Highland Park boys protect share of league lead with 73-65 win over Vikes

Rick Peterson


The No. 4-ranked Highland Park's boys basketball team entered Friday night's game at Seaman coming off back-to-back two-point Centennial League nailbiters against sub-.500 teams. 

But Scots coach Mike Williams perceived that as a positive, that his team had been able to show the grit to survive those two upset bids to retain its share of the league lead.

And Highland Park used the close calls against Hayden and Emporia as motivation Friday night, taking a wire-to-wire 73-65 win over the Vikings in front of a big crowd at Seaman.

KetraleusAldridgeSeaHighland Park junior Ketraleus Aldridge takes the ball to the hoop in Friday's 73-65 Centennial League win at Seaman. Aldridge led a balanced Scot offense with 22 points. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

"I've been stressing to our guys that it's February in the Centennial League and I think the biggest thing for us is figuring out how to win,'' Williams said. "The beautiful thing about both those games (Hayden and Emporia) is that late in those games we're executing the whole fourth quarter.

"That was the one thing that we took away from it that I was really, really, really pleased with, seeing our guys execute and stay poised. In the Hayden and Emporia games it was good to see us hang in there and close that gap and get over the hump.''

Improving to 13-2 overall and 10-1 in the league, Highland Park jumped in front 8-0 against Seaman and built double-digit leads in all four quarters while leading by as many as 13 points.

Seaman, which fell to 7-7, 6-5, mounted a late charge to pull within 63-59 with 1:57 remaining on a Gavin Wilhelm 3-pointer, but the Scots responded with six straight points and the Vikings got no closer than the final margin down the stretch.

Junior Ketraleus Aldridge scored 22 points to lead the Scots as all five Highland Park starters scored at least nine points.

Junior Tre Richardson scored 17 points while hitting all seven of his field goal attempts and all three free throws while junior Quentin Adams added 10 points with a pair of 3-pointers and senior Juan'Tario Roberts and junior Jahmir Kingcannon had nine points apiece.

MateoHymanHPSeaman senior Mateo Hyman scored a game-high 23 points in Friday's 73-65 loss to Highland Park. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Seaman senior Mateo Hyman paced Seaman with a game-high 23 points while senior Dreighton Griess added 14, junior Kaeden Bonner 13 and senior Ty Henry 12 points for the Vikings.

Highland Park will be back at home on Tuesday after three straight road games to host USD 501 rival Topeka High while Seaman will travel to Washburn Rural.


Highland Park 16 14 18 25 -- 73

Seaman             9 13 16 27  -- 65

Highland Park (13-2, 10-1) – Adams 4-4 0-0 10, Aldridge 7-15 8-9 22, Richardson 7-7 3-3 17, Kingcannon 4-9 0-1 9, Roberts 3-9 3-4 9, Clemons 0-0 0-2 0, Robinson 2-4 0-0 4, Reed 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 28-49 14-19 73.

Seaman (7-7, 6-5) -- Griess 4-9 5-7 14, Hyman 9-13 5-5 23, Henry 6-12 0-0 12, Bonner 5-10 1-1 13, Wilhelm 1-4 0-0 3, Barta 0-0 0-0 0, Finley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-48 11-13 65.

3-point goals – Highland Park 3 (Adams 2, Kingcannon), Seaman 4 (Bonner 2, Griess, Wilhelm). Total fouls – Highland Park 18, Seaman 19. Fouled out – Griess.

Gomez’s 24 lead Trojan boys to second straight win, 70-59 over Emporia  


The Washburn Review

Winning two of its last three games, Topeka High boy’s basketball was riding its best stretch of play heading into Friday night’s matchup with the visiting Emporia Spartans.

The Trojans would maintain that momentum as they took down Emporia for the second time this season, this time with a 70-59 high-scoring affair in the annual Dean Smith Game.

“That’s the key word, progress, we knew it was going to take a while, and we are by no means there. But when the season started we knew we were very young and very inexperienced,” said Topeka High coach Ty Baumgardner. “We just said stay the course and lets build for February.”

