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Wilkerson scores 25 points as West boys roll to 63-46 win over Rural

DSC 9018Marque Wilkerson glides in for a basket having scored 25 points against Washburn Rural (Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN)

By RICK PETERSON
TopSports.news

Marque Wilkerson and his Topeka West teammates made sure that Tuesday's Centennial League basketball showdown between boys co-leaders West and Washburn Rural wasn't much of a showdown after all, with the Chargers taking over sole possession of the league lead with a 63-46 romp past the Junior Blues at West.

Washburn Rural scored the first 2 points of the game, but the rest of the night belonged to the Chargers, who improved to 11-2 overall and 8-1 in the league with their fifth straight win as Wilkerson, West's 6-foot-2 senior point guard, led the way with a game-high 25 points.

Junior Elijah Brooks joined Wilkerson in double figures with 11 points while senior Trevion Alexander and sophomore Sincere Austin added 9 and 8 points for the Chargers, No. 7-ranked in the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association Class 5A rankings.

Veteran Topeka West coach Rick Bloomquist said he was pleased with the way his team imposed its will on the Junior Blues, No. 8-ranked in 6A, from the start.

"We've talked about that, that we have to do it from the start and we also have to do it when (teams) make a run,'' Bloomquist said. "When they make a run at us we ought to do that as well.

"We have to understand that every game we play now is a big game. This was the first and obviously to start it with one of the better teams in the league is kind of worrisome without a doubt. This (West) team worries me all the time, but they're so much to watch when they're on a roll.''

 West scored the final 5 points of the first quarter to take a 15-8 lead and led by 15 late in the first half before taking a commanding 31-18 advantage to the locker room at the half.

Topeka West went on to lead by much as 16 in the third quarter and 25 in the fourth before Rural (8-4, 7-2) scored the final 8 points of the game.

Wilkerson set the stage for his big night with 7 points in the opening quarter and 16 in the first half.

"I was just keeping it simple and opening it up for my teammates to get open and when that happens it starts opening it up more for me,'' Wilkerson said. "When they get open then everybody's getting open.''

Senior Jack Hutchinson scored 17 points with 5 3-pointers for Washburn Rural while sophomore Jack Bachelor added 8 points, but West limited Junior Blues senior standout Joe Berry to just 5 points.

Washburn Rural coach Kevin Muff said the Junior Blues didn't do a good job of fighting back after West took the lead early.

"We didn't answer and we didn't find an answer,'' Muff said. "There's a difference between playing hard and playing smart and we've got to do both of those against these really good teams.''

TOPEKA WEST BOYS 63 WASHBURN RURAL 46

Washburn Rural 8 10 19 9 -- 46

Topeka West 15 16 20 12 -- 63

Washburn Rural (8-4, 7-2) -- Bachelor 3-5 0-0 8, Williams 1-5 2-4 5, Berry 2-12 1-1 5, Hutchinson 6-16 0-0 17, Patterson 2-2 0-0 4, Kidd 0-3 2-2 2, Brady 1-3 1-2 3, Howard 0-1 0-0 0, Hanks 1-1 0-0 2, Morrow 0-0 0-0 0, Bunck 0-0 0-0 0, Bowen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-48 6-9 46.

Topeka West (11-2, 8-1) -- Wilkerson 11-15 1-3 25, Brooks 4-6 3-4 11, Austin 3-5 0-0 8, T. Alexander 4-8 0-0 9, X. Alexander 1-3 0-0 2, Putthoff 1-2 0-0 3, Lira 1-1 0-0 3, Foy 0-0 0-0 0, Peterson 0-0 0-0 0, Lowery 0-0 0-0 0, Mehrens 1-1 0-0 2, Berg 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-41 5-7 63.

3-point goals -- Washburn Rural 8 (Hutchinson 5, Bachelor 2, Williams), Topeka West 7 (Wilkerson 2, Austin 2, T. Alexander, Putthoff, Lira). Total fouls -- Washburn Rural 10, Topeka West 9. Fouled out -- none.