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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

South Defense Suffocates Bradford

South has been working hard on their defense and it is paying dividends as they have strung together three wins in a row for the first time this season.  And those three wins were all on the road.  For the longest time they were in a pattern where they were splitting games week by week – win a game, lose a game.   But they seem to have gotten out of that rut and have generated some momentum for the first time this season.

Their first two wins of this streak were against Mississinewa Valley, another team hovering around the .500 mark and Brookville, a SWBL opponent with a 7-4 record.  They took the momentum off of these two wins into Bradford where I caught up with the Panthers.  South opened with a suffocating press that Bradford could not figure out.  I was impressed when South did not allow them to score until about 20 seconds was left in the first quarter.   South’s offense was in high gear as well and they had a 19-2 lead.

So I was even more awed when the team held Bradford to a single point in the next quarter.  Basketball is an offensive sport. So when you can hold a varsity team to single digits in any quarter that is an achievement.  And they did that for 4 quarters, not allowing Bradford to score in double figures in any quarter. Wes Cole was a scoring dynamo for South – leading the way in the first half and even though he rested on the bench for much of the second half, he would lead all scorers with 23 points.

The team was able to give their bench some playing time in the second half and it is worthy to note that the defensive pressure did not relent even with the underclassmen in the game.  South recently lost another athlete for the season, so another sophomore has been moved up to take his slot.  So this gave the team a chance to work in a new face under game conditions. 

Coach Augspurger was pleased with the win, “We have been working on defense in practice very hard the last few weeks.  It has been a point of emphasis.   We backed off on our pressure and laid back in a zone in the second half, and we still maintained an aggressive defense.  Wes Cole has been playing well for us this season and he had another good game for us tonight.”

Looking ahead, “In the past we have had an 80% win rate over the course of a season at home.  And teams dreaded coming to South for a game. Recently we have not defended our home court and intimidated opponents like we did in the past. We need to get that attitude back – our team is playing our next 4 games at home.  Winning those 4 games will go a long way towards giving us a respectable record for the season. “

South continued their winning ways with a 48-35 win over Miami East the following night – giving the Panther 4 wins in row. 

  Next week they host Arcanum and Franklin-Monroe.
Scoring for TVS:  Cole 23, Green 10, Osborn 4, Bassler 4, Utz 10, Baker 8.

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