Boys Varsity Basketball, Girls Varsity Basketball · Trojan Women Win, Men Fall in Basketball Season Openers


Topeka High finally got on the court after having its first outing postponed. With four new starters and a host of new faces, the Trojans started slowly, turning the ball over 10 times in the first half.

The Chargers, meanwhile, demonstrated the type of firepower they can unleash, scoring at least 21 points in each of the first three periods.

“For the most part, we did some good things,” said Charger coach Rick Bloomquist. “It’s the second game of the year. We play a different type of game and our guys have to learn how to play it.”

A three-year starter, Alexander hit 10 of 17 shots from the field and 11 of 15 free throws to finish with 33 points. One of four seniors in the starting lineup, Alexander showed some of the leadership traits Bloomquist expects.

“He’s playing awfully well,” Bloomquist said. “I’ve been trying to get him to come out of his cage for two years. I’ve seen this in him since he’s been here.

“I’m tickled to death that he’s playing with the kind of confidence and leadership that he is right now, because it will carry over to the rest of the team. Because he’s not going to have games like this every night, and we need to have his back like he’s having everyone else’s.”

The Chargers had four players score in double-figures. In addition to Alexander’s 33, the Chargers got 15 from Elijah Brooks, 12 from Marque Wilkerson and 11 from Aaron Lira.

Topeka West hit 14 of 30 shots in the first half, while turning the ball over just three times. By halftime the Chargers led 45-31. They finished 23 of 50 from the field and 23-32 from the line.

The Trojans got to the line just 13 times, hitting just six. Isiah Esquibel led Topeka High with 15. Jevhyn Wilson added 14 and Jalen Smith had 10.

Bloomquist sees plenty of room for improvement for the 2-0 Chargers. “We’ve got to get better in a lot of areas,” Bloomquist said. “We didn’t rebound as well as I would like to. Topeka High did a great job on the boards. Our guys were trying to fly out a little too quickly. They love playing this style, so they want to get going. “Offensively, we got too anxious in the second half, could have looked a little bit more.”

TOPEKA HIGH GIRLS 81, TOPEKA WEST 31 — The last time the Topeka High girls team was on the court, they were in hot pursuit of a state championship. Arguably the best team in the state regardless of class, the Trojans’ run was interrupted by the pandemic. The passion to finish the job never waned, however.

“It just fuels the fire to know where we were last year,” said Topeka High coach Hannah Alexander. “The girls are hungry. We’ve been waiting for this moment, and it’s finally here. So just getting back on the floor with the group, that’s we all needed through this crazy time.”

The Trojans renewed their pursuit of a title Friday by blowing out Topeka West 81-31, in a game without fans in the stands, on the court named for former coach Willie Nicklin, who passed away Thursday. The Topeka High public address announcer read a tribute to Nicklin, followed by a moment of silence, prior to each game.

All-state post player NiJaree Canady missed the contest due to a family obligation, but the Trojans didn’t miss a beat without her. Sophomore Kiki Smith led the Trojans with 21, followed by Jae’Mya Lyons with 20. In all, nine Trojans scored, including Tae Thomas and Faith Shields, who each tossed in 10 points.

Lyons dominated the first period with 6-of-7 shooting and 14 points. The Trojans forced Topeka West into eight first-quarter turnovers and ran out to a 26-4 lead.

The Chargers were led by Nivea Triplett with nine points.

TOPEKA HIGH GIRLS 81, TOPEKA WEST 31

Topeka West 4… 13… 7… 7 — 31

Topeka High 26… 26… 23… 6 — 81

Topeka West (0-2, 0-2) — S. Triplett 1 0-0 3, Anthony 2 0-0 4, N. Triplett 4 0-3 9, Eldridge 0 0-2 0, Henderson 1 0-0 2, Davis 0 3-3 3, Ford 0 0-0 0, Brooks 0 5-10 5, Bearman 1 0-0 2, Benson 1-0-0 3. Totals 10 8-18 31.

Topeka High (1-0, 1-0) — L. Smith 2 0-2 4, Thomas 4 2-3 10, K. Smith 9 2-2 21, Lyons 9 2-4 20, Hendricks 2 2-3 6, Z. Caryl 3 1-2 7, A. Caryl 0 2-2 2, Wiley 0 0-0 0, Shileds 4 2-2 10, Leesman 0 1-2 2, Fulton 0 0-0 0, Baird 0 0-0 0, Zimmerman 0 0-0 0. Totals 33 14-22 81.

3-point goals — West 3 (N. Triplett 1, S. Triplett 1, Benson 1); High 1 (K. Smith 1). Total fouls — West 12, High 15. Fouled out — none.

TOPEKA WEST BOYS 75, TOPEKA HIGH 62

Topeka West 22… 23… 21… 9 — 75

Topeka High 10… 21… 18… 13 — 62

Topeka West (2-0, 2-0) — Wilkerson 4 3-5 12, Brooks 3 9-12 15, T. Alexander 10 11-15 33, Putthoff 0 0-0 0, Lowry 1-0-0 2, Lira 4 0-0 11, X. Alexander 0 0-0 0, Peterson 0 0-0 0, Mehrens 1 0-0 2, Austin 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 23-32 75.

Topeka High (0-1, 0-1) — Esquibel 6 2-2 15, Smith 5 0-1 10, Wilson 7 0-2 14, Phillips 2 0-0 4, Canady 3 0-4 6, Walker 1 0-0 3, McMillon 0 0-0 0, Fulton 1 0-0 2, Leesman 2 4-4- 8. Totals 27 6-13 62.

3-point goals — West 6 (Lira 3, T. Alexander 2, Wilkerson 1); High 2 (Esquibel 1, Walker 1). Total fouls — West 11, High 22. Fouled out — none.