The penultimate Friday of the regular season saw some clarity brought to the frantic Centennial League boys title race, while the city’s best girls teams continued to flex their muscles. Here’s how it all went down…

-Topeka High’s boys are now one win away from claiming a third straight Centennial League title. The Trojans held off Manhattan 55-48 at The Dungeon to continue their red-hot run of late. Eric King’s charges have won 10 of their last 11 games and can secure at least a share of the league crown with a win at Highland Park on Tuesday night. On Senior Night, it was the senior starters for the Trojans who carried the load. Da’Vonshai Harden led with 17 points, including a crucial layup off of what can charitably be described as a busted play with a minute to go that gave the Trojans a five-point lead. King Sutton added 15 points, including a pair of dunks, and Carlos Esquibel chipped in with 10 points. All three plus Jalen Smith can get to the rim seemingly at will, and when the Trojans play efficient offense and focused defense, they’re extremely tough to beat. The Lady Trojans, already confirmed as league champs, continued their unbeaten season with a 66-30 trouncing of the Lady Indians. In a battle between the league’s two best post players, Nija Canady reigned supreme over Manhattan’s 6’3″ senior Zanaa Cordis. Canady scored 23 points and got Cordis into early foul trouble. Kiki Smith and Lilly Smith combined for 25 points as the Lady Trojans cruised to 19-0.

-Last season, Washburn Rural shared the Centennial League boys crown with Topeka High. By the time they take the floor for their senior night on Friday against Topeka West, they’ll know whether a win would mean they share the spoils again or whether they can win it outright. Rural and High remain tied atop the league after Rural rallied to a 49-45 win at Highland Park, scoring the game’s final six points to win. Brady Patterson‘s hoop with under a minute left provided the winning score as the Junior Blues once again proved their mettle in a close game in the clutch. Joe Berry went for 17 points to show the way for Washburn Rural. CJ Powell had to fight for his team-leading 13 points for the Scots as Rural’s defense did well to shut off driving lanes to the basket all night. Highland Park’s league title hopes are still alive – they have to win out, beating Topeka High on Tuesday and Manhattan on Friday, and then hope for West to beat Rural on Friday to create a three-way (or potentially a four-way) tie atop the standings. In girls action at Ken Darting Gymnasium, the Lady Blues used the longball to pull away from Highland Park in a 69-31 win. MaRyah Lutz sunk four of Rural’s eight three-pointers on her way to a game and career-high 20 points. Fellow freshman Brooklyn DeLeye had 15 points and Emma Krueger added 14. This Lady Blues team might be better from beyond the arc than last year’s 6A state championship team. Dariauna Carter scored 12 for the Lady Scots, but they were unable to withstand Rural’s shooting barrage or crack their stout defense.

-The Seaman Lady Vikes have now reeled off nine straight wins after trouncing Emporia 49-28. The Lady Spartans have given Seaman problems in the past, but Seaman made sure they made easy work of things on Friday, dashing out to a 28-8 lead by halftime. Camryn Turner continued her outstanding play of late with a 19-point performance, and Maddie Steiner knocked down five threes. Seaman needs just one win in their last two games to confirm the #2 overall seed in the 5A East sub-state. The Viking boys were tripped up by the Spartans, 58-45, despite another promising night for two young backcourt standouts, with Dagen Brewer and Ty Henry combining for 23 points.

-Topeka West needs a lot to go right to get a piece of the Centennial League title, but they’ve kept themselves in it after a 60-52 win at Junction City. With star Elijah Brooks out sick, the Chargers displayed the ‘next man up’ mentality, with senior shooting aces Bryson Bitler (19 points, five threes) and Chris Hargreaves (12 points, two threes) picking up the scoring slack. West needs wins over Hayden and Washburn Rural in the final week, plus a Highland Park win over Topeka High on Tuesday night, to have a chance at a share of the league championship. There’s never been a three-way tie, let alone a four-way tie, in the history of Centennial League boys basketball going back to the 1962-63 season, so we could see a unique bit of history. In the girls game out west, Topeka West acquitted themselves much better the second time around against the Lady Jays, but the result was the same as the Lady Chargers fell 53-46. Miyah Larson led with 12 points and Kylie Eldridge had her second straight strong game, scoring eight points.

-Hayden’s boys and girls had difficult non-league games at St. James Academy. The Lady Wildcats just could not find an offensive rhythm, scoring just five points in the first half on their way to a 51-37 defeat. Sophia Purcell got things going in the second half and paced Hayden with 14 points. The Wildcat boys got 17 points from John Roeder but were unable to snap their lengthy losing skid, falling to the Thunder 65-54.

-The Shawnee Heights boys and girls both earned United Kansas Conference home wins over Leavenworth to continue successful stretches of late. The T-Birds’ 59-51 win is their fifth in a row. Harvey Davis Jr. led a balanced scoring effort with 14 points as Heights got contributions up and down the roster to keep the Pioneers at arms length, completing a season-series sweep. The Lady T-Birds have won six of their last seven after a 49-42 win over the Lady Pioneers. Kam Wells stayed red-hot for Heights, scoring 15 points to lead the way, and Abi Ostenson had her best game of the season with a nine-point effort. The Heights girls play the three teams in front of them in the UKC standings to finish their regular season, a good test before the start of sub-state play.




t1) Topeka High 10-3
t1) Washburn Rural 10-3
t3) Highland Park 8-4
t3) Topeka West 8-4
5) Manhattan 7-5
6) Emporia 5-7
7) Junction City 4-8
8) Hayden 2-10
9) Seaman 1-12


1) Topeka High 13-0
2) Washburn Rural 11-2
3) Seaman 10-3
t4) Emporia 5-7
t4) Hayden 5-7
t4) Manhattan 5-7
7) Highland Park 4-8
8) Junction City 3-9
9) Topeka West 1-11



1) Basehor-Linwood 8-0
2) Shawnee Heights 6-2
3) De Soto 5-3
4) Lansing 3-5
5) Leavenworth 2-6
6) Turner 0-8


t1) Basehor-Linwood 6-2
t1) Lansing 6-2
3) De Soto 5-2
4) Shawnee Heights 4-3
5) Leavenworth 2-6
6) Turner 0-8