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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dixie Advances Over NorthEastern

Dixie Advances Over NorthEastern

Dixie and NorthEastern played a heated first round game in the state tournament.  It was a physical contest – by the end of the game both NorthEastern and Dixie had players fouling out.  The tone was set early on when Andrew Barnett caught an elbow to the face and went to the bench briefly in the first quarter.  Then later on in the first quarter Matt Isaacs was called for a technical foul for smacking the backboard.   The early accumulation of fouls would put Isaacs on the bench and change the makeup of the Dixie lineup.

NorthEastern played a man to man defense and would jump into a full court press at times to pressure the Dixie guards.  In the first half, seniors Andrew Barnett and John Isaacs lead the way for the Greyhounds.  Barnett had 10 first half points and Isaacs had 11.  Although Dixie was able to maintain a lead, they were not able to shake the Jets from their heels.  Dixie did do some half court trapping – but for most of the game they played in their familiar man to man defense.

Dixie took a 7 point lead (39-32) into the locker room.  At halftime NorthEastern made some adjustments and slowed down the pace of scoring for Barnett and Isaacs.  Dixie needed some points from somewhere.  Mike Smiley and 6th man Landon Hicks provided the offensive energy that Dixie needed.  Hicks would score 9, and Smiley 8 critical second half points. 

Despite some poor ball handling in the 3rd quarter Dixie maintained a 7 point lead – 50 to 43.  Both teams were playing stout - in your face defense and both teams were piling on the fouls.  John Isaacs got his 4th foul as did Luke Bowling.  Then with 2 minutes left John Isaacs fouled  out.  But Dixie was ready for a guard heavy lineup anyway as they went into a slow down with a 10 point lead.   

But despite having their best ball handlers in the game, they gave the ball away to the NorthEastern press.  With less than a minute it was a 2 possession game – Dixie was only up by 6.  And the NorthEastern stands were re-energized, the fans for both teams were vocal as the Jets took a timeout to set up their final game plan.  But the double bonus was in effect – and Dixie hit some clutch free throws by Moore and Bowling to put the game away for a 70-62 win.

“I am glad that one is over”, stated coach Creamer afterwards, “Never did we talk about the significance of who we were playing and my history with NorthEastern[former head coach for 8 years] – this was about Dixie vs Northeastern,  not about me versus NorthEastern.  My kids found a way to gut one out – the name of game this time of year is survival, and we survived.”

He continued, “The beautiful thing about our personnel this year is that you just never know who is going to be the one to step up and be that offensive leader or that defensive leader. We can be very difficult to scout at times because we don’t have a ‘go to’ guy. All we have is a lot of guys with ‘want-to’”

Dixie will play Carlisle on Tuesday night, Feb. 28th 8pm at Tecumseh High School. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post Chris! I really appriciate you covering Dixie.