There have been some bumps for Topeka High’s boys basketball team along the way, including a loss to Hayden in the Trojans’ league-opener and a disappointing non-league loss to Wichita Northwest in the first round of last month’s Topeka Invitational Tournament.


But the Trojans have bounced back to find themselves in a familiar position, challenging for the Centennial League championship and a high Class 6A seed for postseason.


Topeka High, which has earned at least a share of the league title the past two seasons, took a big step in improving its position Friday night, taking control in the fourth quarter to knock off league-leading Washburn Rural, 57-42, in front of a packed house at Rural.


That victory, coupled with losses by Highland Park and Topeka West, left High and Rural tied for the top spot in the league at 8-3 while Highland Park and Manhattan are a half-game behind at 7-3.


“When we’re playing together, we know we can’t be stopped,’’ said Topeka High 6-foot-7 senior King Sutton. ”We’ve just got to stay in tune with each other and keep the same intensity every game and we’re going to win.


“We knew people were going to come to watch us lose or to watch us win. Either way we were going to stay together and play together, and that’s all we needed to do.’’


High, which earned a regular-season sweep over the Junior Blues, was locked in a tight battle through the first three quarters, leading 12-10 at the end of the first quarter, 25-22 at the half and 36-32 after three quarters.


But the Trojans opened the fourth quarter with a 12-2 run to build a commanding 48-34 lead on a Sutton hoop with 3:53 remaining.


Rural got no closer than 11 the rest of the way while High led by as many as 18 points, outscoring the Junior Blues 21-10 in the fourth.


“They’ve been buying in along the way,’’ Topeka High coach Eric King said of his team. ”But now they’re starting to see the big picture on their own.’’


Sutton scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Trojans while senior Da’Vonshai Harden was right behind with 15 points and junior Jalen Smith had 13 points.


“That’s just sharing the ball, being in the right spots, making your shots when you get them,’’ King said.


Junior Joe Berry paced Washburn Rural with 15 points while senior Noah Krueger had 11 points and four 3-pointers.


TOPEKA HIGH BOYS 57, WASHBURN RURAL 42


Topeka High;12;13;11;21;—;57


Washburn Rural;10;12;10;10;—;42


Topeka High (12-5, 8-3) — Smith 3 6-10 13, Harden 5 2-2 15, Sutton 6 6-13 19, Esquibel 2 4-4 8, Williams 1 0-0 2, Cooks 0 0-0 0, Carr 0 0-0 0, James 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 18-29 57.


Washburn Rural (12-4, 8-3) — Williams 1 5-5 7, Berry 6 2-2 15, Hutchinson 1 0-0 2, Krueger 4 0-0 11, Patterson 1 0-0 2, Bachelor 0 0-0 0, Markham 0 0-0 0, Kidd 2 1-1 5. Totals 15 8-8 42.


3-point goals — Topeka High 5 (Harden 3, Smith, Sutton), Washburn Rural 4 (Krueger 3, Berry). Total fouls — Topeka High 11, Washburn Rural 18. Fouled out — none.