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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hounds pull ahead in stretch

Friday’s game between Preble Shawnee and Dixie was a hard fought matchup as the two league rivals battled back and forth for 4 quarters. Both teams played hard nosed, intense defense and at times bodies flew on the court. Twice Dixie players ended up in the stands – one skidding on his belly for a loose ball before crashing into the bleachers, later in the second half another player crashed into the scorer’s table. And midway through the fourth quarter a double technical was called as two players engaged in a little post whistle activity as the contest was drawing to a close. It was an impressive effort by both teams.

Shawnee opened with a trapping zone defense. Early on this was effective as Dixie was coughing up the ball and leading to Arrow baskets. And at the other end of the court Dixie was getting into foul trouble – accumulating 6 fouls by the end of the first quarter. Coach Creamer took a timeout at the two minute mark to settle the team defensively and get them focused on taking care of the ball on offense. Coming out of that break Dixie did a little trapping of their own and got a couple of turnovers. Still at the end of the first quarter Shawnee lead, 13-11.

Dixie spread out their offense in the second quarter. But Shawnee was still able to extend their lead. Dixie needed someone to step up and get the Hounds going again. So Ryan Gabbard sparked a late rally by scoring on 3 possessions in a row. Dixie went to a quick lineup and Andrew Barnett hit a layup to give Dixie their first lead of the second quarter. Gabbard ended Dixie scoring with a buzzer beater to send the Hounds to the locker room with the lead.

The third quarter was a defensive showdown as Dixie had adjusted to the trapping defense of Shawnee and that ended Shawnee’s ability of getting points from turnovers. Plus Dixie had put Barnett on Jakes Adams, the Shawnee scoring threat which slowed down his scoring. But now it was Shawnee that was accumulating fouls at a fast pace and had 7 early in the 4th quarter. By games end, Dixie had toed the foul line 22 times.

With the game on the line, Dixie did a slow burn to pull away with the lead. On succeeding possessions Gabbard fed the ball to John Issaacs for a score, Andrew Barnett knifed to the basket for a layup, and then Gabbard hit a layup to put Dixie up by 10 with about 4 minutes remaining. And as what happened last week, the visiting team focused on shooting treys to try and get back in the game. With Dixie’s height, they can be glass cleaners and the team controlled defensive rebounds limiting Shawnee’s opportunity at a comeback. Dixie held off the Shawnee challenge to win 55-49.

Coach Creamer agreed that it was a battle, “We are very thankful that we were able to pull out a win in a hard fought basketball game. We are not pleased with all of our execution, but there is a lot of basketball in front of us and we are going to make improvements.” …on the effectiveness of the Shawnee trap in the first half, “We have some young players and that was their first opportunity to play against that kind of pressure. It rattled us early, but I thought we regained our composure and started to execute our offense. When you can make mistakes, learn from them, and still come out with a win that says something about a team.”

First year head coach Andrew Gerken had this to say about the game, “First we didn’t play real well. Second Ryan Gabbard is a real good player. He was too quick and too strong for our kids to handle. I thought Dixie handled our pressure very well, they passed the ball and found the open man. They adjusted well to the changes we made at halftime. Overall I thought our kids played hard, but I thought that they might have played a little bit harder than us. They hit the boards a lot harder and out rebounded us.” …about Jake Adams, “Jake struggled, I thought that Dixie did a real nice job of bellying up on him and forcing him out of his comfort zone. But at the same time, I thought that Jake did a good job of finding the open man. He is going to have some nights like this and we need someone else to be able to step up and score some points.”

Dixie Scoring: Griffin Moore 2, Andrew Barnett 6, John Isaacs 11, Luke Bowling 2, Matt Isaacs 14, Ryan Gabbard 20. Shawnee Scoring: Jake Adams 17, Matt Buell 8, Josh Hocker 5, Brian Kettring 3, Jake Elam 5, David Willoughby 2, Christian Letner 9.

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