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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Vikings Overwhelm Panthers

Entering the week, South knew that they had to be giant slayers. They played back to back games against teams that had a lot more size than the Panthers – who don't have any size themselves in the first place. They were able to handle the SWBL's Valley View team, that had two players 6'4” or better. But against their fellow CCC team, Miami East, South struggled to find a way to overcome the Vikings combination of height and shooting. South won against Valley View 48-39, but fell to the Vikings 57-30.

Against Valley View, South allowed the Spartans an early lead. Then the team seemed to gather itself and went on an impressive run that gave the Panthers the lead for the remainder of the game. Defense was key for the Panthers – they held the Spartans to 2 points for about a 13 minute stretch that ended the first half and began the second half.

“Our instensity was great,” remarked coach Augspurger, “They were a big team, but not as wide – we contained their post better, and didn't give them many open shots.”

Miami East was a team that lived up it's billing. The opening lineup was much taller position by positon than South. And another big difference was shooting. A neutral observer coming in off the street would have thought that Miami East was the home team and South was the visitor. The Vikings sank shots with ease, but South had problems finding the rim all night. Usually the home team has the higher shooting percentage while the visitors, who are on an unfamiliar court, are the ones whose shooting suffers.

The Vikings did play good defense, but South missed a lot of open shots. The Vikings pressed in the first quarter and played zone defense in the half court. South was down 13-5 at the end of the 1st quarter and they made a little run at the end of the 1st half, but were down 22-14 as the teams entered the 2nd half. Jacob Bassler kept South in the game in the 1st half - scoring 10 of his 12 points during this span. But the Vikings shut him almost completely down in the second half.

But South was cold shooting and with their height, the Vikings limited South to one shot on almost every possession. So the lead gradually lengthened. Then South when on a scoring drought to start the last quarter. Ryan Bassler finally scored for the Panthers but East ended any attempts at a rally despite South pressing to try and get some turnovers.

“That was the worst matchup in our league for us.” stated coach Augspurger afterwards, “We are team of 5' 11” kids and they are playing kids 6' 3” and taller. So it's a bad matchup for us. They are an experienced team and know how to play that zone – and know how to stretch it. But we had shots, but we were not making them. We didn't turn the ball over much; we didn't rebound so much. But in the end we were not making our 3 point shots.”

“The better team won tonight,” he continued, “I have coached against Miami East teams since about 2000 and this one of the best teams that I have seen from them. Barring injury, I would not be surprised to see them win 20 games.”

Next up for South are two critical away games against league opponets. Next Friday they play at Covington, then on Tuesday the 22nd they play at Bethel. Then during Christmas break they will play in Preble Shawnee's holiday tournament.   

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