Sunday, January 17, 2016

Dixie Three Game Skid

The new year has not been kind to Dixie. Although they began the year with a win over Dayton Christian, they have dropped 3 games in row since then. They played well for 3 quarters against Middletown Madison but coughed up 23 points in the last quarter before being dropped. Next they played the CCC's Arcanum where they got off to a slow start and spotted the Trojans a 14 point lead. They then played furiously in the 2nd half, but their comeback fell short 74-63. Next up was Carlisle, in 2nd place in the SWBL Buckeye Division. But even with home court advantage, Dixie fell to the Tribe 69-42.

A lot of fan's were hoping that Dixie would be able to put together a complete game. Against Madison the team played well until the 2nd half, while against Arcanum they had a bad first half – but had a late comeback attempt that fell short. So a lot of folks were hopeful that the team could play 2 solid halves against Carlisle, but it was a game where things started well but faded as the game went on. Cold shooting and the inability to stop Carlisle on defense were their downfall.

Both teams played furiously in the first quarter. The scoring was fast paced and the teams seemed to score at will. The score was even – 16 points apiece at the first break. Both teams played man to man defense at that point. Dixie would later try a zone and full court pressure in an attempt to slow down Carlisles potent offense. In the second quarter, Carlisle went on a little run and opened a lead. Dixie was cold from the floor and had problems pulling in rebounds against Carlisles bigger lineup. So they did not get many 2nd chances on missed shots.

So Dixie went to halftime down 9 (21-30). And in the 2nd half, Carlisle picked up where they left off – scoring the first 5 points of the half to open a double digit lead. Coach Williams had seen enough, he cleared his bench and pulled his 5 starters. The replacements pressed hard, but their defense not enough to slow down the Indians who gradually lengthened their lead in the second half. And with Dixie pressing they piled up the fouls and by the end of the 3rd quarter they were giving up bonus – sending Carlisle to the foul line for free shots.

Then in the last quarter, Dixie gave up some easy turnovers which Carlisle turned into points. Carlisle was able to extend the Dixie losing streak with a 69-42 win.

There was a long meeting in the locker room by Coach Williams after the game and he spoke afterwards, “Not to take anything against these three teams, and against Carlisle tonight we would have had to play really, really well to win – but we are beating ourselves. As coaches we are trying to get through to these guys that we are not defensively sound enough to win these games.”

He continued the thought, “The guys are playing hard at the wrong end of the basketball court. Meaning that they are playing hard offensively but lagging back on defense. We are not getting back, not going after rebounds – that's what is killing us. We have to put forth a better effort defensively. If you work hard on defense, offense will be easy for you.”

On the 5 out and 5 in substitution in the third quarter, “That was a move by me to make a point. We came on the court only down by 9, they jumped out in front of us because we would not defend. We seem to think we can get it back with a 3 point shot here or a jump shot there, but we just need to defend. We were not doing that, so I brought 5 new players in.”

Next week Dixie plays Waynesville at home on Tuesday and league leading Northridge at Northridge on Friday, then end the weekend as road warriors at National Trail on Saturday night.

South Rebounds Over Weekend

After a tough loss to start the week against league leading and defending state champs Tri-Village, Twin Valley South was able to rebound from that loss with a pair of wins to end the week with renewed momentum.  Against the Patriots, South could only muster 30 points, but over the weekend they scored 58 and 63 points in their two wins.  South’s offense has been struggling to score this season and it seems like the team might have found another gear.

Tuesday’s game was a defensive battle between the Panthers and Partiots.  South tried hard to keep the game close, but open shots were hard to come by.  And the Patriots offense was slowed but not stopped entirely by South.  They would win 43-30, but South had a morale victory of sorts in that they held Tri-Village to 43 points - their lowest point total of the season for their high powered team.

South could have been demoralized by the loss - it did drop them back to a .500 record.  But the team seemed eager to prove themselves.  Although they did not not start either game particularly strong, the team finished furiously both times. Against Shawnee, the team was down at halftime and outscored them in the second half for a 63-53 win.  Newton held the game close until the last quarter where again South went on a scoring binge and opened a 10 point lead for a 58-48 victory.

South’s offense prowess was thanks in part to Mike Meyers who scored in double figures both games. JJ Utz and Jacob Bassler have been the main scorers for South this season, and South has been needing a 3rd scoring option.  Meyers had 14 points against Newton and 22 points against Shawnee.  So he provided some extra offensive punch for South when the team needed to rebound from the Tri Village game.

Coach Augspurger on this past week, “Tri Village is doing a better job of pushing the ball this season. In the past they relied more on their half court sets. I thought we battled against them fairly well, but their defense is very good - we were just unable to score.  But this weekend, I thought we played pretty good.  We put up 58 and 63 points in back to back games, something we have done much this season.”

He continued on the wins, “Our offense was much better this weekend. We did not defend quite as well this weekend - but we weren’t bad. We had 12 3’s against Shawnee.  One big change was Mike Meyers.  He has been in a massive shooting slump. He had a great summer and we were looking for big things, but it has not been his season until now.  Hopefully this is the start of big things from him.  Winston Crossier had some big three’s for us and Jared Cottingim scored 9, so it is great to see them starting to score. ”

Next weekend South will be on the road, visiting Mississinewa Valley on Friday, and Brookville - who knocked South out of the playoffs last season, on Saturday.