PITTSBURG — Led by 24 points from leading-scorer Gayvn Elkamil, the Pittsburg Purple Dragon Boys defeated visiting Topeka West 69-52 in the Class 5A Sub-State opener.
Charger Elijah Brooks paced Topeka West with 10 points.
The Chargers played Pittsburg nearly even in the first half.
After Pittsburg raced out to a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter, Topeka West guard Trevion Alexander led the Charger response, sparking a 6-0 Topeka West run with a two-handed dunk in the open floor.
Alexander scored five or his nine points in the opening three minutes.
Both teams traded punches the rest of the quarter, with Pittsburg grabbing a 16-11 lead after the first.
Topeka West mounted a comeback early in the second. Charger Khalen Harrison grabbed his own rebound off of a missed three and drove in for a layup to cut the Purple Dragon lead to 27-26 with 2:30 remaining in the second quarter.
The Chargers grabbed their first lead of the game late in the second quarter after a putback from Brooks.
Pittsburg would take a slim 31-28 lead at the halftime buzzer.
The Purple Dragons turned up the defensive pressure in the second half, leading them to a 38-24 run in the second half.
“We didn’t play defense or rebound the ball well in the first half.” said Elkamil. “In the second half we improved at both aspects, which led to us performing better at the offensive end.
Elkamil knocked down four three-pointers in the game, with two consecutive three-pointers coming midway in the third during a Pittsburg run that pushed the advantage to 48-37.
As a team Pittsburg poured in nine three-pointers.
“We’re at our best when we are knocking down threes. Once they start falling, it opens up the driving lanes, which leads to even more three-pointers because we have so many playmakers.” added Elkamil.
“In the second half I thought we came out more hungry, with a focus of locking up on defense.” said Pittsburg guard Javon Grant. On offense we stopped settling for tough shots, and started to penetrate the lane and hit open shooters.”
Pittsburg’s Brett Wiemers gave the Purple Dragons a jolt of energy throughout, crashing the glass as well as knocking down jumpers.
Wiemers finished the game with 13 points, including two shots from behind the arc.
Purple Dragon Trent Austin also scored in double figures, notching 14. Grant chipped in eight.
Deandre Durall scored eight points for the Chargers. Teammate Korbin Kido notched seven.