There are a lot of good things that came out of the South girls’ 51-20 win over Heights on Friday night.
South coach Antwain Scales didn’t want to dwell on them.
Such is the pursuit of back-to-back Class 6A basketball titles.
“We’re still not satisfied,” Scales said. “A lot of miscues tonight that can’t happen when you’re preparing for state ... we got a lead early and then we got comfortable. They took their foot off the gas when they got the lead early and that’s where an upset happens.”
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South (18-1, 14-1 City League) almost blanked the Falcons in the first quarter, save only for a pair of free throws from Analyss Bennally that cut the Titans’ lead to 12-2 with 13.9 seconds left.
“(South) is a talented team,” Heights coach Kip Pulliam said. “They’re only gonna let you get one shot because they rebound so well and they really work the ball around on offense. You have to pick your poison. Do you want to try to shut down the paint or let someone beat you from the outside?”
Heights (10-8, 9-5) chose to see if South could beat it from the outside early, double and triple-teaming Titans center Kendrian Elliott, the team’s leading scorer at 13.3 points.
South point guard Eledria Franklin hit a three and another long jumper for South’s first two points, and when Heights totally backed off South reserve Patriece Dodson — sinking all five players into the post to guard Elliott – she canned the first of three three-pointers for a 12-0 lead.
“They underestimated (Dodson) when they backed off and she made them pay,” Elliott said. “We knew they were going to try and double or triple me because I played pretty well the first time against them.
“One thing we can improve on, from tonight, is slowing our possessions down a little bit. Take our time and get the best shot.”
The Falcons held Elliott scoreless in the first quarter, but she still impacted the game with two blocks and six rebounds. The rest of the game, creating offense wasn’t a problem for the 6-foot-3 sophomore who already has an offer from Wichita State — she finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
“Having her in the post is so big for us because we all have so much confidence in what she can do,” Franklin said.
South wasn’t perfect — the Titans missed several easy lay-ins.
“Miscues, like I was talking about,” Scales said. “We did some uncharacteristic things.”
Franklin finished with 11 points. Benally led Heights with 10 points.
Heights: Lowe 2, Benally 10, Owen 1, Cardona 3, McPherson 3, Bruce 1.
South: Elliott 16, Franklin 11, Mattingly 2, Rogers 6, Northcutt 3, Dodson 9, James 2, Callins 2.
South's Kendrian Elliott and Eledria Franklin