By KYLE MANTHE
The Washburn Review
Topeka West and Topeka High boys basketball faced off Friday night as the Trojans honored their class of three departing seniors in the team’s final home game of the season.
On the other side, having already wrapped up a Centennial League title, the Chargers played free in both team’s final game before sub-state action.
Topeka High senior Matt Flenoy scored 33 but it was not enough as the Trojans fell 73-46 to Topeka West, which extended its winning streak to 18 games.
“Obviously it is tough because it is Senior Night and it’s the last game they will play at Topeka High in their own gym but it’s not the last game of their career yet,” said Topeka High coach Ty Baumgardner. “(They are) good kids and worked hard, but we've still got the post-season.”
With the loss, the Trojans dropped to 4-16 on the year and 4-12 in league play while the Chargers move to 19-1 overall and 15-1 in the league.
After Topeka High quickly went up 4-3 Topeka West responded with a 17-0 run, with all of the points coming from senior Elijah Brooks and juniors Sincere Austin and Xavier Alexander.
“They got great awareness, their basketball IQs are really high,” Bloomquist said. “Obviously Elijah gets a lot of attention, but I've got a lot of pieces that go with him that play well.”
Flenoy scored six first-quarter points to pace the Trojans, though High still trailed 26-13 after one quarter.
Good ball movement from the Chargers continued in the second quarter with another strong offensive performance, led by Brooks and Alexander who had 15 and 11 first-half points, respectively.
“X, Xavier, he is just the quiet assassin,'' Bloomquist said. "You don’t know he is there and he just kills you. He played a great game.”
Topeka High had success offensively inside playing through Flenoy, who had 15 in the first half. Still Topeka West’s lead grew to as many as 22 before it went into halftime with a 44-25 lead.
“We had 11 turnovers in the first half and that led to I guarantee you at least 22 points if not more and we are down 19 at the half. So eliminate the turnovers and … we are not down by as big as we were” Baumgardner said.
By ISAAC DEER
Solid performances by seniors Ty Henry and Mateo Hyman set the stage for Seaman's boys basketball to cap off a stellar regular season Friday night with a home 70-58 Centennial League win over Emporia.
Seaman has played some the best basketball the Vikings have played all year in February, with somebody different on the roster capable of an explosive game on any night.
“We have had great balance this year,” Seaman coach Craig Cox said. “We have a lot of different guys that can score on any given night in many different ways. I think our versatility will be the key for us in the long run. It would be nice if the way we passed the ball, scored and played tonight would carry over into the postseason.
Hyman led the Vikings in scoring with 20 points Friday night while Henry added 16.
“We as a team did a great job of getting everyone involved,” Hyman said. “My teammates gave me a lot of different opportunities to shoot the ball from many different places and my shots were going down.”
Seaman’s current six-game winning streak isn’t by accident, with the Vikings relying on team-first basketball.
Emporia was the latest victim of Seaman's hot streak, although the Spartans played Seaman competitively for the entire game.
“We couldn’t ever completely get away from (Emporia),” Cox said. “They deserve credit for how well they played. They made it extremely tough for us to break the game open.”
Emporia’s Parker Leeds had 22 points on the night while River Peters added 19. The Spartans converted 10 three-point shots, giving Seaman uneasiness for the first three quarters.
By ISAAC DEER
Anna Becker’s 18-point second half was the key component of Seaman’s 47-41 home Centennial League victory over Emporia Friday night.
Becker, who finished with a game-high 20 points, put herself in multiple situations to be free-throw line-bound in the second half tne the freshman standout went a perfect 7 of 7 from the charity stripe.
“We spent a lot of time on our free throws yesterday,” Seaman coach Matt Tinsley said. “We had a drill where we would shoot free throws for five minutes straight. We did that drill twice. You can shorten the game by being confident stepping up to the line.”
Emporia found itself in many situations where the Spartans were just a basket away from taking a lead. But whenever the Spartans would make a shot, Seaman would answer right back nearly every time.
“Emporia is so tough,” Tinsley said. “That Emporia team is so well-coached. Their program mirrors our program in the toughness aspect. We played them 12 times in the last four years. They knew what we were going to do and we knew what they were going to do.
“It makes these games that much tougher.”
While Friday night’s contest final score ended up with 88 combined points, the two teams would only muster five points apiece before the first quarter ended.
Seaman would capitalize on the break before the second quarter started.
Sophomore Taylin Stallbaumer, who finished with 14 points, would hit two quick corner 3-point shots and Emporia called a time out before the momentum rode with the Lady Vikings.
“Things were working well for all of us in the (second) quarter,” Stallbaumer said. “Our shots weren’t falling as fast as we wanted them to, but when the shots did fall, it gave us more confidence as the game went on.”
While Seaman’s second quarter was much improved from the first, Emporia’s shots wouldn’t fall. Emporia recorded five points again in the second quarter.
Gracie Gilpin was responsible for the Lady Spartans' entire offensive production in the first half. The senior had all of the Lady Spartans' first-half points with 10.
Coming out of the halftime break, Emporia flipped the switch and got hot.
By ISAAC DEER
Silver Lake’s Taylor Ross and Makenzie McDaniel’s 31 combined points and interior defense gave Wabaunsee fits on Thursday night.
The post play from McDaniel and Ross played a large part in Silver Lake’s 47-36 victory on Thursday night as 6-foot-1 McDaniel and 5-11 Ross had the size mismatch that created a lot of opportunities for the Eagles.
