Highland Park's boys basketball team posted an outstanding 24-1 record and a third-place Class 5A state finish in the 2022-2023 season.

JaCoreyRobinsonForBrentHighland Park junior Ja'Corey Robinson is coming off a 35-point, 12-rebound performance in last Friday's 80-48 sub-state win over Bonner Springs. [File photo/TSN]

But a full year later there's still not a day that goes by that Scots coach Mike Williams and his team doesn't re-live that one loss -- a 55-54 state semifinal heartbreaker to Andover -- that ended Highland Park's dreams of the '23 state championship.

"There's such a nasty taste,'' Williams said. "If it was up to me, I would have pushed fast forward and then to next week already.''

And as fate would have it, Williams and Co. get a chance to wipe that bad taste out of their mouths when No. 2 seed Highland Park (21-1) and No. 7 Andover (18-4) kick off this year's state tournament at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Emporia's White Auditorium.

Andover led for only 43 seconds of last year's semifinal and only .5 of a second after the early stages of the first quarter, but that .5 of a second was enough to put Andover in the championship game, with the Trojans ending the game with a 7-0 run to pull out the one-point victory before earning the 5A title with a 54-46 win over Kapaun Mt. Carmel the following night.

Highland Park bounced back from the semifinal loss to roll to a 79-46 rout over Hutchinson in the third-place game, but that did little to ease the pain of the Andover loss.

"There hasn't been a day go by that we haven't thought about it, that we haven't talked about it,'' Williams said. "It's a little bit different for us because we talk about what we're trying to attain.

"A lot of people don't want to talk about championships, but we talk about it every day because we want our kids to know what our expectations are and what we're working towards.''

And what the Scots are working towards this season is another shot at the title.

Highland Park's only loss this season came to 6A state qualifier Wichita Northwest in the final of the Topeka Invitational Tournament and the Scots have reeled off 15 straight wins since that defeat, earning their third straight state berth with an 80-48 win over Bonner Springs in last Friday's sub-state final at Topeka West.

Junior Ja'Corey Robinson led the Scots with 35 points and 12 rebounds against Bonner Springs. 

The Highland Park-Andover winner will advance to a 2 p.m. semifinal on Friday to face the first-round winner between No. 3 seed Kapaun Mt. Carmel (19-3) and No. 6 De Soto (18-4).

On the other side of the bracket top seed Maize South (22-0) will play a 6 p.m. first-round game against No. 8 Great Bend (17-5) and No. 4 Piper (19-3) will face No. 5 Shawnee Heights (19-3) at 8 o'clock, with the winners playing a 6 p.m. Friday semifinal.

The tournament championship game will be played at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Here's a team-by-team glance at the other first-round games involving Shawnee County teams:



At White Auditorium, Emporia

8 p.m.

PIPER (4: 19-3) vs. SHAWNEE HEIGHTS (5: 19-3)

Shawnee Heights earned its first state tournament berth under Ken Darting with a 64-62 overtime win over St. Thomas Aquinas last

DeaconPomeroySTA 3Junior Deacon Pomeroy scored 18 points, including the game-winning hoop, in Shawnee Heights' 64-62 sub-state overtime win over St. Thomas Aquinas. [File photo/TSN]

Friday while Piper, coached by former Heights state-champion coach Steve Wallace, advanced to state with a 67-57 win over Blue Valley Southwest. Heights and Piper will playing for the third time after splitting a pair of United Kansas Conference games. The Pirates won the first meeting 66-58 in the second game of the season and Heights took a 68-64 win in the regular-season finale. Heights rallied from a double-digit deficit to beat Aquinas in the sub-state final. Senior Brennon Dodge led the T-Birds with 20 points while junior Deacon Pomeroy scored 18 points, including the game-winning basket off a pass from Dodge. Junior Jaret Sanchez added 11 points for Heights. The winner of Wednesday's first-round game will advance to a 6 p.m. Friday semifinal to face the first-round winner between No. 1 seed Maize South (22-0) and No. 8 Great Bend (17-5). 

DomRidleyTH 1Senior Dom Ridley scored 16 points for Hayden in Saturday's 71-67 double-overtime win over Sabetha in the final of the Royal Valley sub-state. [File photo/TSN]


At Sports Arena, Hutchinson

2 p.m.

BELOIT (1: 22-1) vs. HAYDEN (8: 8-15)

Hayden advanced to state with a 71-67 double overtime win over Sabetha Friday night while Beloit advanced with a 47-40 win over Nemaha Central. Senior Dom Ridley and freshman Mason Becker scored 16 points apiece for the Wildcats in the win over Sabetha while junior Jacob Deister added 13 points, seven in the second OT, and senior Carter Charvat scored nine points and hit a layup to force the second extra session. The Beloit-Hayden winner will advance to a 2 p.m. semifinal on Friday to take on the first-round winner between Wellsville (4: 20-3) and Ellsworth (5:19-4).

