The mismatch became evident quite early on in Tuesday’s contest.

The Emporia High girls struggled to keep up with Topeka High in most facets as the athleticism and physicality helped the Trojans to an early spread in the eventual 61-32 victory by the Trojans.

“They’re more physical than us, they’re stronger than us, they’re probably a little bit tougher than us in terms of their physicality,” EHS Head Girls Coach Carolyn Dorsey said. “I think we got a little bit scared (and) a little bit on our heels. Multiple kids got on their heels and it snowballed in that third quarter.”

E-High’s final lead was at 5-4, roughly halfway through the first quarter, then Topeka High stretched out a 13-0 run, carrying a 17-5 advantage into the second. Consecutive layups from Mya Tovar and a corner 3-pointer by Gracie Gilpin helped the Spartans keep pace heading into the half, still trailing by just 12.

“I thought the first half was alright, (only) down 12, I’ll take it (for) where we were,” Dorsey said. “It wasn’t bad, but we lost it in that transition game where we couldn’t hang onto the ball long enough.”

In the third quarter, the Trojans went back on a furious offensive that saw the Spartans struggle repeatedly to possess the ball long enough to form an attack. The Trojans began a steal and rebounding clinic as E-High scored just five in the third and by the time they closed out the game with a pair of 3-pointers by Maddyn Stewart and Allie Baker, the score was well in hand as those shots broke up a 17-0 run by the Trojans. They also had a 14-1 run in the third.

“We talked about their pressure and wanting to handle it better, I don’t think we handled it well,” Dorsey said. “I thought we defended okay, but ... the transition game is where they destroyed us. We stopped attacking. We did fine in the first half, but in the second half we came out and just quit attacking and it was (turnovers) for layup, layup, layup.”

“I feel like they tried to do what we asked, tried to do what we designed,” Dorsey said of her team, citing the size of Topeka High’s NiJaree Canady, who scored 20 for the Trojans. Freshman Kiara Smith, who had averaged more than 20 points per game this season, had 14 points.

The Spartans were led by Gracie Gilpin and Tovar, who both scored eight.

EHS (3-4, 2-2) will return to the court Friday at Seaman.

“I’m actually not entirely disappointed, that game’s going to help us,” Dorsey said. “Right now it doesn’t feel very good, but that game’s going to make them stronger. I still think we’ve come along ... we’ve improved, but you’re not going to see it in that score.”

“They’re loaded. They’ve got weapons at every position, probably eight, nine, 10 down the line. I don’t think (we struggled) from a lack of effort, I think we just got a little bit timid.”

TOPEKA 17 9 14 21 — 61

EMPORIA 5 9 5 13 — 32

Topeka High (6-0, 4-0) — Grassity 1-3 0-0 2, Thomas 2-7 0-0 4, K. Smith 6-11 2-3 14, Hendricks 1-4 0-0 2, Canady 9-12 2-2 20, L. Smith 4-8 2-2 11, Murray 1-4 0-0 2, Lyons 2-3 0-2 4, German 0-0 0-0 0, Z. Caryl 0-1 2-2 2, McDaniel 0-1 0-0 0, Shields 0-0 0-0 0, Wiley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-54 8-11 61.

Emporia (3-4, 2-2) — Gilpin 2-11 2-4 8, Christensen 2-2 0-0 4, Baker 1-2 0-0 3, Breshears 1-5 0-0 2, Tovar 4-7 0-0 8, Chapman 1-4 0-0 2, Adams 1-4 0-0 2, Stewart 1-1 0-0 3, Garcia 0-0 0-0 0, Thomas 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-36 2-4 32.

3-point goals — Topeka 1-12 (L. Smith 1-2, Thomas 0-2, Grassity 0-1, K. Smith 0-2, Hendricks 0-2, Canady 0-1, Z. Caryl 0-1, McDaniel 0-1); Emporia 4-13 (Gilpin 2-6, Baker 1-1, Stewart 1-1, Breshears 0-3, Adams 0-2). Total fouls — Topeka 8, Emporia 10. Fouled out — none.

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