Coming off their first West Central Conference championship since 1996, the Smith-Cotton Tigers are looking beyond just winning the WCC this season.
After practices, coach Brennan Scanlon reminds the players what they are striving for — a conference title and a district title.
“Every practice we’re going to keep a mindset that we want to win conference, we want to get a district title,” said junior guard Keoni Hale. “Every day in practice that’s our main mindset. Even when we’re in practice running drills we want to go 110 percent every time. We want to get everything right so we can be ready when it comes to districts.”
The Tigers haven’t won a district game since 2012 when they beat Washington 47-44, but they lost by 46 points to Rock Bridge in the semifinals that year.
S-C came close to making it to the semifinals last season, but lost by nine to Hickman.
Hickman lost to eventual Class 5 state champion Blue Springs South in the semifinals.
The Tigers only lose two seniors from last season — Jacob Bergman and Blake Allee Lightfoot.
Bergman was the main inside threat for the Tigers last season at 6-foot-7.
S-C will have 6-foot-6 senior Dante Scroggins, who can play inside and shoot from the outside.
Senior Chaz Satnan, who is listed at 6-foot-7, could be an answer inside.
Kendall Weymuth, who is listed at 6-foot-4, could also get increased playing time if the Tigers need size.
“They both improved a lot and they are working hard,” Scanlon said. “They look good so far.”
S-C will have several options at the guard spot with Chance Johnson, Hale, Gavin Jones and Zion Buckner.
Johnson, Jones and Buckner can all play point guard.
“They can all play the point, they can all play of the off-guard,” Scanlon said. “I think just time will tell as far as learning where to play them. It’s a good problem to have.”
Scanlon added that Buckner has the job for now because he “put in the time in the offseason. He’s in the gym every day working on his game.”
Johnson has been limited in practice because of a foot injury, but Scanlon said he expects him to be ready at the beginning of the season.
“I see Chance playing some of the point and some of the two,” he said. “He’s good with the ball in his hands and we’re going to try to get the ball in his his hands a little bit more from the point guard position. We’re also able to play him an Zion together.”
Hale said he’s ready for whoever plays point guard.
“I feel comfortable with each guy,” he said. “Each guys knows their game, each guy know what they are supposed to do.”
Hale has joined Scroggins as a threat to play above the rim. Both have been slamming the ball home during practice.
“I’ve got to calm them down everyday because they go at each other but they’ve both improved so much and it’s really unbelievable,” Scanlon said.