By Rick Peterson

TopSports.news

Coming off a 15-point United Kansas Conference loss to Piper, Topeka West coach Rick Bloomquist was paying close attention to see how his Chargers would bounce back in Thursday's Topeka Invitational Tournament opener against UKC foe Lansing.

Bloomquist liked what he saw, particularly in the second half, as the Chargers advanced to Friday's semifinals with a 55-32 win over the Lions on West's home court.

SincereAustinLansingSenior Sincere Austin scored a game-high 18 points as Topeka West bounced back from a loss to Piper with a 55-32 win over Lansing in the opening round of the Topeka Invitational Tournament Thursday at Wesst. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

"It was a really good bounce-back win,'' Bloomquist said.

Topeka West, which shook up its lineup a bit against Lansing, was a little sloppy in the first half, but still led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter and the Chargers took a 26-17 lead to the locker room at the half.

The second half was all Topeka West, with the Chargers outscoring the Lions 29-15 en route to their second win of the season over Lansing.

West senior standout Xavier Alexander did not start and didn't enter the game until the second quarter but his Charger teammates took up the slack.

"We were absolutely horriible against Piper and when a team like we have plays that bad, you've got to be concerned and there's got to be changes and there's got to be drastic changes,'' Bloomquist said. "We went the drastic change route and that's a gamble by a coach because it can go the other way, too, but these kids believe in each other and believe in what we're doing so they battled through it

."The second half was a lot better for a lot of different reasons.''

Senior Sincere Austin led 7-2 Topeka West with a game-high 18 points, including three 3-pointers, while the Chargers also got a breakout performance from 6-foot-4 sophomore Mason Jones, who finished with a career-high 15 points after drawing a start for the Chargers.

"Mason Jones has got so much upside,'' Bloomquist said. "He's just got to learn to be an athlete as far as thinking like one and walking like one and being proud to be one. He is athletic, he just has to have that athlete mentality.''

Junior Caleb Noonoo added eight points for Topeka West while senior Malachi Berg chipped in with seven points and Alexander had five.

B. Stephens led Lansing (1-8) with 10 points, including two 3-pointers, but no other Lion scored more than five points.

With Thursday's win Topeka West moved on to a 6:45 p.m. semifinal to face Lawrence, a 61-52 overtime winner over Topeka High.

Lansing will play a 3:15 p.m. consolation game Friday against Topeka High.

TOPEKA WEST 55, LANSING 32 

Lansing               7 10 8 7 -- 32

Topeka West 14 12 15 14 -- 55

Lansing (1-8) -- Expose 2 0-0 4, Grafke 0 0-0 0, Thomas 1 2-2 4, Anderson 0 0-0 0, French 2 0-0 5, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Crawford 1 0-0 2, Allen 0 0-0 0, Graber 2 0-0 5, Zimmerman 1 0-0 2, Turner 0 0-0 0, Stephens 4 0-0 10, Jackson 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 2-2 32.

Topeka West (7-2)-- Berg 3 1-2 7, Austin 6 3-5 18, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Jones 7 1-3 15, Noonoo 3 2-2 8, Dillahunt 0 0-0 0, Paul 1 0-0 2, Duncan 0 0-0 0, Alexander 2 0-0 5, Chambers 0 0-0 0, Ford 0 0-0 0, Reimer 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 7-12 55.

3-point goals -- Lansing 4 (Stephens 2, Graber, French), Topeka West 4 (Austin 3, Alexander). Total fouls -- Lansing 11, Topeka West 7. Fouled out -- none. 

RESULTS THURSDAY

Highland Park 67, Shawnee Mission North 36

Wichita Southeast 76, Hayden 75 (OT)

Topeka West 55, Lansing 32

Lawrence 61, Topeka High 52 (OT)

GAMES FRIDAY

3:15 p.m. -- Topeka High vs. Lansing

5 -- Hayden vs. Shawnee Mission North.

6:45 -- Lawrence winner vs. Topeka West.

8:30 -- Highland Park vs. Wichita Southeast