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With 33 points in a victory over the Seaman Vikings Friday night, senior Elijah Brooks became the all-time leading scorer at Topeka West.
Friends, family and Charger fans pressed into the middle of the court, all hoping to get a photo with, or to share a word of congratulations to, the 6-foot-4, high-flying Brooks.
Brooks entered the game needing 18 points to match the career mark of 1,235 set by Luke Dwyer, a 2000 graduate of Topeka West. After tallying 14 in the first half, Brooks knocked down four free throws early in the third period to tie the mark.
He broke the record a few minutes later, then put his stamp on it with his customary flair: Brooks darted along the baseline to receive an ally-oop pass from Sincere Austin. With his eyes nearly at the rim, he slammed the pass through the rim with two hands as the crowd erupted.
“It just came with the flow of the game,” Brooks said about breaking the record. “Whatever happened happened. I wasn’t hunting for it.
“But it’s good that it happened in a win with all my seniors. It was a special environment. Every time I went to the sideline, they were telling me that I broke it. And I was like ‘Alright.’ I just wanted to finish the game, because I was tired.”
With Seaman hanging around, the senior had to keep pushing. The second half turned into an Elijah Brooks Dunk Show. He got five dunks in the second half, including one of the windmill variety on a breakaway.
The floodgates opened, and the Chargers ran away with a 74-58 win.
Brooks tallied 33 points in the game, pushing the scoring mark to 1,250. There will be plenty more before he’s done. The Chargers still have seven more regular season games left to play. After that, they expect to play plenty of playoff contests.
“It’s definitely great, because I’ve spent all my four years here,” Brooks said about what the record means to him. “I work hard for it. Every year they told me that I could be a special player. So to see the proof in the pudding, that was really the great thing about it.”
Brooks smiled and calmly posed for selfies and group pictures, slapped hands and welcomed hugs from just about everyone in the gym after the game.
“The thing about Elijah is, everybody likes him,” Bloomquist said about his senior leader earlier in the season. It was evident Friday night.
Brooks is on quite a roll of late. He scored 30 points in each of the three games of the Topeka Invitational Tournament last weekend, leading his team to the championship with wins over such quality opponents as Lawrence, St. Marys and Wichita Northwest.
He followed that up with 43 in a one-point win over Junction City on Tuesday.
“I think you’d need a ball bat to hit Elijah on the knees to beat us right now,” Bloomquist said.
Short of that, Seaman tried to defend Brooks one-on-one Friday, employing all-league senior Ty Henry on the Chargers’ star. The plan worked for the first quarter. Brooks hit one three-point shot, but missed several others. The 6-foot-3 Henry blocked two of Brooks shots in the lane early in the contest.
“That’s the toughest anybody has guarded him in the first quarter,” Bloomquist said. “I could see a little bit of frustration in Elijah. But I told him ‘You just gotta stay with what we’re doing.
“I said ‘You’ve gotta accelerate your feet a little bit more. Instead of moving, you’ve got to cut.’ Once he started cutting, they started chasing him. And you can’t chase him. You chase Elijah, you’re going to get beat.”
Brook exploded for 11 points in the second period. He racked up 10 more in the third period, and nine in the fourth to put the game away.
“The kid’s averaging 29 points a game,” Seaman coach Craig Cox said. “You’ve got to try to slow him down. Ty worked extremely hard. And we knew that (Brooks) would get his. We just wanted to make it hard on him to get those points. He showed how good he is and how tough he is to guard.”
This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Topeka West basketball's Elijah Brooks becomes school's scoring leader