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2013-14 basketball preview: Wichita South

Published Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. | Last updated Dec. 2 at 10:06 a.m.

SCHEDULE

December — 6, Southeast; 10 at Kapaun; 13, at Carroll; 17, at Northwest; 19, West.

January — 2-4, TBA at Koch Arena; 7, at North; 10, Heights; 14, at East; 21, at Southeast (G); 23-25, at Topeka tournament (B); 28, at Southeast (B); 30-Feb. 1, at Topeka tournament (G).

February — 4, Kapaun; 7, Carroll; 11, Northwest; 14, at West; 18, North; 21, Heights; 25, East.

BOYS

Coach: Chuck Gunter, first season

Last season: 2-19

Top players

Jordan Moore, 6-6, sr., F

Shelby Harris, 6-0, sr., G

Hunter Rogers, 6-8, sr., F

Zach Brown, 6-0, sr., G

Kaden Griffin, 6-2, jr., G

The struggles for the South boys continued in 2012-13 with two wins; the Titans are winners of 15 games in the past five seasons.

Gunter, South’s eighth coach in nine seasons, plans to change that, using the same philosophy he used as an AAU coach.

“I’ll be an intense coach, hard on them about their grades,” he said. “That won’t change. I’ll be about team chemistry, knowing their roles, building a family environment where they’ll learn how to fight for each other. We’ll win and lose as a team.”

The Titans have a strong inside-out game, with Moore (15 points, 12 rebounds) and Rogers stabilizing the inside.

“Jordan has a chance to be one of the state’s top post players. He’s pretty strong,” Gunter said. “He has real good hands. He’s pretty consistent and effective in the post.… Hunter is a long, lanky athlete, and he’s developed a face-up game. He’s able to knock down the mid-range shot.”

As for South’s guards, Brown and Harris are solid shooters, and then the Titans add Gunter’s sons, sophomores Jeremiah Hudspeth and Dawson Gunter, along with T.J. Turner and junior Darren Lee, a transfer from Arkansas.

South will use the guards to run an uptempo offense, but Chuck Gunter knows it will take time.

“We are a team of mysteries right now,” he said. “One of our strengths is all our guards are pretty good shooters. We have some slashers, we have some pretty good post play. We have decent all-around strength, but we need to find out what our biggest strength is.”

GIRLS

Coach: Antwain Scales, third season

Last season: 24-1, won 6A title

Top players

Kendrian Elliott, 6-3, so., F

Eledria Franklin, 5-6, sr., G

Ericka Mattingly, 5-7, so., G

Madison Northcutt, 6-0, sr., F

Kirea Rogers, 6-0, jr., F

South’s goal for the season certainly isn’t unexpected: repeat as the 6A champ.

“Last year we surprised everybody and this year, hopefully we show that we truly belong,” Scales said. “Not that we’re one-hit wonders.

“My focus is for us to not get the big head and think we’re better than we are. The goal, though, is to try to get the girls to college, and that comes from hard work and dedication.”

Scales expects an improved maturity, and he’s got the talent to go with it. South returns its starting lineup, including Elliott, an All-Metro selection who is dominant in the lane.

“It starts and ends with her,” Scales said. “She’s our natural leader. A lot of our stuff goes through her.”

The offense begins with Mattingly at the point. While she is a three-point threat, it’s her ability to wreak havoc on defense and run Scales’ offense well.

Don’t count on a change in the Titans’ offense, a slow, methodical system that Scales describes as one that values possessions.

But South has plenty of offensive options, including Franklin, whose improved perimeter shooting should open up the offense even more inside for Elliott, Rogers and Northcutt.

The versatility of Rogers and Northcutt is critical because they can do anything South needs. Northcutt is tough and finds the rebounds, and when Rogers is consistent, she could be one of the area’s best.

“Some games she can go out and dominate,” Scales said. “At state, she was the turning point (when she had two blocked shots in the final 45 seconds). Then you get her against West High, and she gets six points and doesn’t show up.

“She’s probably my best athlete, all around. She can shoot it, too. It’s what Kirea shows up. We don’t take plays off, games off, days off.”