By RICK PETERSON
Topeka West tightened an already tight United Kansas Conference boys basketball race on Friday night, with the Chargers rallying for a 51-50 road win at De Soto, handing the Wildcats their first league loss.
Topeka West, which improved to 6-1 overall and 5-1 in the UKC, trailed De Soto (6-2. 4-1) 44-36 at the start of the fourth quarter but fought back for the victory, getting the game-winning free throw from senior Malachi Berg with 1.6 seconds remaining.
Senior Sincere Austin led the Chargers to their sixth straight victory with 21 points.
West and De Soto were tied at 26-26 at the half.
With Friday's win Topeka West is now part of a three-way tie for the league lead in the loss column with De Soto and Piper while Shawnee Heights and Basehor-Linwood are a game back.
DE SOTO GIRLS 58, TOPEKA WEST 38 -- Topeka West, which picked up its first win of the season in its final game before the holiday break, played state-ranked De Soto tough through three quarters before the Wildcats put the game away with a 19-7 fourth quarter.
De Soto, 6-2 overall, 4-1 in the United Kansas Conference, led 13-10 at the end of the first quarter and by just two points at the half (22-20) before opening up a 39-31 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.
With Friday's loss Topeka West fell to 1-6, 1-5.
SHAWNEE HEIGHTS GIRLS 49, LANSING 23 -- Shawnee Heights continued its hot streak in Friday night's United Kansas Conference road win at Lansing, with the T-Birds improving to 5-1 overall and in the UKC with their fifth straight victory.
Senior Emari Doby led the T-Birds with 15 points while senior Taylor Rottinghaus added 13 points.
Shawnee Heights has not lost since a four-point decision against De Soto in its season-opener and the T-Birds are tied for second with De Soto in the UKC race, a game behind undefeated Seaman.
SHAWNEE HEIGHTS BOYS 76, LANSING 50 -- Shawnee Heights improved to 4-2 overall and in the United Kansas Conference Friday with its third straight victory, rolling to a 76-50 United Kansas Conference win at Lansing.
With Friday's win the T-Birds remained a game out of the UKC lead.
Junior Brennon Dodge scored 17 points to lead five Shawnee Heights players in double figures.
Junior Jeremyah Kendrick added 13 points, sophomore Deacon Pomeroy and senior Q Stovall 11 points each and sophomore Jaret Sanchez 10 points for the T- Birds.
HIGHLAND PARK BOYS 66, ATCHISON 44 -- Second-ranked (Class 5A) HIghland Park opened 2023 with a 66-47 road win over previously-unbeaten Atchison in a key early-season Meadowlark Conference game.
Highland Park, which improved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Meadowlark Conference, got 18 points from senior Bo Aldridge, 14 from senior Tre Richardson and 13 points from sophomore Jacorey Robinson.
Atchison fell to 5-1 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
HIGHLAND PARK GIRLS 56, ATCHISON 40 -- Highland Park improved to 3-1 with its third straight win, rolling to a 56-40 Meadowlark Conference road decision over Atchison.
Highland Park is a perfect 2-0 in the Meadowlark Conference standings.
The Scots got a lift from Seonna Gowan-Britt, who had 16 points on the night, including 14 in the third quarter with four 3-pointers.
ROSSVILLE GIRLS 52, RILEY COUNTY 36 -- Rossville, ranked No. 9 in Class 3A by the KBCA, bounced back from its first loss of the season with a decisive 52-36 Mid-East League win over Riley County.
Rossville, which dropped a 63-50 league decision to No. 2-ranked Silver Lake on Tuesday, improved to 6-1 overall and 1-1 in the Mid-East League.
Three players cracked double figures for the Bulldawgs, led by junior Emma Mitchell with 17 points.
Freshman Rylee Dick added 12 points for Rossville with three 3-pointers while Kinley Porter had 10 points.
ROSSVILLE BOYS 52, RILEY COUNTY 33 -- After beginning the 2022-2033 season 0-4, Rossville has bounced back with three straight wins, including Friday night's 52-33 Mid-East League victory over Riley County.
The Bulldawgs, 3-4 overall, are off to a 2-0 start in the league race.
SILVER LAKE GIRLS 59, ROCK CREEK 30 -- Silver Lake, No. 2-ranked in Class 3A by the KBCA, remained unbeaten with a 59-30 Mid-East Leaue rout over Rock Creek.
Friday's win was the Eagles' second straight over a previously undefeate team on the week, with Silver Lake handing Rossville in its first loss in a 63-50 decision on Tuesday.
Silver Lake improved to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the Mid-East League while Rock Creek fell to 6-1, 3-1.
ROCK CREEK BOYS 52, SILVER LAKE 33 -- Silver Lake was in the hunt for most of Friday night's Mid-East League contest before Rock Creek outscored the Eagles' 17-2 over the final four minutes to pull away for the 52-33 win.
Rock Creek lead 21-19 at the half and 27-19 at the start of the fourth quarter before the Mustangs outscored the Eagles 25-14 in te final period.
Sophomore Jared Johnson, 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the Mid-East League, led Silver Lake with 13 points while senior Troy Heiman added eight points.
Rock Creek improved to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the league.
KANSAS CITY CHRISTIAN BOYS 64, CAIR PARAVEL LATIN 60 (2 OT) -- Trey Brown's Lions pushed Kansas City Christian to two overtimes before the Panthers prevailed 64-60 in a Kaw Valley Conference Contest.
Kansas City Christian and Cair Paravel were knotted at 25-25 at the half and 51-51 at the end of regulation.
Evan Will led Cair Paravel with 19 points and five 3-pointers while Ty Gossard added 15 points and Simon Everhart 10.
Kansas City Christian improved to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in the Kaw Valley Conference while Cair Paravel, which was playing its first game since Dec. 8, fell to 1-5 and 0-1.
KANSAS CITY CHRISTIAN GIRLS 40, CAIR PARAVEL LATIN 26 -- Cair Paravel trailed by only a 14-10 margin at halftime but Kansas City Christian was able to pull away for the 40-26 Kaw Valley Conference win in the second half.
Freshman Karsyn Hastert led the Lions with eight points while junior Josie Barkley added six points.
Kansas City Christian improved to 2-5 overall and 1-1 in the Kaw Valley Conference while Cair Paravel fell to 2-4, 0-1.