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. 

South Defeated by Indians

South Defeated by Indians

Carlisle went on a 9-0 run to start the game and South took a 1st quarter time out to sort things out.  Carlisle was playing a pressing man to man to defense that they would use the entire game.  After the time out, Troy Innis took matters into his own hands and went on a run of his own – scoring 8 points on his own.  Then Baker hit a shot to pull South ahead. But Carlisle would bounce back – finishing the first quarter up 15-11.
Carlisle’s aggressive style of defense was causing them to foul.  This sent South shooters to the line where they made their shots.  At half time South had the advantage 26-19.  This lead melted away quickly in the opening minutes of the 3rd quarter.  South had been using a type of zone defense in the first half.  Now Carlisle had adjusted and was using the dribble drive to penetrate and score.   At the 5 minute mark South took a time out and went to man to man themselves.

This defensive change seemed to throw the Indians off guard, South now opened their lead again – actually leading by 9 points at one point.  But the Indians finished strong and it was a 38-35 game going into the last quarter.  South shooters  were cold at the beginning of the quarter and Carlisle wasn’t shooting the lights out, but they hit well enough to close the gap and pull ahead.  About midway through the quarter Carlisle was up by 5.

Both teams were playing aggressive man to man defense and both teams were in bonus by this time.  So a foul sent a shooter to the line. South went on a run and then briefly had the lead at about the 45 second mark, but a foul sent a Carlisle shooter to the line where he tied the game.   At this point, the wheels fell off the cart for South, two costly turnovers on back to back possessions were converted into points by Carlisle and they ran out of clock before they could mount one last comeback.  A frustrating end to an otherwise well played game by the Panthers.   Carlisle would advance to the next round 50-45.

But the team can look back on this season with pride and say that South is back.  The previous two seasons had been subpar and it was great to see South back in the top half of the CCC conference where the team has been traditionally.  And the future looks bright as well.  At times during this game, there were no seniors on the court for South – all underclassmen.  And two of those underclassmen were freshman.  So as this group grows and matures look for bigger and better things from Twin Valley South.

Coach Augspurger reflected on the season and was asked about the loss of Myers down the stretch and he noted that the team lost one of the best conference players in rebounds and in scoring,  “There is no doubt in my mind that with Myers our finishing record would have better and that we would be playing in the next round of the tournament. But you can’t look back, you can only go forward.”

 He was asked about the future, “We had two seasons with losing records and this team can look back and say that they changed that. With the loss of Myers our younger players had to play more, and this was an advantage for next year.  They got additional experience that they otherwise may not have gotten.  But the sophomores and freshmen have to continue to develop and get better – it showed down the stretch that they can play well but aren’t quite there yet.”

The seniors, “We have talked about Myers quite a bit, he has got to be the number one or number two player in the conference. Cole Cottingim had a good season, and I would have liked to have seen him play with better confidence. Michael Boggs came in as first year senior. When we talked in the preseason, I told that based on past experience that it never really worked out.  But he could stay on the roster. Well Michael Boggs proved me wrong, he had a great season coming off the bench – I wish that he was a junior, so that he could have developed even more.  Nick Gehring was good role player for us. He came off the bench and gave us good minutes every time we asked.”