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Girls prep hoops preseason countdown: #2 SOUTH SIDE ARCHERS

South Side's Jaci Jones reads the Snider defense during a December 26, 2016 SAC Holiday Tournament game at Wayne High School. (Photo by Dan Vance of The News-Sentinel)
South Side's Taniece Chapman (right) prepares to fight for position on a rebound attempt during a December 26, 2016 SAC Holiday Tournament game at Wayne High School. (Photo by Dan Vance of The News-Sentinel)

OUTLOOK

With a vast amount of size, talent and experience returning, Coach Juanita Goodwell’s South Side Archers enter the season looking like one of the premier teams in the area.

Is South Side the team that will knock Homestead off of its perch?

“This season we are going to rely heavily on senior leadership,” Goodwell said. “We’ve been looking to build a strong senior class with this group. We added (Wayne transfer) Shamari Tyson, and she is doing her work to be part of that chemistry.”

FRONTCOURT

Taniece Chapman has been a double-double machine in her career with the Archers. The 5-foot-11 senior has averaged double digits in points and rebounds each of her first three prep seasons. Last year, Chapman averaged 11.1 points and 10.4 rebounds a contest.

“Taniece has worked to improve,” Goodwell said. “She is looking to being able to convert more free throws and be more successful around the basket.”

Chapman is a post but can float to the perimeter when needed, adding to her versatility.

Another standout senior is Mikeba Jones (10 ppg, 4.6 rpg). While tall at 5-10, Jones is a power guard/forward who can excel in the paint and on the outside. Goodwell expects to use Jones in a variety of roles on the court.

Adding to the size up front is 5-11 sophomore Alaya Chapman (3 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and freshman center Lamayia Woodson. While young, both are capable of contributing significantly for the Archers.

The amount of size that South can put on the floor is something Goodwell hasn’t had in her nine seasons as head coach.

BACKCOURT

The big story for the Archers is Tyson. Following her standout sophomore season at Wayne, Tyson transferred to South Side, but was not signed off on to play varsity her junior year. One game into the junior varsity season, Tyson tore her ACL.

Now healthy and eligible for varsity competition, Tyson is ready.

“Shamari is just wanting to play,” Goodwell said. “She is a leader on the court at whatever position we put her at.”

Tyson can play the point guard spot and also can be a two guard. Sophomore Jaci Jones (9.4 ppg, 2 spg) saw time at the point last year and will also see time there.

Goodwell also did not discount the possibility of Chapman running the point at times.

Another standout is another Shamari — Shamari Jackson. The shooting guard averaged 6.7 points a season ago.

Overall, South Side has a wealth of talented guards that can play multiple positions. That has the potential to make the Archers extremely difficult to game plan for due to the versatility of its roster.

THE BIG QUESTION: Can South Side stay healthy?

The Archers have some big-time potential, but must stay healthy in order to achieve those goals. Tyson is coming off the major injury and told The News-Sentinel that she has learned to play differently to avoid the possibility of suffering another injury. An aggressive player before the injury when at Wayne, will Tyson mix up what she does so well?

Goodwell also mentioned that chemistry will play a big part in this season.

“Shamari is coming in taking minutes, taking somebody’s spot,” Goodwell said. “We want that (transition) to be as comfortable as possible (for the team).”

Significant work together over the summer has Goodwell feeling good in that regard.

BIG GAME TO WATCH: January 5 vs. Homestead

Homestead has won eight straight in the series by 29 points per game, including a 73-34 victory last year to open sectional play.

These two teams may already have played in the SAC Holiday Tournament at this point, but this matchup should be juicy however many times these two squads collide.

This game is just one of a series of tough games for South Side in the month of January. In a six-game stretch over three weeks, the Archers will play the likes of Northridge (28-2 last season), Homestead (28-2), Carmel (23-4), Concordia (21-5), Penn (20-5) and Carroll (18-7).

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