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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

South Young and Eager for Season Opener

Coach Augsperger is hoping that fresh faces will bring a change of fortune for the Panthers. “We are coming off the worst three year stretch in almost thirty years of TVS basketball and I believe we have the opportunity to come roaring back from that. The biggest question mark that we have is can we become the tough, hard nosed defending and rebounding team that we need to be.” His team returns 3 players with varsity experience from last season. Johnny Meyers and Michael Green, both post players are back, as well as Cole Cottigim – who was a 6th man off the bench last season.

Coach Augsperger expects Meyers to contend for player of the league honors – he had 15 points and over 8 rebounds a game last season. “But he is an outstanding driver who can score from inside and out. And Michael Greene did well for us as a freshman last year, He had 8 points a game and 7 rebounds. Michael is important for us because he provides us with a talented offensive inside presence. He has an outstanding touch from 17-18' feet and in. Rounding out our returners is Cole Cottingim. He was our sixth man last year and is easily the best outside shooter we have in the program. He was bothered by returning from a knee injury last year but is healthy and we have high hopes he can fill it up.”

Now he was asked aboutthe new faces, as the varsity squad will be dressing 10 players - “Troy Innis, 5'9" sophomore point guard. He had a good summer and pre-season, he is working on becoming ready to run the show on the varsity level. Also moving up from the JV team will be 5'10" senior hustler Nick Guehring. Nick will bring intensity for us off the bench. “ Coach Augsperger will be looking for Michael Boggs to help with the post. “He has good basketball smarts and is a great all around athlete.”

A pair of freshmen guards will see varsity playing time this year - Anthony Augsperger and Wes Cole. “They led their 8th grade team to the CCC championship and are skilled young players who have the toughness necessary to play on the varsity team young.” Finally Jesse Wysong and Seth Baker will split time between JV and Varsity.

When asked about the team overall, coach Augsperger responded, “We have a lot of question marks because we are so young and so inexperienced. Myers and Green could be an outstanding combination of bigs on our level. Certainly, if they continue to improve and jell a little better together, they could be the best, most athletic inside tandem we've had in a long, long time. We need Cole Cottingim to shoot like he can and thus far in pre-season practices and scrimmages he's off to a good start. The X factor will be how well all of the young guys and the inexperienced varsity guys do when the lights are on.”

So guard play will be instrumental to the Panthers success this season. Having a double figure scorer in the post is a good thing, but the team will need to have someone that can get the ball down the court and get the ball to him. And as we have learned from the Bengals early success this season – don’t discount a young team. If the Panther s can figure out the perimeter game, they will have success this season.

The team will open against Bethel Friday, Dec. 9th a team that Coach Augsperger expects to one of the top teams in the league. Then they come back against a tough Valley View team that features Zack Denny on Saturday. So this will be a rough opening weekend for the Panthers – the young players will be forged in fire early.
Dixie Experienced and Ready

Coach Creamer is enthused about his team’s chances in the SWBL this season. “Waynesville was league runner up and return all 5 starters, they look to be the favored team to win the SWBL Buckeye division this season. But we also return 5 starters and feel that we will be right there with them. Waynesville will have Luke Credit, the quarterback on their league winning football back as their leading scorer. He is a presence that we will have to deal with. They don’t have the height that we have, but they are athletic and quick.”

But Dixie has good depth this season as well as 5 solid starters back from last year’s team. The Hounds will start Andrew Barnett at point guard, Luke Bowling and Mike Smiley at forward, and John Isaacs and Matt Isaacs playing post. Bowling and Matt Isaacs are juniors, the rest are seniors. And they will have size and experience coming off the bench – Ryan Gabbard moved back into the district and Zack Grubb are both 6’ 4” seniors that will see plenty of floor time. Both are new comers to the varsity squad. Grubb was injured last season, but is healthy for this year.

Coach Creamer was asked what he liked about this year’s team, “Well we have good length, meaning we don’t have anyone with dominating height. There are no giants on this team. But as a team we have good height overall. And these kids are athletic, they make good plays. I like our play inside, but our perimeter play needs to be more consistent. They can shoot well, but not great. Now there are times where we do well on the perimeter but we need to able to do it every night. ” Otherwise the team will see a lot of zone defenses.

Dixie was .500 in the regular season last year and dropped their first two games. So any chance at a league title will depend upon a strong start this season. Dixie will start their season on December 2nd against Carlisle at Carlisle and then open at home the next night against Franklin Monroe on the 3rd. Both teams should be good opponents. Carlisle fields a strong team this year and Franklin Monroe had a good playoff run last year. The way that the league is scheduled Dixie will play each division opponent twice, so they will have to deal with the Waynesville Spartans two times – each game should be a battle.