GO COUGARS! SM Northwest community sends girls basketball team off to Wichita for state tournament

A sea of black and orange pom poms waved about as the Shawnee Mission Northwest Girls varsity basketball team left campus this morning for the first round of the state 6A basketball tournament.

With a police and fire escort, the SM Northwest Lady Cougars headed off to the Wichita for the tournament. SM Northwest’s Lady Cougars (18-4) defeated the Olathe Northwest 48-27 on Friday night and secured a spot at state, making them the only Shawnee Mission school to send a boys or girls team to the tournament this year. This afternoon, the team faces the Derby High School — who defeated the girls in the first round of state last year — at 4:45 p.m. at Wichita State University.

“We’re gonna play, we’re gonna play hard and we’re gonna go out there and compete,” SM Northwest Athletic Director Angelo Giacalone said.

Giacalone said the team has had a bullseye on their back for much of the season by starting out 14-0 and performing well at the Mid America Classic hosted by McPherson High School and the McPherson Optimist Club. Teams in the Sunflower League were 7-2 in the tournament, and the two losses — one by Olathe South and one by Shawnee Mission South — were to SM Northwest, Giacalone said.

Additionally, Giacalone said the girls feel good heading into the tournament as they are getting a rematch against Derby. From conversations with Coach Tyler Stewart, Giancole said the goal is to play smart and hard, have fun and relish in the journey that is going to a state tournament.

“I bleed black and orange,” Giacalone said. “I want Shawnee Mission Northwest at the championship, no doubt about it, but you have to win that first game.”

If SM Northwest wins, the team will move onto the second round of the tournament and face either the Olathe South High School team or the Liberal High school team. Shawnee Mission School District Board member Jamie Borgman attended the send-off and shared a video of it on Twitter, found below: