TOPEKA – Inside-out scoring served as the difference in a battle of undefeated teams, as Wichita East got a combined 66 points from three players to knock off Lawrence in the championship game of the Topeka Invitational.
Guard Samajae Jones led East with 24 points. Jones picked up three early fouls, but took over in the fourth quarter as the Aces built a lead as big as 14 points.
“We really knew across the board that were going to be some good matchups,” East coach Joe Jackson said. “Their guards really go the best of us early and we allowed them to dribble penetrate. They got into our bodies and got us in foul trouble.”
Jones didn’t pick up his fourth personal until late in the game, and by that point he had already contributed 12 points in a huge scoring run to start the fourth quarter. East had a 33-point period.
“We came out with a chip on our shoulder and just competed,” Jones said.
Jones finished 7 of 8 from the free-throw line as the Aces (12-0) shot 70 percent from the line.
“He (Jones) came out in the second half and showed what he is capable of doing,” Jackson said. “We really executed the game plan tonight. We emphasized that we needed to make free-throw shots and we have been kind of up and down in that part of the game. There have been nights when we shoot 80 percent as a team and then there are others when we are barely over 50.”
Zach Jackson scored 22 points and Xavier Kelly added 20, with the bulk of their points coming from the paint or as a result of being fouled while going to the rim. Jones understands how the presence of those two big men impacts his game and the other Aces guards.
“They have to double team Zach and Xavier inside and that opens things up for me to get a good shot,” Jones said.
Lawrence (12-1) was led in scoring by Anthony Bonner with 24 points. Guard Justin Roberts added 21 points for the Lions.
“Lawrence was a tremendous team,” Jackson said. “You never know, we could see them in the future.”
Olathe South 60, Wichita Southeast 53 – Olathe South overcame a 10-point deficit to knock off Southeast in the fifth-place game.
Tyler Zinn hit a three-point basket to give the Falcons their first second-half lead with 4:30 left. Zinn made four straight free throws late to help seal the win for Olathe South (4-7).
Milan Brown led Southeast with 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field and 7-of-11 free-throw shooting. Foul trouble plagued the Buffaloes as they committed 23 fouls and had two players foul out.
W. East: Jones 24, Caw 1, jackson 22, X. Kelly 20, I. Fralin 4, O’Day 6, Hartley 5.
Lawrence: Roberts 21, Morgan 11, Rajewski 4, Bonner 24, Barbee 10, Applegate 2.
O. South: Zinn 13, Filberet 12, Baldeh 6, Fields 8, Sullivan 4, Davis 15.
W. Southeast: Harding 12, Cobbins 2, Brown 20, S. Barber 5, Oyugi 5, Nero 9.