MaddieVickeryWS 3Freshman Maddie Vickery scored 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in Washburn Rural's 47-34 sub-state win over Wichita South. [File photo/TSN]


At Koch Arena, Wichita

6 p.m.

WICHITA HEIGHTS (4: 20-2) vs. WASHBURN RURAL (5: 16-5)

 Washburn Rural has advanced to the 6A state championship game the past two seasons, winning the title in 2022 and finishing second a year ago, dropping a 35-34 decision to Blue Valley North. Washburn Rural made it back to state with a 47-34 road win over Wichita South in its sub-state final, with the Junior Blues avenging a 44-38 overtime loss to South in the championship game of the Capital City Classic in late January. Freshman Maddie Vickery led Rural with 23 points and 12 rebounds while Zoe Canfield added 10 points and Ella Hirschi nine. Wichita Heights made it to state with a 43-25 win over Wichita Southeast and will be facing Rural for the second time this season. The Junior Blues took a 50-43 win over the Falcons in the semifinals of the Capital City Classic. The Rural-Heights winner will advance to a 6 p.m. Friday semifinal to face the quarterfinal winner between Derby (3: 19-3) and Shawnee Mission Northwest (6: 16-6).

MaddieGrabbBL 1Sophomore Maddie Gragg led Seaman with 16 points in Saturday's 68-33 sub-state in over Basehor-Linwood. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]



At White Auditorium, Emporia

4 p.m.

SEAMAN (4: 20-2) vs. DE SOTO (5: 19-3)

Seaman advanced to a return appearance in the state tournament with a 68-33 Saturday win over United Kansas Conference rival Basehor-Linwood, the Vikings' third win of the season over the Bobcats. Now Seaman faces another UKC rival, De Soto, for the third time. Seaman swept the regular-season games with the Wildcats, but both games have been close, with Seaman taking 49-44 and 50-47 decisions. Sophomore Maddie Gragg led Seaman with 16 points against Basehor-Linwood in the sub-state final while senior Taylin Stallbaumer had 15 points and three 3-pointers. De Soto made it to state with a 62-47 win over Shawnee Heights, which handed Seaman one of its two losses late in the regular season. The winner of the Seaman-De Soto game will advance to a 4 p.m. semifinal on Friday to take on the first-round winner between No. 1 Andover (22-0) and No. 8 Blue Valley Southwest (12-10).

MaKenzieMcDanielRossnew 1Silver Lake senior Makenzie McDaniel scored 22 points in the Eagles' 62-32 sub-state win over St. Marys in the final of the Riley County 3A sub-state. [File photo/TSN]


At the Sports Arena, Hutchinson

2 p.m.

SILVER LAKE (1: 23-0) vs. HAVEN (8: 16-7)

The Eagles will be making their fourth straight appearance in the Class 3A state tournament after finishing fourth a year ago and third in 2022. Silver Lake earned this year's state berth with Saturday's 62-32 win over Mid-East League rival St. Marys in the final of the Riley County sub-state. Senior Makenzie McDaniel led Silver Lake with 22 points against the Bears while senior McKinley Kruger added 19 points and four 3-pointers and sophomore Kailyn Hanni 13. The Eagles will be facing a Haven team that made it to state with a 48-39 win over Ellsworth in a sub-state final. With a victory Silver Lake will advance to a 4 p.m. Friday semifinal to face the winner of the opening-round game between No. 4 seed Heritage Christian Academy (20-3) and No. 5 Hayden (19-4).

LaurenSandstromJW 1Senior Lauren Sandstrom scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Hayden's 69-31 sub-state win over Jefferson West Saturday at Royal Valley. [Photo by Kyle Grunert/Special to TSN]


At the Sports Arena, Hutchinson

4 p.m.


Hayden is making its first state appearance in 3A after playing in the 4A state tournament a year ago. The Wildcats rolled to a 69-31 win over Jefferson West in Saturday's sub-state final in the Royal Valley sub-state while Heritage Christian advanced with a 59-47 win over Anderson County. Senior Lauren Sandstrom scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Wildcats' win over Jefferson West while junior Amelia Ramsey added 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and junior Brylee Meier had 11 points. The Hayden-Heritage Christian winner will move on to a 4 p.m. Friday semifinal to take on the winner of the quarterfinal between No. 1 Silver Lake (23-0) and No. 8 Haven (16-7).

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