With solid win over Derby, SM North shows it’s in the hunt for state basketball title

Torrence Allen gets a hug from manager Sam Rogers as the Indians celebrated their win over Derby Wednesday. All photos by Kelsie Sneegas.
Torrence Allen gets a hug from manager Sam Rogers as the Indians celebrated their win over Derby Wednesday. All photos by Kelsie Sneegas.

Just making it this far was a big accomplishment. But SM North’s boys basketball team showed Wednesday in their first appearance at state since 2002 that they shooting for higher than “also-ran” status this season.

In fact, they’re just two wins away from a state 6A title.

Led by brothers Marcus and Michael Weathers, the Indians recovered from a slow start in the teams’ state-opening game against Derby, pulling away for a 65-51 win.

The big stage of the Charles Koch Arena in Wichita may have been to blame for some of the nerves the Indians showed early, with Derby taking a narrow lead in the first quarter. But Michael Weathers’ back-to-back dunks in the second quarter gave his team — and the dozens of SM North students who traveled to cheer them on — a boost that helped SM North break away. The Indians took a seven-point lead into the start of the fourth quarter, and had extended it to 10 with four minutes to go. Solid play down the stretch let SM North secure the win with a comfortable 14-point margin.

Michael Weathers led the team with 26 points, missing just four of 15 shots on the night. Marcus Weathers finished with 23 points, and helped his team dominate the boards with 11 rebounds.

The victory sets up a rematch between two of the Sunflower League’s most talented teams in the semi-final round. The Indians will face second-ranked Lawrence at 8:15 Friday. The Chesty Lions beat the Indians 70-66 when the teams met in mid-February.

The winner will advance to play either Wichita East or Olathe East in the state title game Saturday.

In other local basketball news, Bishop Miege’s boys team won its opening-round games in the 4A-Division 1 tournament, beating Andale 50-34. They face undefeated McPherson Friday. The Miege girls will meet Piper in their opening round game tonight at 6:30 p.m.

Michael Weathers led the Indians with 26 points — and some dunks that got his team and the fans riled up.
Michael Weathers led the Indians with 26 points — and some dunks that got his team and the fans riled up.
Chartered busses brought dozens of students to Wichita for the game. They didn't get back to northeast Johnson County until around 2 a.m. today.
Chartered buses brought dozens of students to Wichita for the game. They didn’t get back to northeast Johnson County until around 2 a.m. today.
Coach Steven Stitzer has skippered SM North to its first state appearance since 2002.
Coach Steven Stitzer has skippered SM North to its first state appearance since 2002.
Michael Weathers celebrated with fans after the win.
Michael Weathers celebrated with fans after the win.

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