SM North fends off challenge from SM East, brings Lancers’ season to an end

Marcus Weathers led the Indians with 26 points.
Marcus Weathers led the Indians with 26 points.

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.

The Lancers defense couldn't contain SM North's many scoring threats.
The Lancers defense couldn’t contain SM North’s many scoring threats.
Coach Shawn Hair's Lancers finished the year 7-14.
Coach Shawn Hair’s Lancers finished the year 7-14.
Someone probably tallied how many dunks Marcus Weathers had, but I lost count...
Someone probably tallied how many dunks Marcus Weathers had, but I lost count…
Danny Bradley (from left), Marcus Weathers, Michael Weathers and Brendon Henderson will be looking to return their team to state with a win Saturday.
Danny Bradley (from left), Marcus Weathers, Michael Weathers and Brendon Henderson will be looking to return their team to state with a win Saturday.
SM North coach Steve Stitzer said his team would have to play better to make a credible run in the playoffs.
SM North coach Steve Stitzer said his team would have to play better to make a credible run in the playoffs.
SM North fans celebrated on the court with the team after the win.
SM North fans celebrated on the court with the team after the win.

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