TyBaumgardner2Ty Baumgardner's Topeka High boys eclipsed last season's win total with a 70-59 Centennial League victory over Emporia Friday night. [File photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Topeka High knocked down 10 triples as the Trojans moved to 4-11 on the season to cap off an undefeated week.

“We got a good week but we got to get ready and move on because there is no rest,” Baumgardner said.

Turnovers dominated early as both teams combined for six field goal attempts in the first four minutes. The six first-quarter points for the Trojans were split between junior Mason Gomez and sophomore Germane Mays as Topeka High trailed  8-6 after one.

The Trojans got down by as many as eight early in the second, after seven quick points from Emporia junior Parker Leeds.

Then Topeka High got hot from deep, with four straight possessions ending in made 3-pointers. The first three came from junior Mason Gomez to retake the lead, with the final shot by sophomore Isaiah Lyons putting them up by four.

“I was just feeling good, every time I was open or felt like I was open I was pulling no matter what,” said Gomez, who finished the night with 24 points.

The Spartans would respond with the final four points of the half to go into halftime tied, 25-25.

The Trojans defense came out of halftime strong, allowing only four points in the first four and a half minutes to build a six-point lead.

Emporia would quickly respond, with six points from Leeds to take a lead. They would control it until Topeka High sophomore Mister Cameron converted an and-one drive with under two seconds left, resulting in a 43-41 lead entering the fourth.

In the fourth quarter, Gomez came alive again for the Trojans, knocking down three triples in the first four minutes, putting Topeka High up, 54-49.

“He carried us tonight, there's no question about it and that's what he can do, he can shoot the basketball. He has been having a hard time finding his groove and learning how to do things the way we want them done with a new offense,” Baumgardner said. “But he caught fire, and when he is in a groove he can be dangerous.”

Inside the final four minutes, the Trojans got two baskets from sophomore BJ Canady while Leeds continued to score for the Spartans to keep the deficit within five.

Topeka High turned up its full-court press in the final two minutes, forcing turnovers and in turn getting fouled by Emporia to stop the clock. Canady, Gomez and sophomore Bryson Thrasher each went 2-2 at the line, creating a 10-point cushion.

A few more free throws would seal it for the Trojans, who ended the night with the 11-point win.

“We did guard well down the stretch and we made our free throwsm but we were not real smart with our decisions so that’s a little disappointing and not seeing growth when we need to. But overall, pretty good down the stretch,” Baumgardner said.

The 24 points from Gomez on seven 3-pointers led the Trojans and the game in scoring. Canady and Thrasher each finished in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively, for Topeka High.

Leeds paced the Spartans with 23 points. Sophomore Sheldon Stewart finished with 12 points and senior Jacob Ortega added 10.

With the win Topeka High eclipsed its win total in the 2020-2021 season and improved to 4-7 in league play.

Next up is a road matchup with Highland Park on Tuesday.


Topeka High 6 19 18 27 -- 70

Emporia        8 17 16 18 -- 59

Topeka High (4-11, 4-7-) – Lyons 2-4 0-1 6, Mays 3-8 1-4 7, Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Thrasher 2-10 6-6 11, Flenoy 1-4 1-1 3, Hales 0-0 0-0 0, Gomez 7-10 3-4 24, Canady 4-6 4-6 12. Totals 22-42 16-23 70.

Emporia (2-13, 1-10) – Stewart 3-4 6-6 12, Leeds 8-12 6-7 23, Templeton 0-1 0-0 0, Rech 2-4 0-0 4, Hess 3-3 2-2 8, Seeley 0-0 0-0 0, Ortega 4-8 2-3 10, Peters 1-6 0-0 2. Totals 21-38 16-18 59.

3-point goals – Topeka High 10 (Gomez 7, Lyons 2, Thrasher 1). Emporia 1 (Leeds 1). Total fouls – Topeka High 19, Emporia 22. Fouled out – Emporia (Stewart). Technical fouls – None.


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