Shawnee Mission South will be playing for its first Ralph Miller Classic title after dominating Soldan (St. Louis) on Friday, with a 61-36 win in the semifinals.
The Raiders raced out to a 13-2 first-quarter lead and never looked back.
Soldan struggled on offense from the opening tip and didn’t reach double digits until just two minutes remained in the first half.
SMS (6-5) head coach Brett McFall didn’t envision his squad in the championship game after a dismal 0-5 start.
The Raiders graduated all five starters off last year’s squad and needed to get some experience under their belts.
“After Christmas we were sitting 0-5 and had never been in that situation. We made some changes and we are now pointing in the right direction,” McFall said. “This here is the most complete 32 minutes of basketball we have played.”
Midway through the third, Raid-
er senior Andrew Brewer threw down a vicious two-handed slam to give SMS a 33-15 lead before Soldan went on an 8-0 run to pull within 12.
Larry Mack and Dylan Martin
both hit 3-pointers for the Tigers during the run, but it was short lived.
SMS answered back with a 14-6 run of its own and outscored the Tigers 24-13 in the fourth quarter.
“I am very proud of these kids, they have won six-straight games. I knew it would take a little time because this was basically last year’s JV team. They are beginning to piece it together,” McFall said.
The Raiders had a balanced scoring attack, led by Blake Potthoff with 18 points, followed by Erik Smith with 13. Brewer had 8 in the contest.
Soldan was led by Phil March and Martin, who scored 7 points apiece.
The Tigers will take on Emporia today at 5:15 pm in the third-place game, while SMS will play Andover Central at 7 pm for the title.