TOPEKA — McPherson junior Christian Ulsaker didn't take it upon himself to replace Jake Pyle, who is out the rest of the year with a spleen injury, and his nearly 20 points per game.
Ulsaker may not have thought he needed to do more, but Ulsaker did more than anyone ever has at the Class 5A boys tournament.
Ulasker scored 38 points, a 5A record, and led the Bullpups to the semifinals with an 81-56 win against Kansas City Washington Wednesday night at the Kansas Expocentre in the Class 5A boys quarterfinals. McPherson will play Topeka West at 8:15 Friday night.
"Everyone knew that they had to step up and I felt like I had just a little more weight on my shoulders," Ulsaker said. "I knew if I could get to the middle and create, it's just trust in my teammates."
Ulsaker got outside help from Treg Fawl who finished with 16 points. Fawl made 4 of 7 threes in the first half, and three in the decisive second quarter.
McPherson outscored Washington 31-19 in the quarter. Washington's TraVaughn White, who finished with 16 points, was held to four in the first half.
"I thought we did a good job of containing them because their quickness really had me scared coming into the game," McPherson coach Kurt Kinnamon said.
McPherson got 10 steals in the first half by pressing. It sped up Washington and in the final two minutes, McPherson went on a 12-1 run.
"We took a little chance with that and the kids rotated well and they were where they were supposed to be and we were able to get a lot of hands on balls," Kinnamon said.
Ulsaker still remembers missing out on the state tournament a year ago.
"After being here my freshman year and not making it my sophomore year, I had a bitter taste in my mouth," Ulsaker said.
Topeka West 57, Andover Central 45— Topeka ended the game on a 16-4 run in the final four minutes. Central's Mark Anderson made a three to bring Central back to 47-45 with 2:30 left, but Central didn't score again.
"Down the stretch we definitely didn't execute very well, it seemed like we lost our composure a little bit," Andover Central coach Jesse Herrmann said. "Down the stretch when plays needed to be made, there with four minutes in the fourth quarter and a tie game, Topeka West made plays and Andover Central didn't make plays."
Marshall Miller, who finished with 17 points, fouled out with 1:55 to play and sat for those final seconds with his hands on his head.
"I just couldn't believe that it was over, I felt like I let my teammates down," Miller said. "It's hard to think about, being the end of it."
Alex North led Topeka West with 21 points and closed out the game as he made 7 of 8 in the final two minutes.
Bishop Miege 69, Bishop Carroll 44 — Carroll had to scramble before the game — the Eagles' uniforms were left in the trunk of a car back in Wichita.
"Those kids love those gold uniforms, I know a uniform doesn't make a basket or steal a pass, all I could do was tell them I was sorry," coach Lonnie Lollar said.
Instead of their gold uniforms, Carroll wore Topeka Highland Park's uniforms instead.
Miege had four of its starters in double figures and Carroll never caught up with the Miege's start.
Fourteen turnovers plagued Carroll, but four in the first quarter allowed Miege to get a 19-6 lead after the first quarter.
Blake Bell led Carroll (11-12) with 15 points and seven rebounds.
" (Miege) plays well together, they play very unselfish and they look like they are playing fast, but they know what they are doing," Lollar said. "We needed a great start, they came out and got way too many layups. We missed a few of ours, that would have made it more competitive than it was."
Trevor Releford scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half. In the second half, Releford drove and looked for teammates like Curtis Okafur who finished with 15 points.
Miege (23-0) remains the only unbeaten team in Class 5A.
"It's hard to put pressure on the state's best point guard if you try and if you don't pressure it their bigs are pretty good and we allowed some mismatches," Lollar said. "Today wasn't our day, we had to play our best game of the year to beat them and to their credit they made sure it didn't happen."
Gardner-Edgerton 60, Great Bend 47 — Bubba Starling and Conner Langrehr combined for 33 points to send Gardner-Edgerton into the semifinals. Starling finished with a game-high 17 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals.
Jace Bowman and Austin Zamarripa had 11 points each for Great Bend (15-8), which fell behind 32-19 at half.
Gardner-Edgerton (19-4) has won 19 of 20 since an 0-3 start.