decision over Seaman at Highland Park.

    Highland Park, which had dropped a 66-63 double-overtime decision to the Vikings early in the season, trailed much of the game in Friday's rematch, but the Scots rallied to force overtime on a clutch 3-pointer from 6-foot-7 senior CJ Powell with 2 seconds left in regulation and then outscored Seaman 15-7 in the OT to stretch their winning streak to five games.

  • Prep roundup: Seaman boys climb above .500 mark with win over Lansing

    Rick Peterson



    Seaman's boys basketball team continued its turnaround season with perhaps its biggest victory of the year Friday night, climbing above .500 with an 81-68 non-league road win at Lansing.

    The Vikings, who improved to 9-8 on the year, trailed 13-12 at the end of the first quarter, but outscored the 9-6 Lions 69-55 over the final three periods.

    Seaman used a 20-15 second quarter to take a 32-28 halftime lead and then boosted its advantage to 54-47 at the end of the third before outscoring Lansing 27-21 the rest of the way.

    IMG 4520 4Ty Henry

  • CJ Powell, Scots back in form for crunch time

    Rick Peterson



    Anybody who follows high school basketball in Topeka knows what Highland Park 6-foot-7 senior CJ Powell is capable of.

    After all, Powell has been a key component of Highland Park's team since he stepped on campus and averaged 18 points and 7 rebounds as a junior, helping lead the Scots to a 15-8 record and a Class 5A state tournament appearance.

    But CJ wasn't CJ early in the 2020-21 season, at least not on a consistent basis, and neither were the Scots, who struggled to a 3-5 record out of the gate.

    But both Powell and Highland Park seem to be hitting their stride heading into the most important stretch of the season, with the Scots winning six straight games entering Tuesday night's game at Topeka High while Powell is coming off 31 and 28-point performances last week in wins over Emporia and Seaman and added 19 points in Monday's 57-50 Centennial League win at Emporia.

    CJPowellactionHIghland Park senior CJ Powell rejects a shot earlier this season. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    Powell started his senior year with a sub-par 7-point effort in a 54-40 loss to Hayden and averaged just 10.3 points prior to the holiday break before steadily raising his scoring average and his game since then. 

     "It was tough,'' Powell said of his start to the year. "But I just had to get in the gym and put in more work in order to get better. I got in the gym by myself, where my happy place is, and just had to play and just get myself right for the next game. Always keep your head up.''

    It was also frustrating for Highland Park coach Michael Williams to watch as the experienced Scots struggled early, but he likes the way his team is playing as postseason nears, with Powell leading the charge.

    "I think the reality of it is that we're banking on our horses,'' Williams said. "We're banking on our experienced guys and when our experienced guys don't (play well) we are going to struggle.''

    Willams thinks Powell has used his early-season struggles as fuel to return to the form he flashed last season. 

    "I think there's been motivation in his direction for CJ as of late,'' Williams said. "It ain't about the accolades and stuff like that, but a high school kid, they want that. I think he's seen some of the things, his name not mentioned, him not being acknowledged at times and the reality of it is he just wasn't putting numbers up, but we know what's inside of him and we know what he's capable of and I think he's starting to understand those things along the way.

    "It's like, 'Hey, we get what's happening, we get what other guys are doing and we know what you're capable of doing as well, too.' The biggest part of it is we just need CJ Powell. We need CJ Powell to be himself. We need CJ Powell to be the most dominant player in the city and if we don't get that we're going to struggle. If we do get that I think we kind of get back to playing that Highland Park basketball that we've been trying to get to.''



  • Side by side: Bond between WU alums Wilhoite, Hastings continues with NFL coaching jumps

    Rick Peterson



    When Highland Park graduate Michael Wilhoite and Wichita native Joe Hastings arrived on Washburn University's campus in 2005 they became fast friends.

    That bond has continued ever since, from standout careers for Craig Schurig's Ichabods to playing together for the San Francisco 49ers to becoming coaches in the NFL -- Wilhoite with the Los Angeles Chargers after a two-year stint with the New Orleans Saints and Hastings a recent addition to the Indianapolis Colts' staff.

    "Those two really have a neat story together,'' Schurig said. "Their careers are almost mirror images with all the ups and downs they've had and even their playing career here was so similar. Their work ethic, their drive, their communication, just about everything you could imagine they've done it almost side by side and not on purpose, it just happened that way. It's just really cool.''

