WICHITA, Kan.—South High's girls just won their 17th straight game. The Titans became the first team to sweep Heights since Kip Pulliam took over as coach more than a decade ago. They are in great shape to win the City League.
How are the Titans doing this with two freshman playing huge roles?
Junior guard Madison Northcutt thought about that for a second.
"Well," she finally said, "I mean, they're really good."
Led by 14 points from 6-foot-2 freshman center Kendrian Elliott, South took down visiting Heights 51-36 Friday night. Every time the Falcons made a run, the Titans had an answer.
"After we beat them the first time, we knew they'd go back to practice working hard," said Elliott, who was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. "We had to go back and work just as hard."
It showed, Pulliam said. The Titans may be young, but they were more poised than Heights (13-5, 10-4 in the City League), a team with seven seniors who until this season had lost only two games in their high school careers.
"They're just fundamentally sound," Pulliam said of the Titans. "They play hard. They're going to try to keep the game to 40 (points) or below. If they beat you to 40, they're probably going to win."
The Falcons narrowed South's lead to 42-36 midway through the fourth quarter, only to let the Titans score the last nine points of the game.
It was a long night for Pulliam, who watched his team miss 11 of 19 free throws.
"That's stuff that's easily correctable with spending time in the gym," Pulliam said. "That's concentration. That's mental toughness. It's doing things when you're tired. Right now, when we get mentally or physically tired, we're not very good."
Kirea Rogers, a sophomore, scored 13 and Northcutt added 11 for South (18-1, 14-1). The Titans put together a 12-0 run to end the first half and start the second.
Still, they could never quite shake the Falcons until putting the game away those last four minutes.
"We knew they were going to be very dangerous," South coach Antwain Scales said. "It's just like a lion having a thorn in his paw. That's what I've been explaining to the girls all week. We knew they were going to come out and give us their best. We had to prepare for that by being disciplined on offense, playing great defense and rebounding."
Scales said he told the Titans at halftime they were getting out-hustled. He wasn't happy with the Titans' concentration against Heights' pressure defense.
By the time it was over, though, Scales didn't have much to complain about.
"I really wanted us to have this, so we could keep our expectations high," Scales said.
Jada Lynch led Heights with 13 points, while Katie Palmer added 10.