“The offensive rebounds and second-chance points they provide us are huge,” Silver Lake coach Kyle Porter said.”They’ve been a big factor for us this season and will be a huge factor for us as the season goes on.”
Although Ross and McDaniel were excellent, the dominance from Silver Lake’s interior contributors didn’t affect Wabaunsee early in the contest.
For three quarters, the Lady Chargers had the No. 1-ranked team in Class 3A right where they wanted them.
It’s not very often a team holds Silver Lake to just six points before a quarter ends. Wabaunsee did just that in the first quarter on Thursday night.
Wabaunsee’s shot selection combined with their aggressive man-to-man defense was eye-opening as Silver Lake couldn’t find a way to get around the Lady Chargers’ defense early.
Wabaunsee went on a 15-6 run in the first quarter. The run was led by the production of sophomore center Kaci Meseke, who had eight of the 15 fifteen points and forced two Silver Lake turnovers.
“Early on, our success had a big part in our patience,” Wabaunsee coach Trevor Keller said. “We got some very good looks and knocked down our free throws when we had the opportunity. We really slowed (Silver Lake) down and I thought we did a really good job on capitalizing when we needed to.”
By RICK PETERSON
PARK CITY -- There's obviously still work to be done, but Washburn Rural did what it needed to do Friday to put itself in position to win a second straight Class 6A wrestling championship.
Washburn Rural put six wrestlers in the semifinals and three in the state finals en route to opening up a 113-92 lead over Olathe East, with Derby third at 91.5 going into the final day of the tournament on Saturday at Hartman Arena.
"We felt all year that we're the best team in 6A,'' first-year Washburn Rural coach Josh Hogan said. "We went out there last week in the (Wichita Southeast) regional and we had the top six teams in the regional so it was like a microcosm of state itself and we've got all the confidence and all the belief that our guys can get it done.''
Not everything went the Junior Blues' way, with two-time state champ Jacob Tangpricha and returning state champ Jonathan Morrison being knocked off in the semifinals.
But senior 182-pound Austin Fager made it to the state finals for the second straight season and will be joined in the championship round by freshman 106-pounder Easton Broxterman and 160-pound senior Aidan Boline.
"I feel good,'' Hogan said. "We started with 11 kids today and we've still got 11 kids wrestling tomorrow. We dropped three of our six semifinal matches and we want to win them all, but this is the best competition that 6A has to offer so everybody was bringing their best shot against us today.''
And Hogan feels like if Washburn Rural wrestles like it can on Saturday, the Junior Blues could be celebrating another state title.
"If we can over-perform that would be a joy, but if we just wrestle like we're capable of, we should be in a good spot.''
Broxterman, now 39-5, got the semifinal round off to a good start for the Junior Blues, advancing to the 106 final with a 13-0 major decision over Lawrence sophomore Andrew Honas.
Broxterman has put together a storied Kids Wrestling career, but Friday was his first appearance in a high school state tournament.
"It was a different atmostphere, a lot more older kids,'' Broxterman said. "I'm just a freshman coming in. I'm younger, and just trying to show that I can be just as good as them even when they can be like three years older than me.''
Broxterman said he handled his state tournament jitters better than we thought he would.
"I thought I would be a lot more nervous,'' Broxterman said. "I used to get really nervous, but today was a lot less than I thought it would be.''
Broxterman will face Junction City sophomore Ezekiel Witt (39-1) in the state championship match.
Boline (40-7) earned his shot at a state title with a pin at the 1:04 mark of the first peiod over Liberal senior Easton Zapien.
After losing in the semifinals a year ago, Boline set the goal to get a chance to wrestle for a title this time around.
"This is what I've been working with coach (Travis) McBurney all offseason for,'' Boline said. "He's poured his heart into me and I wanted to give everything right back.
"He's believed in me when I didn't believe in myself and I owe it to him. I just want to go get that title for him.''
Bodine has also had to overcome multiple serious injuries to earn his title shot.
"In October (of 2020) I was in my living room crying with my dad forehead to forehead because I had just fractured my arm and its great to see it come full circle and give him a huge hug after this win and let him know I've still got one more and I'm going to get it for him. This one's not just for McBurney or my parents. This one's for all of Rural and everything that they've helped me with because it takes a village to raise someone.''
Boline will take on Olathe East senior Nick Carlson (40-7) in the 160-pound championship match Saturday.
Fager (42-2) said that making it to the finals a year ago en route to a runner-up finish helped him relax for Friday and just concentrate on what he needed to do.
Fager dominated his semifinal against Junction City sophomore Cooper Bogenhagen from the outset on the way to a 15-0 technical fall.
"For sure I was at a comfort level I don't think he was in, I could see it in his eyes,'' Fager said. "I was calm and collected. Last year I got all the jitters out and this year I came out and I was prepared.
"I didn't have any nerves going in. I know what I have on the table this year. I won to win state as a team and individually as well, but more as a team.''
Fager will square off with Campus senior Aidan Williams (27-10) in the 182 final.
Shawnee Heights junior Sean Wunder advanced to the 5A 195-pound semifinal, losing a 20-5 technical fall to Goddard senior Kaden Glass (39-4).
Glass is a two-time 5A state runner-up.
Seaman, Highland Park and Topeka High also have at least one wrestler advancing to Saturday's competition, which starts at 9 a.m.