The South boys locker room was a joyous place Tuesday night. And why not?
The Titans had won 72-64 at North to win their fourth straight and improve to 4-3.
Hitting four wins seven games into the season is a milestone — South hasn’t won more than four games in a season since 2007-08 when it was 15-7 — but there’s plenty of season left.
“It’s part of growing,” South first-year coach Chuck Gunter said. “Hopefully there will be many more to come.… I wish we were undefeated like East High. I have to take it for what it is. If they ain’t learning and getting better, I ain’t doing my job.”
But the winning is sweet, especially for senior Jordan Moore. In the previous three seasons, South won 10 games combined.
“It feels really good to have a positive record for the first time since I’ve been here,” said Moore, who had 14 points, 11 rebounds and three steals. “We talk more, we’re closer as a team. We’re like one big family.”
South started the game in poor fashion, though, committing four turnovers in the game’s first 2:30 as North cruised to an 11-2 lead.
After two more turnovers, the Titans got under control.
“I had to call timeouts, make some adjustments,” Gunter said. “Told them to relax. A lot of these kids have never been in this type of atmosphere. They just have to learn patience.”
South listened and went on a 24-7 run, sparked by Kaden Griffin, who scored nine of his team-high 20 points during the run that spanned more than eight minutes of the first half.
Moore was a force inside, altering shots and rebounding.
“He held down the post really good,” Gunter said. “He makes a big difference. He draws a lot of double teams and opens it up for our shooters.”
The Titans dominated the inside with Moore, outrebounding North 29-17.
“They killed us on the boards,” North coach Gary Squires said. “Jordan Moore, we made him look like an All-American. He took it to every one of our big men. We had no answer for him. We couldn’t stop him.”
North scored the final six points of the first half and only trailed 26-24 at the break.
North senior Sean Bernard converted a three-point play at the 6:44 mark of the third quarter to get his team within 28-27. Bernard finished with 15 points, one of three North players in double figures. Tarius Williams added a game-high 21 points, while Gage Loy had 18.
But South scored eight unanswered to pull away again. The Titans shot 25 of 43 from the field and 19 of 30 from the free-throw line. Daran Lee had 13 points, while Zach Brown added 12.
“Our defense was terrible,” Squires said. “We can’t let a team come into our house and score 72 points. We can’t let them do that. That’s not defense at all.”