- Created: Wednesday, 09 February 2022 05:45
By ISAAC DEER
All eyes were on the slick performances of Topeka West’s Sincere Austin and Elijah Brooks on Tuesday night at West.
Brooks and Austin accounted for 69 percent of the Chargers' 77 points in a 77-48 Centennial League win against Manhattan. The tandem hit a combined six 3-point shots, went five of seven from the free throw line and converted 15 of West's 21 made field goals.
Sensational scoring nights from Brooks are something that Topeka West is quite used to and despite sitting out some of the third and fourth quarters, Brooks was able to put up 28 points on the night.
“Things were good for three quarters,” Brooks said. “We started picking up the pace in the second quarter. From there, we started running the court well. I thought we played pretty good tonight.”
That second quarter, as Brooks mentioned, was what separated Topeka West from Manhattan as the Chargers outscored the Indians, 22-11.
All 22 of those points were provided by Brooks and Austin.
Austin’s 25 points looked effortless. The junior hit a team-high five three-point shots against Manhattan.
“Tonight felt (good),” Austin said. “We are finally pulling together. The coaches are letting me be myself and play my game. I’ve noticed myself and the team passing and shooting the ball more. We are looking better.”
Despite Manhattan’s 4-11, 3-8 record, the Indians have played quality basketball at times this season.
Topeka West coach Rick Bloomquist was worried about what kind of matchup problems the Indians presented coming into Tuesday night’s contest.
“Manhattan is a high-quality basketball team,” said Bloomquist. “I think (Manhattan) showed you how good they are when they beat one of the most athletic teams in the Centennial League (Junction City). Personally, it was a scary game for me. I know how well Manhattan plays, how they’re coached, and how good (Manhattan) is in the 3-2 zone.
“I thought we read and reacted well to Manhattan’s zone defense. I thought we moved the ball well. I thought that we had Manhattan moving a lot faster than they probably wanted to. I think tonight worked to our benefit.”