FORT WAYNE – South Side will look to defend its SAC championships with its traditionally tough defense.
The Archers have won the last two conference regular-season and tournament titles with their pressure defense.
And despite graduation losses that cost the team three starters from last year’s Class 4A state runner-up team, look for more of the same from the program that has become a staple at the top of the conference.
Seniors Brittni Clopton and Lakyn Gulley return for the Archers, who lost Ariana Simmons, De’Joyah Johnson and Lynnia Noel from the 24-4 team that won 20 straight SAC regular-season/non-conference tournament games.
Our girls have to understand that it is not about what people are trying to get from us, but what we are trying to get for ourselves, South Side coach Juanita Goodwell said. I don’t waste too much time on worrying about what others are going to do. We are going to look different, but I know we are going to be competitive. Our goal is to defend that championship and go for a third in a row.
South Side and Snider are known for pressure defense, while Concordia and Bishop Luers defend in the half-court. And it is no coincidence that those four teams are the contenders for the conference race each year.
The Archers (7-0 in the SAC) gave up 46 points per game last year, Snider (6-1) 46.4, Concordia (5-2) 42.9 and Bishop Luers (3-4) 52.7.
Bishop Luers has five starters coming back, Concordia and Snider have three as all three teams will again look to knock off South Side.
You have to give South Side their due, Luers coach Denny Renier said. Until they are dethroned, I would give them the favorite (role).
One thing the SAC does is prepare you for any type of game you want to play out of conference. It is a great mix of athletes and how they play and how they press you.
Playing in the conference has prepared SAC teams for the postseason with the results showing the payoff with Concordia winning 3A state titles in 2010 and 2012, Luers going to three straight 2A state championship games and winning the 2011 crown and the Archers’ postseason run last year.
The SAC is very tough, Concordia senior Courtney Smith said. There are a lot of teams and players out there that are out for blood. We know if we play them to the best of our ability, we know we will be well ready for the postseason like we have been in previous years.
The SAC is very diverse in what they do, so it like a lot of man-to-man or a lot of zone. It gives us a lot of variety to work with, and it is very challenging. We are ready for any kind of defense that is thrown at us.
The preparation is also there for the other four teams in the conference, Bishop Dwenger, Northrop, North Side and Wayne.
There are a lot of great coaches and a lot of great talent too, Northrop coach Andy Wyss said. Our girls get motivated to play every conference game. That’s great from a coach’s perspective. And a lot of the conference teams are in our sectional so we are familiar with them.