HIGH SCHOOL HOOPS

Monday will be big day for high school basketball

Updated: 2014-01-19T01:25:18Z

By SAM McDOWELL

The Kansas City Star

The Sprint Center will play host Monday to the second annual Time Warner Cable SportsChannel Showcase on Martin Luther King Day.

1. One to remember

North Kansas City and Staley played three times last season — with North Kansas City winning each time, including the coveted playoff matchup — but Monday’s game marks a rematch of an instant classic played at the Sprint Center.

On the same floor last year, North Kansas City freshman Selena Salas banked in a 26-foot three-pointer at the buzzer and lifted North Kansas City to a one-point win. It was the top highlight from the inaugural Time Warner Cable SportsChannel Showcase. Salas and Aries Washington, a UMKC commit, have the Hornets off to a 7-4 start this season.

Staley, 5-5, is looking to end a three-game losing streak after a 5-2 start. The Falcons, led by point guard Monique Townson, are still one of four teams with a winning record in Suburban White Conference play.

2. Bragging rights

Monday’s slate features four matchups between Kansas and Missouri boys teams, all offering some level of intrigue. A game between unbeaten Topeka Highland Park and Grandview tops that list (but more on that game later).

Washington and Hogan Prep may display more athleticism than any of the eight games. Washington senior Jeremee Bennett is averaging 24.6 points per game. His team put on a dunk show last season on the Sprint Center floor.

Harmon and Northeast face off in the nightcap. Harmon snapped a four-game losing streak Friday night.

The interstate rivalries begin with a matchup between Wyandotte and East, a pair of teams looking to rebound from slow starts.

3. Marquee matchup

Topeka Highland Park has rolled through the first eight games of its schedule, winning by an average margin of 17 points. But it faces its stiffest test to date against Grandview. The Bulldogs, 9-2, have won seven straight games and seem to have figured out how to win close games. Six of their nine victories have come by six points or fewer.

Tyrone Taylor leads Grandview with 20 points per game, and senior Nelson Nweke is averaging a double-double with 11.3 points and 10.2 rebounds per contest. Taylor is being recruited by a host of Division I schools, including Kansas State.

4. Double duty

It’s certainly no holiday Monday for the Raytown South boys basketball team. The Cardinals will meet their rivals from Raytown at 3 p.m. at the Sprint Center, but that’s just half their day.

Raytown South, 5-6, will leave immediately after that game and head to Lee’s Summit High School, where it will face Lee’s Summit West at 8:30 p.m. in the 39th annual Culver’s Classic.

And this comes only three days after the Cardinals played a triple-overtime game at Blue Springs, which they lost 81-76.

Raytown South’s top four leading scorers are underclassmen, led by junior forward Tyrone Gibbs, who averages 12.1 points per game.

Junior post player Jailen Gill averages 16.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game for Raytown, which is 8-4.

5. Unique atmosphere

It’s not every day high school teams play in arenas that seat nearly 20,000 people. After playing inside the large venue for the first time last year, several players said the deeper shooting background required an adjustment. The inaugural showcase welcomed a crowd of 6,819 last season.

| Sam McDowell, smcdowell@kcstar.com

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