By Rick Peterson

Highland Park's boys basketball team faced an uphill battle against Kansas City, Mo.-Central in Friday's battle of state-ranked teams, with the Scots trailing the Eagles for much of the night, including an eight-point halftime deficit.

JaCoreyRobinsonCentral 3HIghland Park junior Ja'Corey Robinson (23) scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Friday's 65-60 win over KC-Central. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

But Highland Park, No. 3-ranked (Class 5A) by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association, is no stranger to facing, and overcoming, adversity and showed that meddle Friday at Topeka West, rallying for a 65-60 win over Central, ranked No. 4 (Class 4) by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association.

"We've been having a lot of ups and downs,'' said Scot junior standout Ja'Corey Robinson, who turned in a monster 27-point, 11-rebound performance. "We don't even have a gym (due to water damage), we can't even play on our home court, but we're just fighting through adversity.''

Central, which fell to 15-6, took a 17-14 lead at the end of the first quarter and opened up a 32-24 advantage at the halftime break.

But Highland Park junior Mikey Williams ignited a Scot rally with 12 third-quarter points, incuding three 3-pointers, as Hi Park taking a 49-45 lead into the final quarter.

The game was tied at 52 and 54 before Robinson converted a three-point play with 2:31 remaining to put Highland Park ahead to stay, with the Scots improving to 14-1

Highland Park coach Mike Williams said Friday night's test was exactly what the Scots needed entering their stretch run to the 2023-2024 season.

"In all aspects, from being down to fighting back, playing great players and figuring it out, it was a team win where guys had to come together and step up,'' Williams said.

"There was probably a little bit of doubt at halftime but for our guys to come out the second half and do what they did, I'm super proud of how they played.''

Robinson agreed with his coach that the win will benefit the Scots moving forward.

"We've been getting a lot of blowout games so this helps us a lot to prepare for state when it is close to be able to come back and win,'' Robinson said.

Williams backed Robinson with 19 points while senior Amari Taylor, who was named Highland Park's King of Courts in pregame ceremonies, added nine points.

Central senior Timothy Wooden Jr. led all scorers with 33 points, including five 3-pointers while senior Darren McHenry added 10 points for the Eagles.

Highland Park will be back in action Monday and Tuesday at Topeka West, hosting KC-Harmon on Monday and state-ranked Atchison on Tuesday in Meadowlark Conference contests.


KC-Central      17 15 13 15  -- 60

Highland Park 14 10 25 16 -- 65

KC-Central (15-6) -- Wooden Jr. 11-20 6-8 33, Moore 2-8 0-2 5, Fritz 1-2 0-0 2, McHenry 4-12 2-3 10, Ragdale 3-7 0-0 7, Jefferson 0-0 0-0 0, Thomas 1-3 0-0 3, Finley 0-0 0-0 0, Bridgewater 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-52 8-13 60.

Highland Park (14-1)-- Taylor 3-5 1-4 9, Wilson 1-2 3-4 5, Williams 5-16 4-6 19, Robinson 9-17 9-13 27, Anderson 2-11 0-0 5, Cameron 0-2 0-2 0, Kingcannon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-53 17-29 65.

3-point goals -- KC-Central 8 (Wooden Jr. 5, Moore, Ragsdale, Thomas), Highland Park 8 (Williams 5, Taylor 2, Anderson). Total fouls -- KC-Central 26, Highland Park 15. Fouled out -- McHenry, Ragsdale, Moore. Technical foul -- none.

Gold Partners

Community Partners

Gold Partners