On paper, SM North’s boys basketball team shouldn’t have had much trouble disposing of SM East in the opening round of sub-state play. But when the teams met in the SM North Brick House Thursday, the Lancers showed that they weren’t going to let their season come to an end without a fight.
Powered by a 26-point night from senior Marcus Weathers, SM North was able to hold off the Lancers even as they mounted a stiff challenge in the fourth quarter. SM North landed a 69-64 victory that moves them into the sub-state championship against SM South on Saturday.
SM North coach Steve Stitzer said after the game that his team, which won the Sunflower League title, would have to play better if it hoped to make back-to-back appearances in the state tournament.
“I think they were still just thinking about that Sunflower League championship,” Stitzer said of his team’s focus. “We’ve got to play better. East came out and they were ready to play — I knew they would be. It wasn’t going to be a gimme… We’ve got to work a lot harder.”
The loss moved SM East to 7-14 on the year and brought its year to a close. They were led Thursday by senior Jay Guastello, who scored 26 for the Lancers. Guastello drained three three-point shots as part of a 13-point fourth quarter that kept the Lancers within striking distance as time wound down. No other Lancer player scored in double figures.
For the Indians, seniors Brendon Henderson and Michael Weathers were key parts of the offensive attack, scoring 16 and 13 points on the night, respectively.
SM North will face SM South at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Brick House.