By Rick Peterson, Topeka Capital-Journal
Host Blue Valley put together several runs against Highland Park in Saturday night’s Blue Valley Shootout championship game, even taking the lead on a couple of occasions in the first half.
But Highland Park had an answer for each and every challenge, pulling away late for a 59-49 victory that pushed the Scots to 3-0 on the young season.
“We try to keep our composure and we try to limit their runs to a minimum and then make our runs as large as we can,” said Highland Park senior point guard Tray Wheeler, who had 11 points.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to come together as a team and work together as a team and figure out a way to win this tournament.”
Highland Park, second-ranked in Class 4A, jumped out to an early 18-10 advantage but Blue Valley, a 6A school, fought back to take a one-point lead twice in the second quarter.
The Scots ended the first half with a bang, however, outscoring the Tigers 14-0 in the final 1:54 to take a 38-25 lead to the locker room.
Highland Park went up by 14 early in the second half but the Scots went scoreless over the next 7:32, with Blue Valley using a 9-0 run to get within 45-40 at the end of the third quarter.
A bucket by senior Steffon Kyles, who finished with 11 points, at the 6:50 mark of the fourth quarter ended the drought. Highland Park went on to build its lead back to 13 late in the game.
Highland Park hit 25 of 48 shots from the field while commiting just seven turnovers and forcing 19 Blue Valley turnovers.
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