Basketball is Back!

Patriots host Parkway West in first home game tonight.

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Basketball is Back!

Center Isaiah Esker tries to get away from a Kirkwood defender during a game last season.

Center Isaiah Esker tries to get away from a Kirkwood defender during a game last season.

2019 yearbook photo

Center Isaiah Esker tries to get away from a Kirkwood defender during a game last season.

2019 yearbook photo

2019 yearbook photo

Center Isaiah Esker tries to get away from a Kirkwood defender during a game last season.

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While the weather outside is getting colder, excitement for winter sports at South is heating up. The hype surrounding the basketball team is no exception, with the heat of the season kicking off with a home game vs Parkway West tonight. 

“After opening the football season with a loss to West this year, we want to start the season with a big home win over our big rival, West,” said senior guard Jack Crayton. 

The Patriots opened this season Nov. 26 with a 73-67 victory over Parkway North. Senior point guard Adam Sommer scored 33 points in that game, and senior center Isaiah Esker broke the Patriot single-game block record with 9 total.

Last year, the Patriots played a tough schedule, going 11-17 before making a run in the playoffs, but losing the District Championship to Eureka. 

“I think we can flip our record from last year, and maybe even better. Last year we played the hardest schedule since I have been coaching, so that hurt the win/loss column, but it was good for us down the stretch and in playoff time,” said varsity head coach Matt Roach. 

This season the team looks to use its combination of dynamic guards and solid big men to propel them to the district final.

“Adam Sommer and Isaiah Esker are coming back and with them, they bring about 65% of the scoring from last year’s team.  Both guys are better than they were the year before. We have a lot of new guys who have a chance to really contribute for us as well,” Roach said. 

The dynamic duo of Sommer and Esker was key for the Patriots last season, and their chemistry on the court should be big for South this year as they make a push to the district championship.

“Out of my previous three years on varsity I’ve never won a district title,” Sommer said. “Districts this year will be on our home court, and it’s a perfect opportunity to take the title.”

Sommer said strengths for this year’s team is its height, shooting ability and all-around team camaraderie. He said he expects Ladue, Hazelwood Central and Webster to be tough competition this season.

Districts aren’t until the first week of March, and this gives the Patriots a lot of time to practice playing together and improve their game before the playoffs. 

Our goals are to get better each day and “win” each day and if we do that we will be competitive against anyone on our schedule,” said Coach Roach. 

A key component of success every year is the turnout of the Patriot Posse, and the team expects a big turnout this year.

Senior center Nick Powell just joined the Patriots this year, along with seniors Luke Davis and Joey Kritchell. Powell said he’s pumped to play his first home varsity game in front of the Posse.

“I look forward to seeing all of the energy in the stands and the rowdy fans,” Powell said.