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Sunday, February 22, 2009

No Love Here

J. C. Tilton
Saturday was Valentines day. But there was no love in Preble Shawnee’s gymnasium as the Arrows squared off for a defensive battle against their neighboring adversary, the Twin Valley South Panthers. Veteran coaches Roger Ellis and Tony Augspurger had their respective teams ready to play on Saturday. South was trying to rebound from a Friday night thumping from league leading Miami East. But revenge was on their mind - Shawnee had beat the Panthers in December at the Holiday tournament. Shawnee was likewise trying to rebound from a Friday loss - a narrow 2 point loss against Carlisle.

Both teams played shut down defense in the first half. South played in a zone which they stuck with all night. Shawnee played some man to man and varied their half court defense. They did press against South, it was not too effective in the first half, but in the final stanza, their press would generate turnovers. The South defense was strong inside initially - blocking several shots and negating the Shawnee inside game.

South was starting to accumulate fouls and with about 4 minutes left had their 7th. During the game Shawnee would toe the line more often as South, but would shoot 53% from the foul line. Meanwhile South would make the most of their opportunities and their foul shooting was almost 80%. There were several lead changes in the second quarter. It looked like Shawnee would take a lead into half time, but Jordan Combs nailed a buzzer beater to give South a 23-21 halftime lead.

In the third quarter South kept making shots to keep their lead. Every time Shawnee would close the gap a South player would make a timely shot to extend their lead. Ryan Nisius and Clint Spitler both hit key three pointers during this stretch. Eric Walker would get his 3rd foul in the third quarter and at the start of the 4th he got another and was sent to the bench. Shawnee turned up the heat by going back to the press - and now were generating turnovers. Post player Levi Robbins put in some critical minutes in the fourth quarter. He scored 6 points in a row when South needed a momentum boost.

South held off the Shawnee onslaught and went into a slowdown offense. Shawnee fouled, but fouled the wrong guy. Ryan Innis would coolly score 5 points from the line in the last minute of the game and would have a total of 10 charity points for the night. South would win 54-49.
“It was a hard fought game from both of our perspectives,” stated Coach Augspurger from TVS, “Both teams are less than we thought we would be at this point in the season. We’ve both lost games we thought we should have won. I know Roger [Ellis] feels the same way. Our second half was great tonight. We had foul trouble, but we made some shots in the second half. We haven’t always used good basketball skills this year, but tonight we took a step in the right direction.”

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