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Sunday, January 08, 2012

Dixie fast and furious over Northridge

The action was fast and furious in the first quarter of the Dixie – Northridge game this past Friday night. Northridge is quick, athletic team and tries to score in transition. Dixie went into full court pressure early to the Northridge ball handlers. The result was a lot of fast action up and down the court. In the half court Dixie was working the ball inside to their post players while Northridge used a shell offense to dribble drive to the basket for shots. Dixie got the upper hand early with a 18-10 lead at the end of the quarter.

Both teams slowed the pace of the game down somewhat - mainly playing half court defense. Northridge shifted to a zone defense to try and take away the inside game of Dixie. This initially slowed down the Dixie offense and allowed Northridge to creep their way back into the game. And after losing Gabbard the Dixie faithful had to watch anxiously when Andrew Barnett went down hard after taking a charge. He had to come out of the game, but when Dixie went to a quick lineup to close out the quarter he re-entered the game and drilled a three pointer. Not to be outdone, Logan Watts sunk a buzzer beater to give Dixie a 29-23 lead at the half.

After the half, Northridge went on a run to tie the game at 29-all. They employed a half-court trap and got some easy baskets from turnovers. Dixie took a time out to sort out their strategy. And they actually began doing some trapping themselves and got their offense back in sync. Once again it was Andrew Barnett who helped spark a Dixie rally with a timely three. John Isaacs and Luke Bowling also connected to extend the Dixie lead once again.

Watching basketball these days - most scoring is done either close to the basket, or behind the three point line. But Dixie shooters Luke Bowling and Mike Smiley used the old school mid-range 8-10 foot jump shot effectively in this game. Northridge didn’t seem to have an answer. They shifted to a full court press after closing to 3 points in the fourth quarter. But Dixie handled the pressure well and began to deliberately run their offense in the half court to use up clock. With the full court pressure from Northridge, Dixie calmly found openings and John Isaacs broke the game open with back to back baskets. When Northridge took a second timeout at the 3:30 mark, Dixie put in their quick line up.

From there, the game took a familiar path. Northridge tried to launch 3’s to get back in the game, but the Dixie post players swept the glass – pulling in all the rebounds. John Isaacs would end the night with a double double – a remarkable 16 rebounds and 20 points. When Northridge fouled, Dixie shooters were deadly accurate, hitting 8 out of 10 in the fourth quarter. After time ran out, Dixie had chalked up another league win, 62-50.

Coach Creamer spoke afterwards, “That was our closest effort at a complete 4 quarter basketball game, it came after our best week of preparation in practice. Hopefully our kids see that correlation. …when we took the floor tonight I felt that we deserved to win because we prepared to beat Northridge for 4 straight days in practice.”

…on having 7 players score, “When Ryan Gabbard went down with the injury we told our kids that none of you are going to replace Ryan Gabbard, but all of you need to step it up a little and fill that void. Mike Smiley had by far his most productive night. Luke Bowling finally got alive at the offensive end for us. And John Isaacs played the way that we all expected him to play night in and night out. We played two sophomore guards [Griffin Moore, Logan Watts] tonight and they are growing up in front of us. And they are only going to continue to get better. “

Next week will be a battle of route 35 as the TVS boys and girls teams play at Dixie on Saturday night. It will be one of those days with all the basketball you can eat! The capstone of the night should be the varsity boys matchup featuring a two big men, John Isaacs of Dixie vs. Johnny Meyers of South. How these two perform offensively and defensively against each other should have a big impact on the outcome. The schedule is as follows: JV boys 2:30 tip off; JV girls 4pm; Varsity girls 5:30; Varsity boys 7pm. The host school will have a spaghetti dinner (all you can eat of course) from 4pm to 6pm.

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