There were only five Shawnee Mission South basketball players on the floor at any given time of Friday’s 58-39 romp at Mill Valley.
But with the Raiders’ blinding array of size, speed and depth — not to mention fluorescent shoes — it just didn’t seem that way.
South, the No. 4 team in The Star’s big-class poll, moved to 4-0 on the season with frenetic defense and balanced offense.
Six different players scored in the first quarter, and the Raiders’ pressing defense couldn’t even be stopped by three Mill Valley timeouts.
“It’s fun just because we’re so quick. We can go up and down. Part of it is because coach runs us a lot, so we’re in shape to do it, and we’ve got depth too,” South senior Josh Pedersen said. “We try to do that every game in the first quarter, set the tone.”
The 6-foot-8 Pedersen rose to the offensive forefront, finishing with 19 points and four rebounds.
Pedersen’s offensive highlight came in the third quarter, when he turned an alley-oop from Dainan Swoope into a nasty dunk and three-point play. It was part of a 15-2 run that put the game out of reach.
Pedersen came to South with a feathery touch. The fact that he’s 7 inches taller now than when he arrived means coach Brett McFall can utilize Pedersen wherever he pleases.
“He’s a tough match-up,” McCall said with a smile. “He can score on the block because he’s long. He can take you on the perimeter and make moves, and he shoots the trey really well.”
Swoope finished with 11 points, and Devin Newsome scored nine.
Mill Valley, 3-1, was led by 11 points from Nathan Stacy and seven each from Kyle Kain and Brett Hamilton.
The Jaguars had their moments, but they were fighting uphill after the opening two minutes.
“We played hard, there’s no doubt about it. That’s a constant in our program. We have to learn how to play right. … We didn’t do enough little things early and dug ourselves a hole,” Mill Valley coach Justin Bogart said. “And against a team like South, you need a really big shovel or a big ladder to pull yourself out of that.”
South induced chaos often against Mill Valley on Friday, and McFall is a fan of chaos when his team is playing defense.
“Our goal is to make every pass an adventure. That’s one thing we’ve done a good job at,” McFall said. “We’re still not where we want to be, but we’ve done a good job of taking steps in the right direction.”
So far, so good.