RACINE — As Southern prepares to look back at its first century of basketball during Friday evening’s home opener, members of the 2017-18 team took time this week to reflect on the tradition that brought them to this place, and what they hope to pass on to the future Tornadoes.
Senior guard Dylan Smith explained that the team hopes to carry on the winning tradition established 100 years ago, while possibly beginning a new tradition for future teams to carry on.
“Go back to the Convo (district tournament), and make it a yearly goal for future teams to get there also,” asaid Smith of one of his goals for his final season in the purple and gold.
Sophomore guard Trey McNickle is a third generation basketball player at Racine Southern, joining his grandfather Carl Wolfe, father Terry McNickle and brother Taylor McNickle, in wearing the purple and gold on the court. In addition to playing, Wolfe was also a long time coach and is the current athletic director at Southern.
“It’s been a tradition of excellence and I want to follow in those footsteps,” said McNickle of being part of Southern’s winning tradition.
It is that tradition which McNickle hopes to show the young Tornadoes in the stands.
“We want to show them that Southern Basketball is about winning and hustle,” said McNickle.
For current Southern head coach Jeff Caldwell, now in his 11th season, it was that winning tradition that drew him back home. Caldwell played at Southern during his high school days, recalling some of the milestones and tournament victories of his playing days.
“Carrying on the tradition is one reason I came back,” said Caldwell of returning to coach where he once played.
“Being part of a strong basketball school, I wanted to be part of maintaining that strong tradition and the respect which comes along with it,” said Caldwell.
As the Southern community prepares to celebrate its first 100 years, for the current Tornadoes it is about winning now. Smith said when the team takes to the court on Friday, or for any other game, the focus is on playing that night’s game, striving toward a winning season and postseason success, as has been the goal for the past century.
“We continue to work every day to put a good product on the court which continues the winning tradition,” added Caldwell as his team prepared for their Wednesday evening practice.
The 100th anniversary celebration will take place following the junior varsity game on Friday evening at Southern High School.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.