Posted On: 12/15/17 11:33 PM
Wichita Heights entered the contest undefeated as they hosted Wichita North on Friday night. Heights solid start on the season has them as one of the top teams in Kansas (5A).
Heights took the lead early in the game and never trailed in the game going into halftime with a 35-27 lead. Wichita North was propelled early by Jackie Johnson III and almost entirely carried by Peyton Hatter in the second half.
The closest they would get is within 7 points in the third quarter but Heights proved to have a better balanced offensive performance that inevitably won them the game.
Heights- 74 North- 65
MVP: Devin Davis (2018)-Wichita Heights
Devin had a solid performance in both halves ending with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Devin shot the ball well from beyond the arc hitting numerous momentum stopping shots that allowed Heights to keep a safe distance from the Peyton Hatter hurricane that was continuous in the second half.
Devin also demonstrated a nose for the ball coming down with 11 rebounds in the contest helping out Danair Dempsey and limiting second chance opportunities.
Best offensive performance: Peyton Hatter (2018)-Wichita North
Peyton had a monster game ending with 33 points and 10 rebounds with most of his work coming in the second half.
Peyton is a fundamentally sound player, ran the court well with Jackie Johnson III, showing his ability to finish in transition, and catch tough passes in traffic while finishing around the rim.
Peyton will need to develop a larger defensive presence in order to play at the next level but has the motor to get the job done.
Best defensive performance: Wichita Heights
We saw a lot of zone tonight on both sides of the ball but overall Heights did a nice job of keeping the shifty Jackie Johnson III out of the paint and forcing him to shoot outside shots.
Best intangibles: Peyton Hatter (2018)-Wichita North
Peyton displayed a motor Friday night that seemed to intensify as the game went on. Where most would fizzle out, he stayed relatively consistent.
Peyton was hustling for loose balls, trapping on the press, and even went coast to coast at one point and ended up at the free throw line. His energy helped keep North in the ballgame in the second half.
Highest Ceiling: Jackie Johnson III (2021)- Wichita North
Jackie showed flashes of greatness during this game along with “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd with his tight and controlled handles. He displayed some good decision making multiple times in transition ending with 5 assists.
Jackie did seem to have trouble scoring within the offense as most of his 14 points were from him creating separation with his defender one-on-one. He has a great build for being 14 years old and is lightning quick when he runs the floor.
Jackie has the opportunity to be a top prospect in the state of Kansas in the 2021 class as he involves his teammates more and takes more of a leadership role on the team.
Best under-the-radar performance: Deante Edwards (2018)- Wichita Heights
Deante was able to do a little bit of everything in this game ending with 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists.
He is able to impose his will with his athleticism and strength and is one of the senior leaders on the team, stepping right off of the football field onto the court this year.
Best guy off the bench: Braxton Kirkendoll (2018)-Wichita Heights
Another one of the Heights senior leaders, Braxton Kirkendoll, had an efficient game off of the bench tonight. Ending with 7 points on 3 of 3 shooting and that big momentum shifting steal helped solidify the win tonight for Heights.
Play of the Game: Heights defensive stop with 2:06 remaining in game
With about 2:06 remaining in the game, North had an opportunity to cut the lead to single digits.
Jackie Johnson III tried to split two defenders and Braxton Kirkendoll (2019) came up with the steal and swung the momentum back in Heights favor. By the 1:30 mark, the lead ballooned back up to 15.
Best Underclassman: Danair Dempsey (2021)- Wichita Heights
Danair started for Heights and anchored the middle of their zone pulling down 7 rebounds for the game.
In addition to being active on the glass, Danair did a good job of finishing around the rim and took good shots all game long. He was able to fnish with 12 points and will be an underclassman to watch as he develops particularly if he grows any taller than 6’6 over the next few years.
Best Story to Watch Moving Forward: Heights road back to the 5A state semifinals
With the experience under their belt and a young 5 man to anchor their lineup, Heights is poised to make another deep run into postseason basketball. With four seniors in the rotation and the ever-growing upside of Devin Davis, Heights has to be a favorite to not only get back to the semi-finals but past that into the 5A championship game.