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Friday, February 27, 2009

State Tournament - One Advance, Two Fall

J. C. Tilton
Thursday night was the opening round of the state tournament for three area teams, the season would halt for two and so only one would advance to the next round. The first game had familiar foes Twin Valley South and Preble Shawnee. This would be the third meeting between the two teams, but the first one at a neutral site. The previous games had taken place at Shawnee’s home court. The series was tied with one win apiece, with both games being hard fought. Fans were looking forward to yet another battle on the hardwood.

But Thursdays game was anticlimactic. South used a stifling defense and a strong presence on the boards to control the game. Shawnee had a tough time getting anything going offensively against the Panthers. South used to the same zone as they had in the previous encounter. But Shawnee was cold from outside - a good many of their points came from driving to the basket. And any rebounds from missed shots were quickly scooped up by the Panthers.

South’s scoring was consistent. Shawnee showed a type of zone in the opening quarter, but went to man to man when South drilled some three point shots. Then the Panthers moved the ball inside and continued to rack up the points. At the half South was up, but not by a lot. Shawnee was down 19-8 with seconds left when Dylan Brown hit a buzzer beater to give Shawnee some momentum going into the locker room.

But in the second half the wheels fell off the Shawnee cart. South charged out of the locker room and built an impressive 18 point lead. Shawnee just couldn’t mount a response. When the horn sounded, South won 50-35. Tony Augspurger was ecstatic about the teams performance, “This was one of the best games we had for doing the things we laid out in practice. We talked about what we had to do to for each move they would make and to their credit we did everything we discussed in practice. Innis and Walker did a particularly good job on the boards. Ryan Innis did a good job of keeping his composure when Shawnee gave him extra attention. We have not been a good third quarter team and I told them in the locker room that if we want to be a tournament team, we have to win third quarters - and tonight we did that.”

Roger Ellis on the Arrows, “We plain didn’t shoot well tonight. South gave up some good looks, but we didn’t take advantage. We were hesitant with our offense. And when South came out strong in the second half, we didn’t respond. We held them to 50 points and if we could have generated any offense at all, we could have been in the game. But 5 out of our last 6 games we haven’t scored 50 points, you can’t win games like that.”

The Dixie Greyhounds drew a tough Dayton Christian team in the opening round. It has been a disappointing season for the team and although the team gave a good effort, the Crusaders just had too many weapons for the Greyhounds to stop. The team was tentative in the first quarter. Caught some momentum in the second quarter, and closed the gap with DC. Seniors Matt Risner and Nick Worley scored during this run. But just when the game got interesting, Dayton Christian found another gear and left the Greyhounds behind. They went on to win 57-38.

Joe Miller was unhappy with the loss, but pleased with his seniors. “They are good kids, and they didn’t quit out there - they played hard. Dayton Christian is a good team and are loaded with seniors. We played some young kids today. They did well too and we talked in the locker room about next summer, what we want to do as a team to get where Dayton Christian is today. It’s been a tough season, but next season will be nice - we’ll be alright.” Comments:

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