American Implement Western Kansas Team of the Week: South Gray boys achieve history, Deges close to 1,000 career points, key ranked game Friday


Historically, Montezuma-South Gray coach Mark Applegate picked up career win No. 732 on Tuesday. He moved past Hall of Famer John Locke’s 731. Applegate and Hill City coach Keith Riley (733 wins) are now first and second in state history among primarily Kansas boys’ basketball coaches.

For this season, the victory bumped SG to 8-0 and continued the Rebels’ incredible offensive efficiency behind senior Brady Deges and Brent Penner. South Gray is ranked No. 1 in Class 1A, Division I by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association. The Rebels are the defending 1A-I runner-up to Olpe. SG has started at least 7-0 each of the past five winters.

This season, the Rebels are one of 21 undefeated boys’ squads left, per KSHSAA records. In its classification, South Gray joins Macksville, Madison, Osborne and Norwich with perfect marks. This Friday, the Rebels have a key Southern Plains Iroquois matchup versus Bucklin, ranked tenth in Class 1A, Division II. The Red Aces are 6-3. Since 2006, South Gray has won 17 straight versus Bucklin.

Since the start of 2020-21, South Gray is a collective 32-1, the best winning percentage among all Kansas boys’ basketball teams.

Deges and Bucklin senior standout Scott Price are both closing in on 1,000 career points. Price is at 933, and Deges stands at 914, per MaxPreps and Digital Scout archives. Both Deges and Price earned selection to the eight-man all-star games at the football coaches’ voting last weekend. Deges holds the school record for most treys in a game with 10.

South Gray graduated Aaron Skidmore and post Carter Riley, who were first team all-state and honorable mention all-state selections, respectively. Deges was a second team (top-10) selection. Still, South Gray continually reloads. The Rebels have won 90 percent of its games since ’05-06.

Out of 117 Kansas teams from all classes that report statistics to MaxPreps, South Gray ranks first in scoring offense by a sizable margin at 71.6 points per game. Northern Valley and Topeka West are second and third with 67.7 and 67.4 points a contest.

South Gray is also first in 3-pointers made at 71, Bucklin second at 70. South Gray is staggeringly efficient at not turning the ball over. The Rebels have turnovers on just 9.4 percent of possessions.

Bucklin has turnovers on 21.7 percent of possessions, which is more in line for high school teams. For Bucklin, Price leads with 19.3 points per game, sophomore Andrew Bowman is at 12.6 points a contest, and senior Nathan Bowman averages 12 points a game. Bucklin is 6-3 with losses to 3A Hoisington, 2A Ellis and non-KSHSAA Wichita Homeschool.

This season, South Gray has averaged 49 percent from the field, according to Digital Scout logs and SIK research. The Rebels have shot 38.8 percent from 3-point range and taken 42 percent of its shots from beyond the arc. SG is delivering 1.28 points per possession, a highly elite number.

As well, South Gray collects 36 percent of available offensive rebounds, and averages 71 percent on free throws. The Rebels have noticeably improved on foul shooting from last season. After eight games in ’20-21, SG had turnovers on 15.5 percent of possessions and delivered 1.19 points per possession.

This winter, South Gray has wins against Satanta (92-54), twice versus Minneola (86-52 and 61-40), Southwestern Heights (62-53), Meade (52-46), Ingalls (74-16), Sublette (77-56) and Stanton County (69-37). In the season opener, Deges delivered 27 points, including 7 of 10 on 3-pointers. He finished with 31 in the Stanton County victory.

Minneola has allowed 48.1 points a game when not facing South Gray. Southwestern Heights has allowed 53.9 points per contest versus non-SG.

Satanta is 5-3, Minneola stands at 5-4, Southwestern Heights is 6-3, and Meade is 5-3. Since the start of last winter, Meade is 24-3 against non-South Gray teams and 0-5 against the Rebels.

Last season, Deges delivered 17.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and three assists a game. Penner finished with 10.1 points and 5.5 rebounds, and Carter Jantz had 9.5 points per game. Deges and Penner are both seniors, Jantz a junior.

This season, Deges is up to 20.6 points, 3,1 assists and 2.3 rebounds a game. He has already made 36 treys for 4.5 per contest. He ranks in the top-15 in Kansas in scoring. Penner has 19.4 points and 7.5 rebounds a contest. Jantz has delivered 4.6 points, 3.6 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game.

Joey Dyck has 7.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Jorge Lupercio has 8.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists a contest. Both have stepped up from 2020-21. Both had extremely limited to no varsity time last season.

South Gray had not had a game with more than eight turnovers all winter, a remarkable number. SG is known for taking more treys than its opponents. The Rebels have shot 75 more treys than its opponents. Last year, the Rebels had 142 more treys than opponents.

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