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Sunday, March 01, 2015

Defense the Difference in South Win

This past week South went back to basics on defense during their preparation and it paid dividends in the opening round of the state tournament. It may have been first round jitters but South had problems scoring in the first quarter.  Anthony Augspurger finally scored the first points of the night after South went scoreless for the first 4 and a half minutes. But fortunately their defense had held West Liberty to just 6 points at that juncture. South finished out that first quarter strong and were only down by a point at the end of the first quarter (7-6).

In addition to a refocused defense, South hit the boards hard and despite West Liberty-Salem’s height advantage, they did a good of pulling rebounds off of the glass. They were very effective snagging defensive rebounds, which limited the Tigers ability to get points off of put backs. South played an aggressive man to man defense the entire game while the Tigers alternated between man to man and zone defenses.

At about the 3 minute mark of the second quarter, South got their first lead of the night.  The Tigers made their first defensive switch of the night dropping the man defense and going to a zone defense. But the Panthers proceeded to go on a little run to close out the first half with the lead 20-13.

South broke the game open in the second half. West Liberty had the South lead down to 2 points in the 3rd quarter.  Wes Cole then got into a shooting zone and scored 12 points in the quarter  and gave South an 8 point lead.  When West Liberty pressured the edge to get Cole out of his game, South fed the ball inside in the 4th quarter and went on a 10-2 run to extend the lead even more thanks to Augspurger who scored 9 of his 15 points in the last quarter. 

The Tigers went into a press in the last 5 minutes as they pulled out all of the stops in an effort to generate some points.  Being aggressive they fouled and South shot a decent 9 of 14 from the foul line.  South outscored West Liberty and was able to empty the bench in last minute and a half as they won 56-38.

“We talked this past week about how we played so well defensively in the first 12 games or so,” spoke coach Augspurger after the game, “and it wasn’t that we were a bad defensive team – but we were not doing things as well in the second half of the season. And this week we went back to doing drills, working on fundamentals and doing things the right way. And tonight I thought that we played 3 excellent quarters of defense. That was definitely the key to the game.”

Next he was asked about South breaking the game open in the second half, “It all started when Wes Cole got hot and started feeling it in the 3rd quarter. He hit a crazy shot at the end of the quarter to give us momentum. Then I thought that Anthony Augspurger did a great job of going inside and being strong in the 4th.  And we clamped the D back down - not giving them good looks and that was what made the biggest difference. At this point, you survive and move on.”

South will be playing Brookville on Tuesday at 6pm at Bellbrook High School, “Brookville is scary, they are playing better than when we played them the first time.  They know us and we know them – they chose to play us and they have had more time to get ready. Brookville plays in this league, so they play in this gym all the time so that is an advantage for them.  I just hope that we continue to be nasty on D and we will see what we see.”

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