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Surprise complements power West boys past Seaman

Brent Maycock
bmaycock@cjonline.com
Topeka West's Trevion Alexander couldn't miss in the Chargers' 91-64 win over Seaman on Tuesday night. Alexander hit all eight shots and all four free throws for a game-high 22 points.

It wasn't much of a surprise that Trevion Alexander and Elijah Brooks combined for 38 points in Topeka West's 91-64 runaway victory over Seaman in Tuesday night's season opener for the Chargers.

The dynamic duo were the known commodities coming into the season for the Chargers, each earning first-team All-City honors a year ago.

Arguable the biggest question facing West going into the 2020-21 season was just what did the Chargers have to go with their standout pair. If Tuesday's blowout was any indication, there's plenty.

Returning senior guard Marque Wilkerson and transfer junior guard Zander Putthoff opened some eyes with their 2020 debuts. A 6.8 points per game scorer a year ago, Wilkerson exploded for a career-high 18 points, while Putthoff, who played last year at Shawnee Heights, hit 6 of 9 3-pointers for an 18-point outing as well as West made a run at the century mark against the visiting Vikings.

"We finally have some quality balance and that's not taking anything away from my past teams," West coach Rick Bloomquist said. "We've tried to balance things out more and we have players who can play inside and outside, finish with penetration, athletes who are strong and great kids to coach. They've tasted some prosperity and now it will be how they can handle that."

Even with Alexander scoring 22 points on 8-of-8 shooting from the floor (2 of 2 on 3-pointers) and 4 of 4 at the free throw line and Brooks adding 16 points and 11 rebounds, the argument could be made that Wilkerson and Putthoff were the difference makers in Tuesday's game. Alexander scored 12 of his 22 in the second half and Brooks added 11 of his 16 after halftime, at which point West already led 52-33.

Wilkerson and Putthoff, meanwhile, combined for 27 first-half points with Wilkerson routinely beating the Vikings off the dribble and getting to the rim for a layup or feeding Alexander and Brooks for easy scores. He scored nine of his 12 first-half points in the second quarter to help West break free from a tight 24-21 lead at the end of a first quarter that saw the two teams combine for eight 3-pointers with Seaman hitting five of those.

"Marque gets the ball down the floor as fast as anybody I've ever coached," Bloomquist said. "You have to guard him because he can get to the paint so easy. ... We've had Marque all four years, but it's kind of taken him three years to figure things out. And it's a good thing he has because he's a pretty special player."

When Wilkerson wasn't burning the Vikings with his drives, Putthoff was with his 3-pointers. After missing his first two attempts beyond the arc, Putthoff made five straight to end the half. He connected on back-to-back threes as part of a 15-4 run to start the second quarter and then closed West's 52-point half with a deep three at the buzzer to finish the half with 15 points.

"He was a great transfer," Bloomquist said. "Everybody sees his shot, but his basketball IQ is off the charts and that makes him pretty special, too."

Seaman never got closer than 16 in the second half. After starting out the game hot from beyond the arc, hitting 5 of 10 3-pointers in the first quarter, the Vikings only made 3 of their last 18 3-point attempts.

Mateo Hyman led the Vikings (0-2, 0-2) with 12 points, but left the game early in the fourth quarter with a leg injury. Ty Henry added 10.

Seaman girls 71, West 41

After one quarter of play, just getting to 31 points looked like it might be a challenge for new-look Seaman, which returned only three players from last year's Class 5A final four team. A slew of misses from inside five feet coupled with five turnovers and 2-of-6 free throw shooting left the Vikings down 9-8 to West at the end of the first period.

But the Vikings got their legs under them in the second quarter and dropped 31 points on the Chargers to open up a 39-23 halftime lead that eventually wound up a 30-point victory in the season opener after missing last Friday's game with Junction City because of a quarantine during the bulk of the preseason practice time.

"We looked like a team that only had three practices before our first game," Seaman coach Matt Tinsley said. "We had five kids getting their first varsity experience and you could tell that at the start. But then we settled in and got in a groove. There are a lot of things we have to work on -- finishing at the basket, free throws -- but our effort was great."

