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Preps Plus

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Archers grew this season

It simply wasn't the same team that went to the Class 4A state finals a year ago, but that didn't stop the South Side girls basketball team from developing into another competitive team.

The Archers, who lost three starters from last year's team, battled Class 4A No. 4 Homestead in the finals of the South Side Sectional on Saturday before succumbing 79-70.

"I am proud of my girls," South Side coach Juanita Goodwell said. "We competed, and it is probably one of the best games we have played all year."

Names like Ariana Simmons, De'Joyah Johnson and Lynnia Noel were replaced by a little more unfamiliar ones like Lakesha Stephens, Maria Moore and Chelsea Rogers this year.

"We definitely had a lot of new faces and new additional talent, but we lost a lot of leadership," Goodwell said. "We had new people in those roles, and we had some growing to do."

The two holdovers were seniors Lakyn Gulley and Brittni Clopton.

Clopton had 29 points and 14 rebounds in her final game in an Archers' uniform.

"She didn't want to step into the leadership role, that's not just who she is; she just wants to play basketball," Goodwell said of Clopton. "She had to take the team on her back. Her leadership and what she did toward the end of the season to get this team together is what I am so impressed by. To finally step up and grow into that position will prepare her for the next level."

The Archers finished 14-7.

High School Sports Editor Greg Jones on prep sports.

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