STATE CHAMPIONS! SM North wins boys 6A title

Indians celebrate
SM North celebrates the state championship. Photo via Twitter from SMSD AD

SM North has beaten Wichita Southeast, 80-56 in a runaway second half to win the Kansas boys 6A state championship.

Michael and Marcus Weathers again combined for 46 points and 17 rebounds to give SM North its first state championship in school history and the first time in the title game since 1964.

Michael Weathers led all scorers with 26 points on the night. Avante Williams also had 20 points on the night.

SM North was off to a slow start when Wichita Southeast posted a 9-0 lead in the first couple of minutes on three three-point shots. The Indians came roaring back, though, to dominate the rest of the game. At the end of the first quarter, they still trailed 17-15, but had closed out that quarter on a 15-8 run after the opening deficit. The Indians never looked back and Wichita SE was never in contention after that point as the SM North defense and transition offense took over.

By halftime, SM North led 37-27 and by the end of the third quarter the Indians were completely in command of the game, leading 58-41. Wichita tried a desperation trapping defense in the closing minutes, but that just let North pull farther ahead as they were able to break the press and move the ball down the court.

SM North was able to hold Wichita SE star Jerrick Harding to 22 points. Harding had scored 81 points in the first two tournament games.

In televised post-game interviews, Michael Weathers said stopping Harding was a key to the win. It was Michael Weathers’ defense that dropped Harding from the more than 40 points he had been averaging to just 22. Michael called the win a “surreal moment.” Marcus said it was a “true blessing to be in the position” to win a championship. He said coach Steve Stitzer had preached to the team to be energized and go after rebounds. Stitzer said, “the kids made a lot of changes” in the short time he has been running the North program and it has been a lot of hard work on the part of his coaching staff.  He said North “wanted to shut their (Wichita’s) stars out of the game.”

This was the fifth final four appearance in SM North history. Wichita SE has made 15 final four appearances, played in seven title games and won four state championships. Lawrence has appeared 14 times with 11 title games and four state championships. Blue Valley Northwest has appeared in seven final fours, five title games and won twice.

All four of SM North’s losses this year came to teams from Missouri. The Indians were undefeated in Kansas.