The longstanding Highland Park-Topeka High basketball rivalry always makes for emotional games.
And with three former Scots playing for the Trojan boys, Highland Park coach Jason Jones knows that emotions will be even higher for Friday night’s 7:30 Centennial League contest at Highland Park.
The key to victory according to Jones is which team is able to do the best job of putting emotion aside and just play basketball.
“There’s no many distractions surrounding (this game) and it’s that way every year when we play them and it’s just at another level now,” Jones said. “It’s just a matter of who can focus on what’s going on in between the lines.”
Highland Park had a five-game win streak snapped by Emporia on Tuesday night (66-60) and is now 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the Centennial League while Topeka High is 4-3 and 2-1 in the league after rallying for a 64-63 win over Hayden.
Jones said that with the Scots coming off a loss it’s doubly important for his team to concentrate on the task at hand.
“T-High week is always an interesting week and I felt Tuesday was a definite trap game for us and it got us,” Jones said. “Now we have to get re-focused and get back to doing what we were doing when we won five in a row.
“We’ve done some really good things and I think the potential to be really competitive is there. It’s just our margin for error is very slim and we have to stay focused. Tuesday night showed foul trouble can obviously be a big hurdle for us so we have to keep getting better and learn how to overcome those things.”
Seniors Dasani Giardina and Kenny Stewart scored 14 points apiece for the Scots against Emporia while senior Tyree Florence-Patton added 11 points.
Topeka High trailed by seven points with less than two minutes remaining but the Trojans rallied for the win, with senior Larry White rebounding his own miss and scoring the game-winner with three seconds left.
White had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Trojans while sophomore Da’Vonshai Harden added 14 points and nine rebounds and sophomore Ky Thomas 13 points. White, Harden and sophomore King Sutton are former Highland Park players.
The boys game will follow a 6 p.m. girls game between the Scots (6-3, 2-3) and Trojans (1-5, 1-2). Highland Park beat Topeka High 56-44 early in the season.
Highland Park snapped a three-game losing streak with a 58-51 overtime win over Emporia Tuesday while Topeka High dropped a 49-47 nail-biter to Hayden.
Sophomore Daiauna Carter led Highland Park with 23 points in the Emporia win while sophomore Cierra Sherman added 12 points and freshman Jae’Mya Lyons 11.
Junior Jaryn Benning scored a game-high 21 points for Topeka High against Hayden.
FRIDAY’S OTHER CITY GAMES
HAYDEN (4-3, 3-1) at SEAMAN (4-4, 2-2)
Hayden is coming off a 49-47 victory over Topeka High while Seaman rolled to a 51-23 win over Topeka West. Hayden got 13 points from junior Brooklyn Hunter while Sophia Purcell added 11 points and Jadyn Jay and Joelle Shurtz 10 apiece against Topeka High. Seaman was led by sophomore Katera Mayfield’s 17 points against West, while Halle Olson-Thomas added 10 points. Game time: 6 p.m.
SHAWNEE HEIGHTS (2-5, 1-2) at WASHBURN RURAL (5-1, 4-0)
Washburn Rural ran its win streak to five games with a 60-32 romp past Junction City Tuesday night while Shawnee Heights lost to defending Class 6A champion Manhattan, 55-21. Senior Kendall Michalski led Rural with 20 points and five 3-pointers against Junction City while junior Carly Bachelor scored 18 points. Shawnee Heights got eight points from senior Lydia Ostenson against Manhattan. Game time: 6 p.m.
TOPEKA WEST (3-4, 1-3) at MANHATTAN (6-1, 3-0)
Topeka West is coming off a 51-23 loss to Seaman on Tuesday while Manhattan rolled to a 55-21 win over Shawnee Heights. West was led by junior Gabby Rivera with nine points against Seaman. Returning All-Stater Chrissy Carr, who has signed with Kansas State, scored a game-high 20 points for Manhattan against Heights. Game time: 6 p.m.
HAYDEN (4-3, 2-1) at SEAMAN (4-3, 1-3)
Hayden dropped a 64-63 decision against Topeka High on Tuesday while Seaman fell to Topeka West, 65-41. Junior Zach Harvey scored 24 points for Hayden against High before leaving the game with 2:44 remaining with an ankle injury. Senior Jett Canfield added 14 points with three 3-pointers for the Wildcats. Seaman was led by junior Trey Duffey’s 11 points. Game time: 7:30 p.m.
SHAWNEE HEIGHTS (3-4, 1-2) at WASHBURN RURAL (4-3, 3-1)
Shawnee Heights snapped a four-game losing streak with a 62-57 overtime win over defending league champion Manhattan while Washburn Rural also went to overtime, taking a 53-48 win over Junction City. Sophomore Marquis Barksdale scored 17 points to key the T-Birds’ win while Brandon Walker-Ladish and Tyler White added 10 points apiece. Washburn Rural was led by senior Raymond Swopes with 19 points and four 3-pointers against Junction City while Armahn Downing added 12 points and Jordan White 10. Game time: 7:30 p.m.
TOPEKA WEST (6-1, 3-1) at MANHATTAN (4-3, 1-2)
Topeka West equaled last season’s win total with a 65-41 win 0ver Seaman while Manhattan dropped a 62-57 overtime heartbreaker to Shawnee Heights. Senior Koriyon Carr scored a game-high 26 points and hit five 3-pointers in the Chargers’ win over Seaman while Elijah Griffin added 12 points and Kendall Sutton 11. Manhattan got 16 points from Nathan Awbrey against Shawnee Heights. Game time: 7:30 p.m.