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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

South Young and Eager for Season Opener

Coach Augsperger is hoping that fresh faces will bring a change of fortune for the Panthers. “We are coming off the worst three year stretch in almost thirty years of TVS basketball and I believe we have the opportunity to come roaring back from that. The biggest question mark that we have is can we become the tough, hard nosed defending and rebounding team that we need to be.” His team returns 3 players with varsity experience from last season. Johnny Meyers and Michael Green, both post players are back, as well as Cole Cottigim – who was a 6th man off the bench last season.

Coach Augsperger expects Meyers to contend for player of the league honors – he had 15 points and over 8 rebounds a game last season. “But he is an outstanding driver who can score from inside and out. And Michael Greene did well for us as a freshman last year, He had 8 points a game and 7 rebounds. Michael is important for us because he provides us with a talented offensive inside presence. He has an outstanding touch from 17-18' feet and in. Rounding out our returners is Cole Cottingim. He was our sixth man last year and is easily the best outside shooter we have in the program. He was bothered by returning from a knee injury last year but is healthy and we have high hopes he can fill it up.”

Now he was asked aboutthe new faces, as the varsity squad will be dressing 10 players - “Troy Innis, 5'9" sophomore point guard. He had a good summer and pre-season, he is working on becoming ready to run the show on the varsity level. Also moving up from the JV team will be 5'10" senior hustler Nick Guehring. Nick will bring intensity for us off the bench. “ Coach Augsperger will be looking for Michael Boggs to help with the post. “He has good basketball smarts and is a great all around athlete.”

A pair of freshmen guards will see varsity playing time this year - Anthony Augsperger and Wes Cole. “They led their 8th grade team to the CCC championship and are skilled young players who have the toughness necessary to play on the varsity team young.” Finally Jesse Wysong and Seth Baker will split time between JV and Varsity.

When asked about the team overall, coach Augsperger responded, “We have a lot of question marks because we are so young and so inexperienced. Myers and Green could be an outstanding combination of bigs on our level. Certainly, if they continue to improve and jell a little better together, they could be the best, most athletic inside tandem we've had in a long, long time. We need Cole Cottingim to shoot like he can and thus far in pre-season practices and scrimmages he's off to a good start. The X factor will be how well all of the young guys and the inexperienced varsity guys do when the lights are on.”

So guard play will be instrumental to the Panthers success this season. Having a double figure scorer in the post is a good thing, but the team will need to have someone that can get the ball down the court and get the ball to him. And as we have learned from the Bengals early success this season – don’t discount a young team. If the Panther s can figure out the perimeter game, they will have success this season.

The team will open against Bethel Friday, Dec. 9th a team that Coach Augsperger expects to one of the top teams in the league. Then they come back against a tough Valley View team that features Zack Denny on Saturday. So this will be a rough opening weekend for the Panthers – the young players will be forged in fire early.

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