Three years ago, Steven Stitzer walked through the doors of SM North’s Brick House during his interview with Principal Richard Kramer for the school’s boys basketball coaching job and took a look around. He envisioned the gym packed with fans cheering on a high-energy group of players intent on taking the program to a new level.
“I said, ‘We can change basketball here,'” Stitzer recalled. “And we did.”
There’s no debating that. Before a crowd of hundreds of SM North students, parents and faculty packed into the Brick House stands Wednesday, Stitzer and his team took a well-deserved moment to celebrate the school’s first-ever state basketball title, secured a week and a half ago against Wichita Southeast.
The Indians’ title run this year was propelled by the ever-better play of senior twins Michael and Marcus Weathers, who were sophomores when Stitzer took over the program. At Wednesday’s assembly, SM North Athletic Director David Ewers noted that the brothers finished their careers at the school as the top-two scorers in SM North history, with Michael finishing just ahead of Marcus. (At one point Marcus swiped the microphone to note that “I’m actually better than him.”) Both Weathers brothers earned 1st Team All-Sunflower League recognition, and made the Wichita Eagle’s 6A All-State team. They announced this week that they have committed to play D1 ball for Miami University of Ohio next year.
But the Weathers brothers didn’t do it alone. Stepped-up play from teammates like Avante Williams, an All-Sunflower League honorable mention, Brendon Henderson, Danny Bradley and Will Schneider helped not only get the team back into the state tourney, but also put them through to the championship.
Now, SM North leaders are hoping the act of hanging a new title banner from the rafters will become a habit.
“Get used to [the feeling of winning],” Ewers told the students. “There are more titles coming.”