By CHRIS PARKER
The Wichita Heights boys continued the City League's domination of the Class 6A state basketball tournament with a 56-40 win over Blue Valley Northwest on Saturday night in Emporia.
Perry Ellis was the star of the game from the tip for Heights. Heights led 10-9 after the first quarter, and the super-sophomore accounted for eight of those points. In the second quarter, the rest of the Heights Falcons started getting involved as they took a 28-16 lead into the break and never looked back.
At the end of the third it was 41-28 Heights, and it could have been much worse. Heights missed 11 free throws on the night. Perry Ellis ended up with 20 points and 11 rebounds to finish off the season. Dreamius Smith had 10 points and was the only other Falcon in double figures.
Heights will return every key player next year as little-used Keith Riley is the only senior on the roster. The title was Heights' second in a row, and it was the first repeat winner in 6A since Wichita South did it in the mid-1990s under coach Steve Eck. As a whole, the City League has won five of the past six and 13 of the past 20 6A state titles.
Evan Wessel led the Falcons with seven assists. Heights also had 10 steals in the game, and five of those came from Terrance Moore.
6A Girls Championship: Olathe South 54, Wichita Heights 49
Wichita Heights was ranked No. 17 in the nation by ESPN Rise, but it did not play that way in its 59-54 loss to the Olathe South Falcons.
The game was close off the top as the teams were tied at 16 after the first quarter, but then Olathe South began to wear Heights down. The Falcons from the north took a two-point lead into the break and extended that lead to eight after the third quarter. Wichita Heights tried to mount a comeback in the fourth, but it was too little, too late, as the Falcons failed to win a title for the third straight season.
Jhasmin Bowen singlehandedly kept Heights in the game in the first half as she had 14 of the Falcons' 24 points in the first two quarters. Bowen managed only three points the rest of the way. Kamisha Richard and Mary Sims helped with 14 points and 11 points, respectively, but Olathe South's duo of Natalie Knight and Kelsey Balcom was too much.
Knight had 23 points and Balcom had 14 to lead the Falcons from the north.
Much like the boys, the Heights girls struggled mightily at the line and it cost them. They missed 10 of their 16 free throws, while Olathe South took advantage of the freebies as it was 21 for 28 from the charity stripe.
Heights outscored Olathe South from the field, but the Falcons from the north proved that championships are won at the charity stripe.