West, making its debut as well under first-year coach Jeff Skar, wasn't exactly sharp either in the opening period, but hit Seaman with a 5-0 run to start the game before taking the one-point lead into the second quarter. But the Chargers couldn't slow down Seaman once the Vikings found a rhythm.

A pair of freshmen provided the spark that got the Vikings going. Taylin Stallbaumer scored 12 of her game-high 19 points in the second quarter, while fellow frosh Brooklyn Gormley came off the bench to get eight of her 10 points in the period.

Tied 14-14 after a pair of Adina Davis free throws for West, Seaman closed the half on a 25-9 run. Gormley scored six of the first nine points in the run, while Stallbaumer had seven of the last nine.

"I told them before the game, 'The only thing certain in our uncertain world is you get 32 minutes so go play basketball,'" Tinsley said. "We were too tight at the start, but as the game went on, we got more comfortable and it's good to see those young kids get it going."

Newcomer Lauren Sweeney added 10 for the Vikings and returning starter Raigan Kramer scored 11. West was led by 10 points from Makenzie Jones.

TOPEKA WEST BOYS 91, SEAMAN 64

Seaman;21;12;16;15;--;64

Topeka West;24;28;21;18;--;91

Seaman (0-2. 0-2) -- Hyman 5-14 2-5 12. Henry 4-8 0-0 10, Stallbaumer 3-10 0-0 8, Stuewe 2-7 2-4 6, Kobuszewski 3-5 0-0 6, Brewer 4-9 0-0 10, Gormley 1-1 0-0 2, Finley 2-4 0-0 4, Griess 2-4 0-0 4, Barta 0-1 0-0 0,. Totals 26-63 4-8 64.

Topeka West (1-0, 1-0) -- Wilkerson 8-18 2-6 18, Brooks 7-12 2-3 16, T. Alexander 8-8 4-4 22, Putthoff 6-9 0-0 18, Lowery 4-5 0-0 8, Lira 2-3 1-2 6, Peterson 0-1 0-0 0, X. Alexander 0-4 1-2 1, Reimer 1-1 0-0 2, Bearman 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 36-63 10-17 91.

3-point goals -- Seaman 8-28 (Henry 2-4, Stallbaumer 2-6, Brewer 2-5, Finley 2-4, Hyman 0-3, Stuewe 0-4, Griess 0-2); West 9-20 (Putthoff 6-9, T. Alexander 2-2, Lira 1-2, Wilkerson 0-3, Brooks 0-1). Total fouls -- Seaman 15, West 12. Fouled out -- none.

SEAMAN GIRLS 71, TOPEKA WEST 41

Seaman;8;31;17;15;--;71

Topeka West;9;14;6;12;--;41

Seaman (1-0, 1-0) -- Kramer 5-12 0-0 11, C. Anderson 0-1 1-2 1, Cowan 4-9 0-2 8, Stallbaumer 5-11 8-10 19, J. Anderson 1-5 6-9 8, Schumann 1-2 2-4 4, Gormley 3-7 4-6 10, Sweeney 4-5 1-2 10. Totals 23-52 22-35 71.

Topeka West (0-1, 0-1) -- S. Triplett 0-5 0-2 0, Anthony 4-11 0-0 9, N. Triplett 0-8 1-4 1, Jones 5-8 0-0 10, Bearman 3-5 0-2 6, Ford 2-7 0-0 4, Brooks 2-4 0-0 4, Benson 1-3 0-0 3, Clark 0-4 0-0 0, Davis 1-3 2-4 4, Mays 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-58 3-13 41.

3-point goals -- Seaman 3-7 (Kramer 1-3, Stallbaumer 1-2, Sweeney 1-2); West 2-21 (Anthony 1-6, Benson 1-3, S. Triplett 0-3, Jones 0-3, Clark 0-2). Total fouls -- Seaman 19, West 26. Fouled out -- West N. Triplett.

Topeka West's Zander Putthoff (24) goes up for a rebound against Seaman's Daigan Brewer (right) during Tuesday's Centennial League game at West. Putthoff was deadly from 3-point range in the game, hitting 6 of 9 for 18 points to key the Chargers' 91-64 victory.