Words, at this point, aren’t always necessary.
When Derby needs senior Papi Conley, he usually just knows.
“We don’t have to say much to Papi, because he’s been in the program for four years,” Derby coach Brett Flory said. “He knows when to step forward and take command.”
Thursday afternoon, Conley scored 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to guide the Panthers to a 56-46 win over Wichita North in the opening round of the Dodge City Tournament of Champions.
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Derby will face Dodge City at 8:30 p.m. in Friday’s semifinals.
Conley didn’t just score, either — he filled up the stat sheet with six rebounds, six steals, four assists and three blocked shots.
“I can score, I can defend, I’m comfortable doing whatever I can to help us win,” Conley said. “We always have to be ready to play, we can’t have any excuses when we step on the court.”
Derby (7-3) led 26-15 at halftime, but saw their advantage dwindle to 39-34 headed into the fourth quarter after North’s Tiylar Cotton hit a three-pointer with time dwindling down in the third.
“One thing we haven’t done a very good job of this season is putting teams away,” said Derby’s Keaton Steadman, who finished with 14 points. “Defensively, I thought when we got up tonight we started to relax.”
Conley went on the attack to start the fourth quarter, scoring seven points in the first two minutes. North (1-9) didn’t threaten again.
The Redskins turned the ball over 19 times, and were led by 12 points from 6-foot-4 freshman Ethan Randleas.
“Turnovers just killed us,” North coach Gary Squires said. “We’d get a little momentum, then start giving the ball away.”
North plays Newton at 3:30 p.m. on Friday in the consolation bracket.
Shawnee Mission South 48, Bishop Carroll 40 — The Golden Eagles whiffed on a big opportunity to take down a Class 6A opponent, leading 36-32 with 7:09 left before the wheels came off and Carroll (6-4) was outscored 16-4 down the stretch.
“That wasn’t good, but I felt like even early on, we had a chance to put them away and didn’t capitalize,” Carroll coach Lonnie Lollar said. “Then, when it was a game late, we started turning the ball over and missing shots.”
Connor Evans led Carroll with 15 points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals. C.J. Hill led the Raiders with 15 points.
“We’ve got a different guy that can step up every night,” Hill said. “Tonight, it was me, but tomorrow it could be somebody else.”
Carroll faces Junction City on Friday at 2 p.m. in the consolation bracket. Shawnee Mission South plays Central Plains at 7 p.m. in the semifinals.
Dodge City 44, Newton 32 — Tied 18-18 at halftime, Dodge City busted the game open in the second half behind 19 points from Bryce Unruh, who hit all three of his three-point attempts.
The Railers tried to slow the game down in the first half, stringing out possessions and playing to a 5-5 tie after the first quarter.
“First half was kind of frustrating because (Newton) tried to slow it down,” Unruh said. “Pace picked up in the second half and we started to get more comfortable. We’re used to playing in faster-paced games.”
Riley Kingsley led Newton (5-5) with 11 points. Jackson Oldham added 10 points for Dodge City (5-4).
Derby 56, Wichita North 56
NORTH: Childress 4, Cotton 9, Sanders 4, Hatter 8, Vongsakda 9, Randleas 12.
DERBY: Nicholson 7, Wright 3, Steadman 14, Mark 6, Conley 20, Packard 4, Hall 2.
Shawnee Mission South 48, Bishop Carroll 40
SM SOUTH: Harness 11, Skvortsov 6, A. Anei 12, King 2, Hill 15, Y. Anei 2.
BISHOP CARROLL: Wilbert 7, Hornback 6, Carney 6, Evans 15, Scharping 6.
Dodge City 44, Newton 32
NEWTON: J. Kingsley 6, R. Kingsley 11, Wagoner 6, Berry 5, Robinson 2, Lehman 2.
DODGE CITY: McGroarty 9, Unruh 19, Oldham 10, Williams 6.