2016 Year in Review: Indians’ basketball title was the crowning sports achievement of 2016 in NEJC

Athletic Director David Ewers hoisted the boys basketball title trophy to huge applause from the SM North faithful.
Athletic Director David Ewers hoisted the boys basketball title trophy to huge applause from the SM North faithful.

We’ve reached the end of the year and the end of the countdown. And the No. 1 sports milestone in northeast Johnson County was:

Drum roll, please…

Shawnee Mission North boys winning the school’s first boys basketball title in 63 years. When SM North won the title in 1953 it was the only school in the district.

The Indians went 21-4 overall and 18-0 against teams from Kansas last season as they won by 24 points in the championship game against Wichita Southeast.

In that final game, Michael Weathers scored 26 points while Marcus Weathers and Avante Williams each poured in 20.

The Indians spotted Southeast a 9-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game. But that deficit disappeared as quickly as it happened. SM North outscored Southeast 37-18 the rest of the half to take control of the game.

The title run was three years in the making. Coach Steve Stitzer took over the program when the Weathers twins were sophomores back in 2014. While those two were a huge focal point, the Indians couldn’t have done it without Williams, Will Schneider, Billy Conaway or Danny Bradley.

In addition to the hardware, the Indians received a special gift right before the season started. One of the best players in the NBA took notice. LeBron James sent a video message, a note and each player a pair of his new shoes. The school cleared it with KSHAA to make sure eligibility wouldn’t be compromised. The school will issue the shoes to the players and then sell them back to the players once their eligibility has been used up.

And that’s a wrap for 2016. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds. Happy New Year, everybody!