Southeast’s basketball offseason was only about 20 minutes old when first-year coach Joe Mitchell was asked if he was ready to get back to it.
Mitchell just smiled.
The future is indeed bright for the Golden Buffaloes, who took home the Class 6A boys basketball third-place trophy with a 77-66 victory over Shawnee Mission South on Saturday at Koch Arena.
Southeast (21-4) wasted no time, starting the game with a 13-0 run and never looking back.
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“I felt it was great, being able to get it all together for once. That loss we got humbled us a little bit, and maybe brought our ego down,” Mitchell said. “But we came out hitting shots, and we had players who were aggressive who weren’t aggressive.”
Southeast was able to push the tempo in a way it wasn’t able to in Friday’s semifinal loss to Topeka Washburn Rural, and the confidence showed.
“It wasn’t hard to refocus. It was one of those things where we felt like we should’ve won (on Friday), and it just didn’t happen,” sophomore guard Jackie Smith said.
Smith made sure his team didn’t have a repeat performance, pouring in six three-pointers on the way to a game-high 33 points.
Mitchell and Smith are cousins, so the coach knew exactly what he was getting when he took over at Southeast.
“I knew about Jackie since he was about 5 … and as well as he can score the ball, he’s very unselfish to me,” Mitchell said. “He’s just a sophomore. Sometimes I forget that.”
Michah Jacques scored 19, and Rone Smith chipped in with 16.
As for the offseason? Mitchell can’t wait.
“I’m very anxious. I didn’t get to put my main imprint over the summer,” Mitchell said. “This summer I can’t wait to do what I love.”
And the Golden Buffaloes will be aiming to bring home a bigger piece of hardware next year.
Derby girls take third
Derby coach Jodie Karsak decided to talk to media members before entering a victorious locker room for the final time, and it didn’t take long before the Panthers lost patience.
The chants came in quick succession: “LET HER GO!”, “WE WANT KARSAK!”, and finally, “KARSAK! KARSAK! KARSAK!”
It turned out the team had a special celebration planned for Karsak’s 100th victory, including balloons, party poppers and an impromptu ice water shower.
“I don’t know if any of us slept last night … It stung. We talked about how special this ride has been,” Karsak said. “That one game (against Topeka Washburn Rural) doesn’t define who we are. I’m super proud of how they responded.”
The Panthers (23-1) took out the frustration of failing to defend their Class 6A state title on Olathe Northwest, winning 71-40. Derby blitzed the Ravens 25-3 in the first quarter, and never looked back.
Senior center and McDonald’s All-American Kennedy Brown was dominant. She outscored the Ravens by herself in the first half, and wrapped up her high school career with 23 points, 16 rebounds and eight blocks.
“Today we just wanted to come out and play (like) us. We wanted to finish on a high note, and that’s finishing on a win,” Brown said. “We showed the way we played, nobody can really stop us if we play like that.”
Brown, who will play at Oregon State, said the regrouping process began late Friday night.
“Last night we were all texting each other, and it was all positive messages. Nobody was blaming each other,” Brown said. “We were together and that’s what we’ve been doing all year.”
Tor’e Alford finished with 12 points, on 4-of-5 three-point shooting.