|FORT OSAGE HIGH SCHOOL
|SMITHVILLE HIGH SCHOOL
|Fort Osage High School
|Smithville High School
There’s an old saying “The greatest wealth is health” and that couldn’t be more true for Smithville basketball this season and entering Tuesday night vs. Fort Osage, the Warriors were set to be the “healthiest” we’ve been all season with the return of Cody Simoncic and Caleb Donnell. With their return, both of whom I would rank in the upper echelon of defenders to walk thru Smithville High School during my time here, the gameplan was relatively simple; lets turn it up on the defensive end a bit. We love to play up-tempo, we love to create chaos and we love to use that chaos to try and score as many points as we can and those came together for us, forcing 27 turnovers, scoring 27 points in the first half and ending the game with 74 points and a win. Not bad for a group who is now on our 4th different starting lineup in 5 games, due to injuries/sickness, state title runs, etc. We also set a new school record for steals in a game with 19, the previous record was 18, set in the 2019-2020 season.
It wasn’t all pretty, the 2nd quarter especially, when we got a little too comfortable with the lead, we began taking what we call “me” shots which are shots that in a vacuum could be seen as “okay” or “average” shots, some were just bad, but certainly we stopped passing up good shots for great shots; paired with our first true press that we had faced this year, we lost the 2nd quarter by 7 and went into half with 10 point lead.
With the veteran leadership we have though, the conversation at halftime very simple, take care of the ball, be a lot more patient offensively like we were during the 1st quarter and we’ll all go home happy and that’s exactly what we did. Winning the third and fourth quarter and walking away with a 16 point win. Ten different players scored for us, Ryker Edwards leading us with 30, Andrew Miller also getting into double digits with 11. A very memorable play happened for us late in the 4th quarter, coming from Rhett Foster, who had admittedly struggled to pull the lid off of the basket for us, missing a few bunnies that he’ll have no problem with finishing later on this season, but in a double digit game, one of our senior leaders, laying out completely to go dive for a ball going out of bounds in a double digit game. We of course went nuts in excitement on the sideline about it but I can remember talking about it in the next time out, Rhett’s didn’t have the greatest statistical game of his life, 3 points and 3 rebounds, and I could see the frustration on his face but I said something along the lines of, “Rhett, you’re having a tremendous impact on this game. I know you’re not scoring right now but I bet you have one of the highest +/- on the team. Keep doing what you’re doing!” and I was so happy to get the stats back to see that he in fact had the 2nd highest +/- on the team. It’s a wonderful reminder of the fact that stats are only a small part of what we’re chasing here. When you combine the stats, the heart, the coaching, the toughness; that’s what is going to make this group special and they’re going to keep getting better, day by day.
Another highlight of the night for me was Dawson Strickland getting the first Varsity point of his career with a free throw in the 4th quarter. To miss his sophomore year to injury and to watch him fight his way back and overcome the obstacles that have been thrown his way, what a stud.
Finally, the JV set the tone to the night with their own wire to wire victory, moving to 2-0 on the season. That collection of kids is one of the more athletic and talented bunches that we’ve had come through. They are deep, they are experienced and they have a chance to put together a really fantastic season, they’re certainly off to a great start with back to back double digit victories. You’ll want to show up early to watch this group. They continue to be very impressive.
One final shoutout to our C team this week who depsite injuries and sickness, found a way to beat Park Hill at home! GREAT win for that team. Very resilient group! Super proud of that group for continuing to show up every day with a great attitude and work at getting better. Starting to pay off for them.
Warriors are back in action on Friday as we travel back up to Savannah, this time in a non-conference regular season game!