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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Aftershocks routed in quarterfinals, break TBT attendance record

Nithin Reddy Nagapur
Small forward Jordan Parks huddles together with the rest of his team during a timeout during the game against Heartfire. The AfterShocks lost, 76-53.

After a three-year winning streak in Charles Koch Arena, the AfterShocks fell to Team Heartfire, 76-53.

After starting the first few minutes of the Tuesday night game with a lead on Heartfire, the AfterShocks quickly lost footing, letting a six-point deficit at the end of the first quarter grow steadily to a 23-point loss.

Turnovers continued to be a problem for the Aftershocks as the Heartfire converted their 20 turnovers into 19 points.. 

“It’s deflating,” AfterShocks head coach Zach Bush said. “You start to run and transition … and then you end up throwing (the ball) away.”

The team shot just 6-20 from the three-point line, a continued trend from previous tournament games, and 19-45 from the field. Six of the 20 three-pointers the AfterShocks made it in, speaking to the team’s all-around low shooting percentage. 

By the time the Elam Ending began, the WSU alumni team was down 17 points, 68-51. Heartfire scored six of the eight needed points in less than 40 seconds. 

Point guard Tyrus McGee and center Marcus Lee led the AfterShocksfor the evening with 13 and 10 points, respectively. 

The team’s highlight of the evening came as Charles Koch Arena broke the all-time TBT attendance record.WSU Athletics sold tickets starting at $5 in hopes of breaking the record, which sat at 7,184

Tuesday’s attendance narrowly passed the 2019 record, with 7,202 people. 

“This event would not exist without them,” Bush said. “Even four games I felt like we didn’t play well, and (fans) continue each night to show up.”

With the AfterShocks 2023 TBT journey at an end, Bush said the next step is to take a break before getting back to the drawing board.

Team Heartfire shot 48% from the field and 41% from three in Tuesday night’s win. Heartfire’s point guard Marcus Hall said their team “embraces” the type of environment in Koch Arena.

“The fans were amazing,” Hall said. “I kept looking for an empty seat.”

Heartfire head coach LaPhonso Ellis said it’s “not easy” being a non-alumni team in a field of teams with years of connection.

“We have guys playing all over the globe,” Ellis said. “It’s not easy to develop the kind of togetherness and the continuity that’s necessary to be able to win games, but our guys are very different.”

A long-standing TBT participant, Hall has hopped from team to team, most recently playing with Team 23 in 2021. The Houston, Texas, native helped lead Heartfire to a win, scoring 17 points for the team.

“The biggest thing that you want is for your guys to believe,” Hall said. “That’s really what keeps me going, keeps me locked in.”

Heartfire will progress to the semifinals in Philadelphia on Aug. 2. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

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About the Contributors
Mia Hennen
Mia Hennen, Editor in Chief
Mia Hennen is the current editor in chief for The Sunflower. Before becoming editor, Hennen was the news/managing editor. They are a junior at Wichita State majoring in English and minoring in communications and Spanish, hoping to pursue any career involving writing or editing.
Nithin Reddy Nagapur
Nithin Reddy Nagapur, Former photographer
Nithin Reddy Nagapur was a photographer for The Sunflower. Nagapur graduated in Fall 2023.

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