Sunday, November 29, 2015

South Runner Up in Tip Off Tournament

South won their opening round game but ran into a tough Stivers Tiger basketball team and although South briefly lead, Stivers would fend off South to be tournament champs. South's defense was stalwart against Dixie in the first round, but they had a rough time figuring out the Tiger offense that could score both outside and inside. Plus the Tigers had 6'7” Akron University signee, Isiah Williams, who is athletic enough to defend a point guard on the perimeter and then turn around and slam dunk the ball in the paint.

Against Dixie, South sparred with the Hounds for about a quarter and half and were actually behind in the 2nd quarter. Coach Augspurger took a time out and level set the team. They ground out a half time lead and then went into high gear in the second half. Outscoring the Hounds by 19 points in the half en route to a convincing 52-30 win to kick off their winter campaign.

But Stivers was a tougher nut to crack. South opened with a zone like defense, but Stivers was able to hit shots from the perimeter. Forcing coach Augspurger to switch to a man to man defense to put pressure on the wings. Stivers would stay in a man to man defense the entire game, occasionally pressing and doing some trapping in the half court.

Stivers looked to be running away with the game in the 1st quarter. They had a decent 19-9 lead due to hot shooting and a quick defense. But South showed that they came to play. Ryan Bassler opened the 2nd quarter with a pair of treys to put South right back in the game. That sparked an 11-0 run by the Panthers. And about midway through the quarter South briefly held the lead 20-19. But Stivers had a run of their own to close out the half with a 27-22 lead.

After halftime South again tried their zone defense, but Stivers made them pay for it by striking from the perimeter. This forced South back to a man to man defense. Stivers grew their lead to 10 points by the end of the quarter.

Stivers went into a slowdown to start the 4th quarter. South was trying hard on defense and this resulted in fouls. South quickly gave up bonus and then double bonus. But Stivers hit their free shots from the stripe. South made a late charge and a Jacob Bassler 3 put South within 7 points of Stivers, but that was as close as South would come as Stivers would eventually win 55-43.

“I had zero fault with their effort, they tried to do what we talked about on defense, but to win a game when you are an underdog, you have to hit shots,” stated coach Augspurger afterwards, “We made a couple of good runs, Ryan Bassler gave us some spark off the bench, we were right there but we just didn't shoot well.”

He went on, “I thought we defended Isiah Williams pretty well for the most part. We did not panic against their pressure – but we also did not make them pay. Pressure can effect the momentum and rhythm of the game. We allowed it to distort our offense. Ideally, you break their pressure and get easy layups and that did not happen.”

Finally, “JJ Utz and Jacob Bassler provided good leadership for us this weekend. We had 6 guys on the floor that this was their first varsity basketball game. So when you consider that we did pretty well. We are going to have growing pains still, but we will learn from this game.”

Scoring for South: Ryan Bassler 6, Jared Cottingim 2, Mike Meyer 6, Jacob Bassler 15, Winston Crossier 3, JJ Utz 10, Travis Lovely 1.

Next Friday South will host league foe, National Trail.

Dixie 1-1 Opening weekend

Dixie opened their weekend at the Twin Valley South Tip Off tournament. Their first round game was against host Twin Valley South. After gaining a lead in the 2nd quarter, Dixie turned the ball over and seemed to be unable to find an answer for South's offense the remainder of the game. South zoomed away after halftime and defeated Dixie 52-30. But in the consolation game the next night, Dixie leveled themselves against Eaton 65-52 to balance their record at 1 win and 1 loss.

Coach Williams would later state that you can't win a game with 26 turnovers and that was the difference maker in the two games. Dixie took care of the ball against Eaton, but allowed South to capitalize on Dixie turnovers and get too many easy scores. Dixie seemed to wilt in the second half of this game – getting outscored 33-14. The team played more consistently against Eaton. But still had a lapse that almost allowed Eaton to make a late run.

Eaton played in a man to man defense that they stayed in the entire night. Mixing in some full court pressing and a little half court trapping. Dixie countered with a 1-4 offense set and also a motion offense. Dixie stayed in a zone defense all evening. Dixie defensive rebounding was decent and didn't allow many 2nd chance opportunities for Eaton.

Dixie pushed the ball hard on turnovers off of Eaton's offense. But particularly in the 1st half, Dixie was slow to get back on defense and allowed Eaton some easy layups. Coach Williams took a time out in the first half and loudly lambasted the team to stop jogging back on defense but rather to sprint back. This took away easy baskets from Eaton and their half court offense had a rough time scoring on Dixie – not really being able to connect on outside shots.

Dixie got an early lead, but some late 1st quarter turnovers allowed Eaton to close to within a point. The second quarter was a duel with Eaton briefly leading, but just before halftime with the score knotted 27 all, Devon Worley hit a couple of shots to give Dixie a 32-28 lead.

Dixie came out on fire after halftime. They shot well from the floor and in no time they had a 10 point lead. Eaton took a time out to adjust but Dixie extended their lead to 49-35 at quarters end. Eaton pressed hard in the last quarter in a bid to make up ground. But Dixie was able to get some easy baskets and grew their lead to 22 points. Dixie allowed Eaton to creep back into the game in the last half of the quarter. Dixie had a scoring drought where they did not score for almost 4 minutes. But Eaton had to resort to fouling late in the game and Dixie was able to pad their lead by hitting their foul shots.

Dixie would win 65-52 and would score 3 players in double figures. Cody Grubb(19), Devon Worley(15), and Blake Miller(13). Also scoring for Dixie were Austin Simpson 1, Joey Gengler 8, Dakota Grise 6, Seth Grubb 2. Devon Worley also made the all tournament team.

“We executed well on offense, we defended, there is room to get better – but it's only the second game of the season,” said coach Williams after the game, “We need to limit our turnovers and we can really be good if we can defend and rebound. Those will our points of emphasis this week. If we can limit our turnovers we will be in every basketball game.”

He continued, “I talked to them about sprinting back to help. They were beating us down the court and getting easy baskets. That was one key adjustment. We need Grubb, Worley, and Miller to score in double figures every night for us to be successful. But we had role players that came in and made us successful too, Dakota Grise rebounded well for us for instance.”

Next Friday, Dixie plays host to TCN.