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Sunday, March 08, 2009

South’s Season Comes to an End
J. C. Tilton
The last team playing basketball in Preble County finally ended their season at UD arena in the second round of the state playoffs. Their opponent was number one seeded Miami East. Their feature player was Dan Hickman who plans to be playing at the next level for next basketball season. South would have their hands full keeping him away from the basket. And in their regular season encounter, the Vikings decisively beat the Panthers. So South had a lot to overcome to have a chance.

Despite a gallant effort, the team could not overcome a rough first quarter against the Vikings. The Viking execute their trapping 1-3-1 zone very well. And it gave the Panthers fits in the first quarter. The team racked up 8 turnovers in the first 8 minutes. At one point the score was 15-2 and the Panther faithful had to sit on their hands as there just wasn’t much to cheer about. The Panthers were in a hole and had to dig their way out.

The next three quarters were almost even between the two teams. Ryan Innis and Clint Spitler did almost all of the scoring for South. But it just wasn’t enough. The team did adjust and the turnovers slowed down. In the second quarter the team stopped the bleeding and managed to keep pace with the Vikings scoring wise. But were down 34-21 at halftime.

Defensively the Panthers assigned a defender to Dan Hickman throughout the game and the remaining players fell into a zone. The Panthers did keep Hickman from scoring from the field in the second half although he still scored with foul shots. With the extra attention to Hickman, this opened up opportunities for the other players. A total of 4 Vikings would score in double figures.
Like the little engine that could the Panthers kept chugging away at the Viking lead. Finally pulling to within 6 points at the 1:21 mark. Fans that had been quiet were vocal as the Panthers made their late game run. But that would be their high water mark for the game. A heart breaking 3 point shot rimmed out and the Vikings would turn around and score at their end to re-extend the lead. Fouling in the last minute wouldn’t help as they made their shots and the South season ended on the wrong end of a 56-46 score.

“We played even for three quarters, if you could have taken away the first quarter then who knows what might have happened”, stated coach Augspurger. We played so hard and came so close - sometimes this is a game of inches. But we have almost everyone coming back and if they all play ball this summer they have the makings of a solid team - but they have to work at it, it’s not going to happen on it’s own.” Comments: