TOPEKA – Topeka High did not win the Topeka Invitational Tournament, but it was a positive showing for the Trojans.
Topeka High bounced back from a tough two-point loss to Lawrence in the semifinals to beat Olathe South 57-52 in the third place game of the T.I.T.
“We just wanted to come back from that loss,” senior 6-foot-6 center John Madden said. “It was hard, but we had to put it behind us and continue moving forward. We still have a season ahead of us so we can’t dwell on it.”
Topeka High (6-6) had a chance to knock off then No.3-ranked Lawrence after Madden’s lay-up tied the game with 11 seconds left. However, a controversial foul on Madden in which the near official whistled for a jump ball put Lawrence on the free-throw line where Price Morgan hit two free throws with three seconds left for the 57-55 win.
Madden finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds against Lawrence.
Less than 24 hours later the Trojans jumped out a 22-6 lead in the first quarter against Olathe South and held on for a 57-52 win.
“After the (Lawrence) game we all talk about how we were going to take our anger out on this team and that’s what we did,” said Madden, who had seven points, eight rebounds, and a block. “We came out and we went to work.”
Topeka High finished 2-1 in the T.I.T. knocking off KC Washington 77-59 in the opener as Madden scored 10 consecutive points for the Trojans in the third quarter finishing with 14 points.
“I felt that we played really well in this tournament,” Madden said. “We came together as a team and that’s what really matters. We’ve really grown. This tournament has set something up for us. I feel our defense has improved incredibly. Some of our players have stepped up defensively and it’s done a lot for the team.”
Madden averaged 11 points in the tournament and provided solid defense for the Trojans.
“I’m just a team player,” Madden said. “I’m always trying to rebound and stuff. I feel like I did a good job in the tournament. I may not have scored a lot of points, but I’ve definitely done a good job in the tournament.”
Madden has had a solid senior season averaging 9.8 points on 55-percent shooting from the field for Topeka High.
“I feel like I’ve done a really good job of stepping up,” Madden said. “I didn’t get to play much as a junior so I really had to put in work over the summer and get ready for the season.”
Madden has an array of post moves at his disposal and can finish with either hand. His toughest move is when he catches the ball on the right block, spins off a defender towards the basket, and finishes with a reverse lay-up using his length to his advantage.
“That move honestly just came to me,” Madden said. “I didn’t have to work on it too much. It was just natural for me. With my long arms it just works for me.”
Topeka High returns to action at Highland Park (7-5) on Tuesday.
“We just have to keep on doing what we’ve been doing,” Madden said. “We have to look at this tournament and remember as a team that we can beat anybody.”