Knights advance to Semi-state

Southwood senior Matt Nose drives to the basket during the morning semifinal of Saturday’s Class A Regional at Frankfort High School. Photo by Josh Sigler

By Josh Sigler

Southwood’s boys basketball team is heading to the semistate after a dominant performance in Saturday’s Class A Frankfort Regional.

The Class A No. 3-ranked Knights made it look easy, thrashing North Vermillion 80-42 in the morning semifinal before returning later that night to dispatch Seton Catholic 92-57 to claim the program’s first regional title since 2010.

Coach John Burrus showered praise upon his team following the dominant regional performance.

“This one is really special because these guys have been all the way through the program,” Burrus said. “The other (regional championship) was incredible. Those guys were so good and we beat some good teams. This is different from the standpoint of we’ve built for this year from the ground up. We started with 13 wins (in the 2014-15 season), and then these guys have put together 20-win seasons three straight years. Now we’re sitting with 24 wins, a school record. This is an incredible group. I’m so happy for them. What a great group to coach.”

The Knights (24-3) pounced on North Vermillion (15-14) and delivered an early knockout punch, building a 22-2 lead by the end of the first quarter. Southwood upped its lead to 44-15 by intermission, and coasted to an easy victory, with first unit watching from the sidelines for most of the fourth quarter.

Southwood picked up right where it left off in the championship game against Seton Catholic (9-19), using full-court pressure to build a 23-12 lead by the end of the first period, then upping that lead to 44-26 by halftime.

The Knights again coasted to victory in the second half, allowing the role players to log major minutes down the stretch.

“We’re coming off playing last year’s regional against Frankton (the eventual Class 2A state champion),” Burrus said. “We were prepared for this. We’ve seen really good teams. These teams we played (Saturday) are more here because of where they came from. They kind of ran into a buzz saw. We came out of a tough sectional with Lafayette Central Catholic. And, when we got through them, we knew we could get down the road a ways. Now, we’re going to the semistate and are in the final four. This is great. This is the kind of thing kids dream about.”

Southwood’s seniors helped lead the charge in the regional round. Carson Blair scored 18 points and added four assists in the semifinal win, while Matt Nose added 15 points, eight rebounds and five assist and Peyton Trexler finished with 14 points and three assists.

Trexler poured in a game-high 25 points in the championship game and pulled down eight boards to lead the Knights.
Nose added 20 points, and Blair finished with 16 points, four rebounds and four assists.

“They’re all different, but they’re all together,” Burrus said of his seniors. “All those pieces they bring all complement each other. They’re just really hard to defend. You get one guy stopped and Matt Nose goes off. You get (junior) Dallas Holmes going, and of course Blair is always there. Trexler, his improvement has been incredible this year. He was really good last year. But, this year he is one of the best guards I’ve seen in Indiana.

“At this level, you’re going to be really hard pressed to find guards better than Peyton Trexler and Carson Blair together,” Burrus continued. “Those guys together are just difficult in a lot of ways. When they’re running, they’re good. They’re good around the basket. Blair is very unselfish. Trexler is kind of a power guard. He plays where he can get inside and create things. Then Blair stretches the defense. It’s just really difficult to defend.”

Holmes was outstanding in his own right Saturday, finishing with a pair of double-doubles. He poured in 23 points to go with 10 rebounds and four blocks in the semifinal before returning to finish with 18 points and 16 rebounds in the championship round.

Southwood advances to the semistate round, where it will face No. 1-ranked Fort Wayne Blackhawk (26-2) at Huntington North High School Saturday at 4 p.m. The winner of that game will represent the Class A North in the state finals on March 24.

“We’re going to give them a little time off,” Burrus said of his squad. “This time of year you play two games on Saturday and it all hits at once. We’ll give them Monday off, then come back and have four good days. We’ll go to the site to practice. There will be a lot of excitement at school. But, the main thing is to try to keep things as normal as possible in your preparation. The game is much more important at this point than what we can do this week. We want to keep everybody healthy. We want to keep everybody rolling, but we’re not going to come in and come up with some brand new thing to do. It’s business as usual, but the stakes just get a little higher.”

Posted on 2018 Mar 13