Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Class 5A: Keith Helps Hi Park Boys Advance

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Class 5A: Keith Helps Hi Park Boys Advance

Article excerpt

Highland Park standout senior guard Malik Keith messed up Wednesday, and he knew it.

But after sitting out the first quarter of the Scots' Class 5A first-round state tournament game against Liberal for being late to the shootaround, Keith and his teammates made sure that Wednesday wouldn't be their last game, posting a 56-52 win over the second- seeded Redskins at Landon Arena.

"It was a mistake that I made and I know now I can't make that mistake again,'' said Keith, who scored a team-high 15 points in his three quarters of work as the Scots advanced to Friday's 8:15 p.m. semifinal to face Kapaun. "I'm just glad we got this win.''

"I was a lot more determined. He (coach Jason Jones) didn't start me, so that kind of hurt me and I wanted to come in and give us some help. This is a big win for us and we're ready for Friday.''

Despite the early absence of Keith, Highland Park (17-6) jumped out to a 14-11 first-quarter lead and the Scots were solid throughout, never trailing after Ahmad Fox hit a 3-pointer to put his team in front 9-6 with 4:02 left in the quarter.

Liberal (17-6), which got 27 points and nine rebounds from 6- foot-6 junior Deladris Green, made several runs at the Scots, getting as close as two with 1:39 left.

But Highland Park hit seven free throws over the final 1:02 to close out the win. The Scots went 20 of 25 from the line on the night.

"Considering Malik doesn't start and doesn't play the whole first quarter, I thought we were pretty good start to finish,'' Jones said. "It was a team effort. A lot of guys made plays tonight and that's what you've got to do this time of year.''

Senior Harold Emanuel added 14 points for the Scots, who shot 51.6 percent from the field, while sophomore Larry White also came up huge down the stretch.

White scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds and was 4 of 4 at the free throw line, including two clutch charities with 1:02 left after Liberal got within two.

"I put in some extra work after practice,'' said White, who had struggled at the line against Shawnee Heights in the sub-state final. "I didn't want to have that happen again, so I had to step up and make those free throws and that's what I did.''

MILL VALLEY 55, SALINA CENTRAL 46 -- After fighting back from a 10-point deficit in the first half, Salina Central looked to be in good shape when the Mustangs opened up a five-point advantage with three minutes left in the third quarter.

But Central (16-7) had trouble getting shots to fall the rest of the way as No. 4 seed Mill Valley (17-6) closed with a 22-11 fourth quarter to advance to Friday's semifinals to face Kansas City- Washington.

Central shot just 26.9 percent from the field in the second half and 34.1 percent for the game while connecting on 5 of 22 shots from 3-point range.

"I've just got to give (Mill Valley) credit," Salina Central coach Doug Finch said. "They guarded very well and we just missed a few shots down there late that kind of demoralized us. We had good looks, they just didn't fall.

"But you no what, no complaints. I love these kids. I told them there's two things I love with this team: After every game I get to go brag about them on the radio and in the newspaper. And even though we lost I'm going to brag on them because they're such a great group of kids."

Senior Kasey Conklin led Mill Valley with 15 points, going 5 of 5 from 3-point range, while sophomore Cooper Kaifes added 12 points.

Jacob McHenry, one of only two seniors on Salina Central's roster, led the Mustangs with a game-high 21 points. Junior Brayden Neuschafer added 12 points.

KC-WASHINGTON 69, EISENHOWER 62 -- DeMarco Smith, a 6-3 junior, scored 26 points (19 in the second half) and grabbed 15 rebounds as Washington rallied from a 12-point deficit to knock off No. …

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