Shawnee Mission North inducted a member of its 1943 and 1944 state championship basketball team, Bud Shepherd, into the school’s athletic hall of fame at halftime of Friday’s game against Olathe East.
The Indians then went out and paid a fitting tribute to Shepherd by beating Olathe East 63-61 the old-fashioned way – without the benefit of a three-pointer.
SM North, 10-4, missed all seven of its three-point attempts on Friday. Then again, as good as it is at attacking the rim, SM North didn’t need any three-point shots to be effective.
“I’ve been telling them all along that we don’t need those to be able to win a game,” SM North coach Steve Stitzer said. “As long as we’re going to the basket, there’s a pretty good chance we’re going to get fouled and either shoot free throws or make a layup.”
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Olathe East, 9-5, countered the Indians’ athleticism with size.
The Hawks’ Cedric Roland, who had 18 points, and Josiah Talbert, who scored eight, gobbled up offensive rebounds by the fistful.
SM North countered with brothers Michael Weathers, who had 25 points, and Marcus Weathers, who scored 16. They took turns driving to the rim.
The two teams went into halftime tied at 27. The game featured nine ties and 12 lead changes, all in the second half.
The scoreboard at SM North – which has yellow numbers when the score is tied and red and green numbers when it isn’t – looked like a traffic light gone berserk.
SM North took the lead for good when Marcus Weathers drilled a pair of free throws with 1:48 to play.
The Hawks had two prime chances to tie the game in the final minute. Roland missed couldn’t complete a three-point play that would’ve tied the game with 55 seconds to go. Talbert got a good look at a game-tying three-pointer with 15 seconds left, but the shot rimmed out.
“We were very poor defending the rim, I will guarantee you that. We’re a young team,” Olathe East coach Jim Super said. “Teams have to learn how to defend against quick guys who can get to the rim.”
The three-point arc isn’t going the way of the milkman anytime soon. It’s here to stay. Just don’t expect SM North to fall under its influence anytime soon.
“During practices we learned that three-pointers aren’t our best way to beat teams. Our guard play relies on mostly driving,” Michael Weathers said. “That gets their guards tired, and that gets us going.”