    MichaelWilhoiteFormer Washburn standout Michael Wilhoite went to play six seasons in the NFL and was recently named linebackers coach for the Los Angeles Chargers. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

    Wilhoite, who played linebacker and special teams for six years in the NFL for the 49ers and Seahawks before launching his coaching career, said he's extremely thankful for his friendship with Hastings.

    "I thnk that's obviously God and that's just us loving each other,'' said Wilhoite, who was recently named linebackers coach for the Chargers. "One thing about us both is we always do things with the right intentions, I think, and we always try to be the best that we can be individually and I think we always want the people around us to be the best they can be. So we'll always travel in similar circles with similar people and accomplish similar things because we both have the same mindset.''

    JoeHastingsactionJoe Hastings, former star receiver at Washburn, was recently named to the Indianapolis Colts' coaching staff as special teams assistant. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

  • West sweeps Highland Park, Bloomquist touched by Scots' tribute

    Rick Peterson

    DSC 7774Topeka West's Zander Putthoff lines up one of several 3 pointers against Highland Park. (Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN)



    Every once in a while, we all need a reminder that some things are bigger than sports.

    Before falling to Centennial League-champion Topeka West 86-64 Tuesday night at West, the Highland Park boys basketball team gave everyone in attendance that reminder.

    At the conclusion of West’s Senior Night festivities, the boys took the floor to warmup, but the Scots weren’t sporting their typical pregame garb.

    Instead, they wore pink T-shirts with the words ‘We Support Coach Bloom,' in honor of the Chargers’ head coach, Rick Bloomquist, who was recently diagnosed with Stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma.

    It was a small gesture, but one that made a huge impact and caught Bloomquist by surprise.

    “I come walking out here and thought, ‘What the hell are they wearing pink shirts for?’ Then it hit me.” Bloomquist said. “It was the most sincere form of respect anyone had ever given me.”

  • Prep roundup: Seaman boys win sixth straight; Rural's Berry tops 1,000-point mark

    Rick Peterson


    Seaman’s boys basketball team continued its late-season surge Friday night at Emporia, riding a solid defensive effort to a 48-32 Centennial League win, the Vikings’ sixth straight win.

    Seaman, which improved to 12-8 overall and 10-6 in the league, trailed 13-12 after the opening quarter, but the Vikings outscored the Spartans 13-3 in the second quarter to take a 24-16 halftime advantage and held a 23-16 scoring edge the rest of the way.

    Seaman and Emporia (8-12, 4-12) will hook up again Wednesday at Seaman in a first-round Class 5A sub-state contest.

    Junior Ty Henry scored 15 points to lead the Vikings while Mateo Hyman, Caden Stallbaumer and Aron Davis added 8 points apiece.

    Senior Charles Snyder scored a game-high 17 points for Emporia.


    Washburn Rural Joe Berry eclipsed the 1,000-point scoring milestone for his career with a 14-point night and senior Jack Hutchinson added 12 as the Junior Blues avenged an earlier loss to Highland Park, 58-43.

    Joe BerryJoe Berry

  • Prep roundup: Hayden boys' upset bid falls short

    Rick Peterson


    Hayden's boys basketball team put itself in position to pull off a Class 4A sub-state Tuesday night before top seed Wamego took control in the fourth quarter for a 64-55 win on the Red Raiders’ home court.

    Hayden was deadlocked with Wamego 36-all entering the fourth quarter, but the Red Raiders outscored the Wildcats 28-19 the rest of the way.

    Hayden, which finished with a 4-16 record, was led by sophomore Joe Otting with 23 points while senior Vacario Triplett added 13 points and Jake Muller 10.

    Wamego (15-5) put Hayden away with a 19 of 24 performance at the free throw line in the fourth.

    Jake Fritz scored a game-high 25 points for Wamego with 5 3-pointers and an 8 of 12 performance at the free throw line while Tanner Hecht added 20 points.

    Wamego went 28 of 35 at the free throw line while Hayden was 10 of 14.


    Highland Park’s girls basketball team saw its winless season come to a close in a 97-27 Class 5A sub-state loss at St. James Academy.

    The Scots. 0-16, trailed 10-8 St. James 26-5 at the end of the first quarter and 53-17 at the half.

    Senior Isabella Carter led Highland Park with 15 while junior Aisya Taylor added 12 points.


    Shawnee Heights girls turned in a solid defensive effort, but struggled offensively in a season-ending 45-34 Class 5A sub-state loss at De Soto, which improved to 11-10.

  • Thunder holds off Scots for 67-59 5A boys sub-state victory

    Rick Peterson




    Highland Park's boys basketball team put together a heck of a comeback Wednesday night after falling behind by 11 points in the second quarter and by 15 in the third, but it wasn't quite enough as St. James Academy held off the Scots for a 67-59 Class 5A sub-state semifinal road win.

    St. James, which improved to 11-9, looked to be on the verge of turning the game into a rout when it opened up a 44-29 advantage midway through the third quarter, but 12-8 Highland Park cut its deficit to 8 points (48-40) by the end of the period and then opened the fourth with back-to-back 3-pointers from Jahi Peppers and Juan'Tario Roberts to get within 2 points with 7:15 remaining.

    Moments later the Scots missed a shot with a chance to take the lead and the Thunder held on to advance to Saturday's sub-state championship game at De Soto, a 61-41 winner over Shawnee Heights.

  • Commentary: USD 501 wrestlers to feel the pain of having season canceled


    It's hard to criticize any school board -- in this case the Unified School District 501 board -- for ruling on the side of safety in the age of COVID-19.

    I believe the 501 board had the best interests of student-athletes in mind when it chose not to allow wrestling to begin, effectively canceling the entire 2020-21 wrestling season for Highland Park, Topeka High and Topeka West, although I sincerely wish the board could have found a way to follow the lead of more than 200 other schools across the state and allowed district teams to compete in some form this winter.

    District schools in other sports have shown to be willing to do anything the board mandates -- masks, limited numbers in practice and games, etc. -- just to have a chance to play.

    Whether the board's decision was a good or bad one won't be known for several months, but there's no doubt it's going to be a hard pill to swallow for those involved.

  • Wishes for a healthy, happy 2021

    Rick Peterson, Top Sports News Writer


    You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who isn’t chomping at the bit to start a brand new year and put the disappointment and struggles of 2020 behind them.

    That includes athletes, coaches and teams at all athletic levels who have dealt with the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus for nearly 10 months.

    Everybody is in search of some positivity in their lives and here’s some wishes for the new year that could help in that regard:

  • TopSports.news’ 10 girls basketball players to watch

    Rick Peterson, Top Sports News Writer


    Adysen Burghart

    ADYSEN BURGHART, Shawnee Heights

    A 5-foot-8 senior, Burghart earned All-United Kansas Conference honorable mention last season after helping lead the T-Birds to an 11-11 record. Burghart ranked among the city leaders in free throw shooting (72.9%) and steals (2.0). Burghart has cracked double figures in all three games for 1-2 Heights this season, averaging 13.3 points.

    NiJaree Canady 2

    NiJAREE CANADY, Topeka High

    Canady, a 6-foot junior, was a first-team Kansas Basketball Coaches Association All-Class 6A selection last season and was the Centennial League player of the year after averaging 18.8 points and 10.2 rebounds for the 23-0 Trojans. Canady has averaged 19.5 points, 12 rebounds and 2.5 steals this season as 3-0 Topeka High has stretched its win streak to 26 games.

  • TopSports.news' 10 boys basketball players to watch

    Rick Peterson, Top Sports News Writer


    Trevion Alexander

    Trevion Alexander, Topeka West

    A 6-foot-3 senior, Alexander was a first-team All-City selection last season, helping lead West to a 14-8 record and an eight-win improvement over the 2018-19 season. Alexander was a second-team All-Centennial League pick and averaged 12.9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.5 steals. Alexander is averaging 28.2 points this season for the 4-0 Chargers, with two 30-plus outings.

    Joe Berry

    Joe Berry, Washburn Rural

    Berry, a 6-3 senior, earned All-City top-five honors for the second straight season after averaging 17 points and 5 rebounds and leading the Junior Blues to a 16-5 record and a share of the Centennial League title. He was named Centennial League co-player of the year. Berry, who helped Rural post a runner-up state finish as a sophomore, is averaging 13 points this season for 3-1 Rural.