The Topeka High Dungeon was truly a house of horrors for the Junction City girls basketball team Friday. The Blue Jays were harassed into a 62-24 loss at the hands of the undefeated Trojans.

The full-court pressure applied by Hannah Alexander’s squad forced the Blue Jays into 11 turnovers, including numerous errant long passes, in the first quarter. The visitors quickly fell into an 18-7 hole.

Things turned even worse in the second period. While Topeka High tallied 18 in each of the first two quarters, the Blue Jays went scoreless for seven minutes. By the time, the buzzer mercifully signaled halftime, the Trojans led 36-10.

“We’ve tried to make defense a big part of every practice,” Alexander said of her Trojans, who improved to 3-0. “We’ve just drilled it into the girls, and they are doing a great job trying to execute. Offensively, we’ve got some weapons, but it’s defense that’s going to win us games. The girls have bought into that."

Alexander admitted that her team might be presenting a bit of a surprise to opponents thus far. Coming off a 7-14 campaign, this team starts two freshmen and has already knocked off two highly-touted opponents — Lawrence and Kansas City-Schlagle — on the road.

“I think we have been (a surprise), coming back with the record that we had last year, which wasn’t our strongest,” Alexander said. “We played two tough teams right off the bat, so now seeing how we responded tonight, we’ve just got to control the game, control the tempo, and play at the level that’s expected of us. If we keep executing, things will keep falling into place for us.”

Junction City had no answer for freshman NiJaree Canady’s power in the paint. Canady followed up her 27-point effort against Kansas City-Schlagle Tuesday with 28 on what her coach termed an off night.

“She missed a lot of easy ones tonight, and I know she’ll be back at practice tomorrow, working hard to fix that,” Alexander said. “What I love about her is she’s disciplined, and she’s like a sponge. You tell her what she needs to do and she fixes it. She’s a force. She can handle the ball, she can shoot threes, she can finish down low. She’s the real deal.”

Fellow rookie Talayah Thomas scored eight for the Trojans, and senior Jaryn Benning added seven.

The Trojans will be tested by two more road games next week. They visit Hayden on Tuesday, then go to Washburn Rural on Friday.

“It’s going to be tough,” Alexander said. We’ve got to take this win tonight and improve on it to play those two real quality opponents on the road next week. We’ve got to be ready.”



Junction City;7;3;7;7;—;24

Topeka High;18;18;18;8;—;62

Junction City (0-3, 0-1) — Harris 0-1 0-0 0 M. Davis 2-9 3-11 7, Ramirez 1-6 4-10 6, Grygier 0-5 2-4 2, Escobar 0-5 0-0 0, A. Davis 0-6 0-0 0, Nicholson 1-3 2-4 4, Benoit 0-1 0-0 0, Clark 0-0 0-0 0, Ocasio 1-1 3-4 5, Bellika 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 5-37 14-33 24.

Topeka High (3-0, 1-0) — Murray 2-3 0-0 4, Thomas 3-12 1-4 8, Benning 2-7 2-7 6, Hendricks 2-5 0-0 4, Canady 11-21 6-11 28, Smith 0-2 1-2 1, T. German 1-1 0-0 2, Michaelis 0-7 2-4 2, G. German 0-1 0-0 0, Graham 1-3 0-0 2, Edwards 1-1 0-0 2, Gonzales 1-2 0-0 3, Kincade 0-0 0-0 0, Ramsey 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-65 12-28 62.

3-point goals — Junction City 0; Topeka High 2 (Thomas 1, Gonzales 1). Total fouls — Junction City 18; Topeka High 23. Fouled out — none.