Wichita South defensively dominated Maize, 47-35, to take home their second straight 6A State Championship.
The Titans held the Eagles to just 27.8% shooting for the entire game, a testament to their championship pedigree defense. But South’s tough defense can also get the Titans in early foul trouble.
Antwain Scales, head coach of Wichita South, had to deal with the same problem in last year’s state championship game.
“Last year against [Wichita Heights] we lost [Kendrian Elliott] at the 6:55 mark [in the fourth quarter], and I didn’t want to see that nightmare happen again,” Scales said. “That’s been the mock-up of this team every year, being strong, being disciplined and being accountable at the right place at the right time.”
Elliott caught two early fouls in the first quarter and was benched late in the first quarter to save her for late in the game when the Titans needed her most. Kirea Rogers also found herself in bad foul trouble early, catching three in just the first quarter.
In the midst of key team leaders heading to the bench, the Titans needed somebody to step up if they were going to have a chance.
Ericka Mattingly’s tenacious nature helped South take control of the offensive flow of the game and was a huge part of the Titan's perseverance.
“Ericka’s tough as nails,” Scales said. “We try to keep the ball in her hands all the time because I know she’s going to make the right plays at the right time. And even though she’s a sophomore she’s got to grow up real quick, and that’s what I’m trying to teach her, to be the catalyst and leader of this team.”
The youth on Wichita South is undeniably good, with both their freshmen and junior varsity teams going undefeated for two straight years in a row, the future for South’s girls’ basketball team looks bright.
Maize will be in contention for girls’ basketball prominence as well returning all their players, except for Brayden Byrd.
"We've got a lot of people back,” Jerrod Handy, Maize’s head coach, said. “I'm really optimistic for next year. We’ve got a lot of great girls and great talent. We know what it's like now playing in the state championship game and we're going to go for it next year."
Wichita South will undoubtedly be battling Maize for Kansas girls’ basketball dominance next year as well.
6A Boys Basketball State Championship
Blue Valley Northwest nixed inner-city rival Blue Valley North 73-46 to take home their second consecutive state championship.
North kept it close up until halftime, heading into the locker rooms down 32-26 to the Huskies.
However, after the break Northwest took control of the game in the second half, outscoring North 41-20.
Clayton Custer helped lead the Huskies to victory with a 25-point performance.
“Our team had a little bit of pressure on them,” Custer said. “We took a couple of loses during the season, which we didn’t want to do, but we came together as a team and [won state] together.”
6A Boys Basketball 3rd Place
Wichita East defeated Maize 65-60.
6A Girls Basketball 3rd Place
Manhattan edged Olathe South 56-53.