Jahmal McMurray came up big for the Scots in a rivalry game.
The 6-foot senior shooting guard for Highland Park scored a career-high 32 points in a 76-53 win over Topeka High in front of a packed crowd at the Dungeon on Dec. 20.
McMurray knocked down 12 of 21 shots from the floor including 6 of 9 from behind the arc. He also converted on both of his free throw attempts.
“It felt good to play well in front of all of those people, but I have to give all of the credit to my teammates for giving me the ball when I was open and getting me open to score,” McMurray said.
Southern Illinois and Northern Colorado have recently expressed interest in McMurray, who reports offers from Nebraska-Omaha, Texas-Pan American, and Liberty.
Highland Park (4-0) has not played since the win over the Trojans and has used the practice time to improve.
“The break has been pretty good, we’ve been practicing pretty hard the last couple of days,” McMurray said. “I feel we’ve actually gotten better mentally rather than physically.”
As a junior, McMurray averaged 14 points a game and was named the Topeka Capital-Journal City Player of the Year as he helped lead the Scots to a 24-1 record.
But this year, McMurray is posting even bigger numbers offensively averaging 22.5 points on 45.5 percent (35 for 77) shooting from the floor with a city-best 16 3-pointers. In addition to his 32-point game against Topeka High, he’s had scoring outputs of 24, 18, and 16 at the Blue Valley Shootout.
“I’d say I’m better off the bounce now,” McMurray said. “It’s never going to be easy. I guess I’ve just been working so hard that it’s paying off in the games.”
McMurray and the Scots resume action on Jan. 7 at Shawnee Heights (3-2), which features a trio of former Highland Park guards—Jovan and Tony Barksdale and Tez Scroggins.
“I think we’ll be ready to play Shawnee Heights, they’ve got some pretty great guards with Jovan and Tony, Braeson (Sester), Tevin (Downing), and Tez Scroggins, but we should be able to contain them if we all work together as a team.”
Shawnee Heights will be looking to make a statement at home against Highland Park in their first of two scheduled meetings.
“I look at it as going into another game and get the win,” McMurray said. “I really don’t get into all that hype stuff.”
The battle between McMurray and Jovan Barksdale–two of the best senior shooting guards in the state—will be one to watch as Barksdale leads the Thunderbirds averaging 18 points a game.
“I love the challenge and I think it will be a great show between us,” McMurray said. “We’ve been battling since we were kids.”