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A hot shooting start for the visiting Lions from Lansing did not dissuade No. 9-ranked (Class 5A) Topeka West from running away with a dominant 73-44 United Kansas Conference win Tuesday night at West.

“There’s a time in the first quarter where the game settles and it's about how you are playing when the game settles,” said Topeka West coach Rick Bloomquist. “We talk about that a lot and we did a great job of maintaining our intensity and maintaining our poise.”

SincereAustinLansingSenior Sincere Austin scored a game-high 21 points as Topeka West rolled to a 73-44 UKC win over Lansing Tuesday night. [File photo/TSN]

The Chargers (11-3, 8-2) outscored the Lions 49-14 in the middle two quarters and used a full roster to do it. Even as the teams’ win streak extended to four games, it was Tuesday night’s win that showed Bloomquist that his team was truly moving in the right direction.

“Tonight I feel like that, and I hope I feel like that on Friday, too,” Bloomquist said. “They responded to what I asked them and what they needed to do and change and that’s why I like coaching at Topeka West, kids here really sincerely want to do well.”

Topeka West has now played and defeated Lansing three times already this season, with scores of 65-49, 55-32, and now 73-44, by far the most lopsided of the three.

“No question (we have grown) from the first time we played them … I was pleased with the way we attacked them,” Bloomquist said. “We like to play up and down the floor, and when you play like that every night is going to be different.”

Early on in game number three it was the Lions (1-12, 1-9) scoring, with three early 3-pointers, two coming from Brandon Stephens, giving the visitors an 11-6 lead.

The rest of the first quarter belonged to Chargers senior Sincere Austin, who had nine points in the first quarter on four of four shooting, resulting in a 19-13 advantage.

As the offense for Topeka West improved so did its defense. Traps and pressure by the Chargers helped fuel a 26-point second quarter, which saw both a 12-0 run in the middle of the quarter and a 15-0 run to end it.

Six T-West players scored in the quarter, led by six points from senior Malachi Berg, both coming on and-one’s. The lead was 45-19 at the break.

The deficit quickly ballooned to more than 30 points in the third quarter with more fast-breaking for Topeka West led by Berg and Austin. The quarter ended with the lead at its highest point of the game, 41 points, 68-27.

“We have been focusing on what we need to get done the first four minutes of the second half and I was really pleased with how we responded with that,” Bloomquist said.  

Both teams cleared the benches for the fourth quarter. For the Chargers, it meant that nine players would crack the scoring column, and 12 would take the court. Lansing won the final quarter 17-5, making the winning margin just 29 points at 73-44.

Austin led Topeka West with 21 points on nine of 10 shooting from the floor, including two 3-pointers. Berg was also efficient, finishing with 18 points on just 11 shots. Senior Xavier Alexander added nine points and freshman Keimani Paul had eight.

Lansing was led by junior Ryan French with nine points while Stephens added eight points.

The Chargers take their four-game winning streak on the road to take on Kansas City-Turner on Friday.


Topeka West 19 26 23 5 -- 73

Lansing          13 6 8 17 -- 44

Topeka West (11-3, 8-2) – Berg 7-11 4-6 18, Austin 9-10 1-3 21, Thompson 0-4 0-0 0, Paul 2-4 3-4 8, Duncan 0-2 0-0 0, Jones 2-2 0-0 4, Alexander 3-7 2-2 9, Chambers 1-2 0-1 2, Ford 1-4 0-0 3, Noonoo 1-1 1-2 3, Reimer 2-3 1-3 5, Ramcharan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 28-50 12-20 73           

Lansing (1-12, 1-9) – Expose 0-1 0-0 0, Grafke 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 1-1 0-0 3, Allen 0-1 0-0 0, Butler 1-3 0-0 3, Zimmerman 3-7 0-0 7, Thomas 2-3 0-0 4, Turner 0-0 0-0 0, Stephens 3-8 0-0 8, Anderson 0-2 0-0 0, Kell 1-1 0-0 3, French 2-7 3-4 9, Jackson 2-4 0-0 5. Totals 16-38 3-4 44.        

3-point goals – Topeka West 5 (Austin 2, Paul 1, Alexander 1, Ford 1), Lansing 9 (Stephens 2, French 2, Jackson 1, Kell 1, Zimmerman 1, Butler 1, Johnson 1). Total fouls – Topeka West 6, Lansing 14. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.