Sunday, February 21, 2016

Dixie - Franklin Monroe Part Duo




It was just a week ago that Dixie overcame Franklin Monroe in a hotly contested game that went into overtime. This week the two teams met on a neutral court – Northmont High School in the first round of the state tournament. The contest did see some momentum swings and again it was a close game that was decided in the final minutes.

But first up for Dixie this week was Milton Union. This was a make up league game from the regular season that had been canceled because of snow. Dixie won their first game against Milton Union by double digits. And maybe the team was looking forward to the tournament game at the end of the week or maybe they were over confident from their earlier win, but Dixie started slow in the 1st quarter.

The Bulldogs accumulated a double digit lead 17-7 in the 1st quarter and kept that lead for most of the game. The Greyhounds went on a rampage in the last quarter and mounted a furious comeback that fell short. They ended their regular season on a down note 57-53.

But against Franklin Monroe, the Greyhounds raced out to an early lead. Seemingly not wanting to repeat their earlier mistake. Franklin Monroe started the game defensively in a zone defense and Dixie was able to find seams and score. They went on a little run in the last half of the 2nd quarter and had a 34-22 lead at the break.

Dixie's defense allowed them to keep their lead in the 3rd quarter. The team made steals and converted them into points. However, playing aggressive defense can also lead to fouls. And so early in the 4th quarter Dixie was giving up bonus and also Cody Grubb had 4 fouls - hamstringing his playing time.

Dixie was up 45-34 entering the final quarter, but their shooting was cold. Franklin Monroe was in an aggressive man to man defense and Dixie found the scoring tough. Meanwhile Franklin Monroe went on a 12-0 run and briefly lead before Cody Grubb broke the Greyhound scoring drought with a 3 point shot. Now it was a battle to the wire as the 2 teams exchanged the lead several times. Franklin Monroe got a 3 point advantage with about 2 minutes left and Dixie went into a press to try and get a turnover.

Finally Dixie had to resort to fouling to get the ball back. The Jets shot well enough from the foul line and withstood Dixie's attempt at a comeback to win the rematch 61-57. It was a disappointing loss for the Greyhounds.

“We played our identity and that is man to man,” stated the Jet's coach Myer after the game, “That is the biggest change we made in the 2nd half. They were getting good looks and making shots off our zone in the 1st half. It seemed to disrupt their rhythm and they weren't making all their shots. And when we started the 4th quarter, you could see in their eyes that they wanted this. We've played some really close games that we lost - tonight the team became unified when it mattered. We got stops on defense, we pulled down rebounds, and we were able to seal the win with free throws.“

“Franklin Monroe was the better team tonight,” stated Dixie's coach Williams, “Down the stretch we did not execute. We gave up too many points in the 4th quarter. We also got into foul trouble and that took Cody Grubb out of the game. We could not get a good flow going in the 4th quarter like we did in the first 3 quarters. You have to credit Franklin Monroe for that.”

Finally he was asked about the senior class, “Our senior class was solid. In my 3 years here, these are the guys that I met as sophomores. They play hard, they are hard willed, they are hard nosed. Blake Miller was phenomenal for us this year – he was all district. Cody Grubb had a good year. Justin Keirns – all those guys played well for us. Our sophomore, Devon Worley was amazing – I am looking forward to next year. Our success is dependent upon what we do in the off season.”

Scoring for Dixie: Cody Grubbs 16, Austin Simpson 3, Devon Worley 12, Blake Miller 17, Ethan Arnette 3, Dustin Petry 2, Dakota Grise 4.


South Comeback Falls Short




As they have so often this season, South started slow in the 1st quarter in their state tournament game. The Cedarville Indians took advantage and captured the early lead. So South had to dig themselves out of a hole. The scoring was slow in the 1st quarter as the two teams sized each other up. So it was 11-7 at the first break.

Coach Augspurger had taken a time out late in the 1st quarter and changed defenses from a man to man to a trapping zone in a bid to break up the lethargy. South got some turnovers, but didn't really get the momentum change they needed. Cedarville was rebounding well, which meant that South was not getting many 2nd chance shots. And at the other end of the court, the Indians were hitting their shots.

South made a little run to start the 2nd quarter. Mike Myers tied the game at 11-all and it looked like South was going to gain momentum. But Cedarville responded and that was the mode for the remainder of the quarter. South would make a small run and Cedarville would re-extend their lead. At halftime it was 26-18 in the favor of the Indians. The Indians Jacob Gannon had done the most damage scoring 15 points against the Panthers.

With the Indians holding Jacob Bassler in check, the Panther were needing someone to step up. Mike Meyers stepped up the challenge and had a monster second half. He lead South in scoring with 27 points – and lead the charge as the South tried to overcome the deficit.

The Panthers allowed the Indians to go on a run in the second half and then settled down and began to chip away at the lead. They made a few good runs at the Indians – closing to within 3 points, but the Indians did their job at the foul line and that was as close as they would get as the Indians staved off the Panthers for a 56-52 win.

After a huge late season win over Carlisle (2nd place team in SWBL), South seemed to fade as the season came to an end. After that win they dropped 2 games to teams with losing records – Arcanum and North and lost any momentum that they could have carried over from that game. Still the team ended the regular season with a 13-9 record and were in the top half of the CCC.

“Unfortunately we entered the tournament headed in the wrong direction,” Tony Augspurger stated, “It's too bad because our seniors did a good job of leading us this year. Coming off of the Carlisle win, we felt good and I think they did too. So it's too bad we couldn't have finished better for them.”

He speaking about the seniors, “JJ Utz and Jacob Bassler were 3 year starters and they both did good things for us. Jacob did a lot of good offensively and JJ was one of the better defensive players that I have coached, he was tenacious. Chad Ehler and Winston Crossier did a lot of positive things for us. Our 4 senior starters helped make our program strong.”

Scoring for South: Mike Myers 26, Jacob Bassler 8, JJ Utz 7, Travis Lovely 7, Chad Ehler 4,