It is a common misconception that South girls basketball coach Antwain Scales hears around Wichita all the time.
People assume that since South has won the last four Class 6A championships, the program is flourishing. The Titans will once again have great talent with Kyla Callins, Mauri Scales, and Trezure Jobe returning, but the program actually has one of the lowest numbers of participants in the City League.
Scales says he has a total of 24 girls in the program, which began Thursday night with a 58-28 victory over Southeast, to fill three teams — and that’s about average for what he’s had to work with in his six seasons.
“A lot of people don’t realize this, but I’ve never had to cut anybody,” Scales said. “We don’t have the luxury of some of these other schools like Heights and East. I don’t really know what it is or how to explain it, but we’ve never had that many numbers.”
But the low numbers haven’t affected South’s success.
Many are aware that South went a combined 96-4 during its last four years, but they aren’t aware that South has lost a total one junior-varsity game and three freshmen games since Scales arrived. That’s a credit to his assistant, Heidi Dreiling, who has been the team’s JV coach during that span.
This season will put that development to the test, as South will attempt to remain a championship contender following the graduation of Ericka Mattingly and Kendrian Elliott.
The signs on Thursday were encouraging. Callins, Mauri Scales, and Trezure Jobe scored 29 points and the newcomers combined for 29, led by nine points from sophomore Brittanie Brickhouse, eight from junior Loan-Anh Johnson, and seven from sophomore Haley Beard.
“We don’t split up during practice, so we have freshmen girls going up against varsity girls every day in practice,” Scales said. “We run our practices almost like a skills camp. We try to keep the teaching the same all the way from the top to the bottom.”
Scales says the philosophy of the program will not change because of graduations.
“Until it breaks, there’s no reason to fix it,” Scales said. “We’re still going to pride ourselves in defense and our kids know that once you step out on that court, then you’ve got to defend.”
South: Young 1, Jobe 14, Scales 6, Brickhouse 9, Johnson 8, Callins 9, Beard 7, Berry 4.
Southeast: Pollard 7, Tolson 2, Taylor 3, Daniels 4, Johnson 2, Adams 2, Rentas 2, Anderson 4, DeFazio 2.