Invite update: No. 2 seed Free State advances

By Steve Sell
January 21, 2016
Kendall Shaw

There was a time when Wichita North played in the McPherson Invitational, Conner Frankamp scored the majority of its points.

Playing the role of Frankamp on Thursday was Tiylar Cotton.

The 6-1 senior scored the first 17 points for the Redskins and single-handedly kept them in the game with No. 2 seed Lawrence Free State for a half.

But the Firebirds, the No. 5-ranked team in Class 6A and possessors of a 7-1 record coming into the game, had too much second-half firepower in the form of Drew Tochtrop and advanced to Friday’s semifinals with a 58-45 decision.

Free State will go up against Junction City in Friday’s 6:30 game, while North falls into the afternoon bracket to take on Derby at 3 p.m.

Cotton was sensational in the first half as it seemed as though he was playing 1-on-5 until Braden Johnson came off the bench for North to hit back-to-back 3s. Despite the two-man attack, the game was deadlocked at 25-all at the break.

It was Tochtrop's turn to play one-man band in the second half. He scored 20 of his game-high 29 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter to put the Redskins away. Free State as a team hit 50 percent from the field, 20 of 40.

The Firebirds also ruled the glass with a whopping 38-16 rebounding advantage as Sloan Thomsen led the way with 11.

Cotton did cool off to score only four points in the second half to finish with 21.