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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Young South Team 1-1 in First Weekend

With only 3 South players with varsity experience from last season, everyone had to be wondering how the young team would fare in their first weekend of action. South opened the season with a win on the road against Bethel, a quality opponent that has owned South the last few years. But turned around the next night and lost to Valley View. Interestingly the games were a contrast where the Bethel game was a defensive slugfest, while in the Valley View game was a high scoring affair.
The Bee’s were 2-0 coming into the game with wins over Arcanum and Indian Lake. After eking out a two point lead at half time, South shutdown the Bee’s in the third quarter and held off a fourth quarter surge to win this game 31-28. Johnny Meyers did the bulk of the scoring for the Panthers with 21 points.

Head coach Tony Augspurger was impressed with the win, “We have lost to Bethel the last three years, and they got back almost their whole team from last season. I thought we were very well prepared for them and we had a good understanding of what they were probably going to do. So we executed our game plan very well. It was low scoring because both teams have well schooled defenses. We were able to play 9 kids in that varsity game and for 6 of them it was their very first visit ever onto a varsity basketball court. We did not do that well offensively because I thought we were a little uptight on offense - it being our first night. They were quick and moved well, but we used our big guys and took advantage of our size. We rebounded really well and communicated on defense. It was a good emotional win for our kids.”

…on Johnny Meyers, “He has the ability to the best in our league and maybe in the area. And tonight he played like that. And we need him to perform, he is a two year starter and is a proven scorer – I thought he played like a senior. He made big plays for us, big shots for us all throughout the game. He also grabbed 11 rebounds. And Matt Green did well for us, he had 8 boards. If we are going to compete for a league championship, we had to win – in our league you need to win out or maybe have one loss to have a chance.”

On Saturday night, South would face the full court pressure of Valley View on defense and a talented Zack Denny on offense. This time the game was faster paced and the scoring was unchecked. At times the young South guards had problems against the pressure, causing South to fall behind early. But South mounted a second half comeback that excited the home town crowd as they tied the ball game at the end of the third quarter at 48 all.

And to start the fourth quarter South hit a three to go ahead. But just as it got interesting things became undone for South as Johnny Meyers got his 4th foul early in the quarter and had to watch from the bench as Valley View regained and then extended their lead. When he reentered the game around the 4 minute mark, he quickly got his fifth foul and was done for the night. Valley View went on to win 71-63.

Coach Augspurger on the loss, “The Valley View was frustrating in that we were prepared, but didn’t do what we needed to do defensively. The Bethel game we looked like we knew what we doing, we weren’t like that in the Valley View game. We didn’t do what we needed to do to slow down Denny. And we dug ourselves into a hole. Later in the game we put Anthony Augspurger and also Nick Guhering on Denny and they slowed him down in the second half. On offense, Valley View pressed us and we executed our press break OK at times but other times we gave the ball away.”

“When Johnny fouled out in the fourth quarter it kind of took our breath away. At this point in the season, we are not ready for that. But as the game went on we handled their pressure better and scored better. But I thought our new starting point guard Troy Innis did a great job with his first two starts. Ending this first week I am happy with my kids, in terms of individuals they did a lot of good things. We are going to have inexperience errors, but I thought we played hard both nights.”

Hounds pull ahead in stretch

Friday’s game between Preble Shawnee and Dixie was a hard fought matchup as the two league rivals battled back and forth for 4 quarters. Both teams played hard nosed, intense defense and at times bodies flew on the court. Twice Dixie players ended up in the stands – one skidding on his belly for a loose ball before crashing into the bleachers, later in the second half another player crashed into the scorer’s table. And midway through the fourth quarter a double technical was called as two players engaged in a little post whistle activity as the contest was drawing to a close. It was an impressive effort by both teams.

Shawnee opened with a trapping zone defense. Early on this was effective as Dixie was coughing up the ball and leading to Arrow baskets. And at the other end of the court Dixie was getting into foul trouble – accumulating 6 fouls by the end of the first quarter. Coach Creamer took a timeout at the two minute mark to settle the team defensively and get them focused on taking care of the ball on offense. Coming out of that break Dixie did a little trapping of their own and got a couple of turnovers. Still at the end of the first quarter Shawnee lead, 13-11.

Dixie spread out their offense in the second quarter. But Shawnee was still able to extend their lead. Dixie needed someone to step up and get the Hounds going again. So Ryan Gabbard sparked a late rally by scoring on 3 possessions in a row. Dixie went to a quick lineup and Andrew Barnett hit a layup to give Dixie their first lead of the second quarter. Gabbard ended Dixie scoring with a buzzer beater to send the Hounds to the locker room with the lead.

The third quarter was a defensive showdown as Dixie had adjusted to the trapping defense of Shawnee and that ended Shawnee’s ability of getting points from turnovers. Plus Dixie had put Barnett on Jakes Adams, the Shawnee scoring threat which slowed down his scoring. But now it was Shawnee that was accumulating fouls at a fast pace and had 7 early in the 4th quarter. By games end, Dixie had toed the foul line 22 times.

With the game on the line, Dixie did a slow burn to pull away with the lead. On succeeding possessions Gabbard fed the ball to John Issaacs for a score, Andrew Barnett knifed to the basket for a layup, and then Gabbard hit a layup to put Dixie up by 10 with about 4 minutes remaining. And as what happened last week, the visiting team focused on shooting treys to try and get back in the game. With Dixie’s height, they can be glass cleaners and the team controlled defensive rebounds limiting Shawnee’s opportunity at a comeback. Dixie held off the Shawnee challenge to win 55-49.

Coach Creamer agreed that it was a battle, “We are very thankful that we were able to pull out a win in a hard fought basketball game. We are not pleased with all of our execution, but there is a lot of basketball in front of us and we are going to make improvements.” …on the effectiveness of the Shawnee trap in the first half, “We have some young players and that was their first opportunity to play against that kind of pressure. It rattled us early, but I thought we regained our composure and started to execute our offense. When you can make mistakes, learn from them, and still come out with a win that says something about a team.”

First year head coach Andrew Gerken had this to say about the game, “First we didn’t play real well. Second Ryan Gabbard is a real good player. He was too quick and too strong for our kids to handle. I thought Dixie handled our pressure very well, they passed the ball and found the open man. They adjusted well to the changes we made at halftime. Overall I thought our kids played hard, but I thought that they might have played a little bit harder than us. They hit the boards a lot harder and out rebounded us.” …about Jake Adams, “Jake struggled, I thought that Dixie did a real nice job of bellying up on him and forcing him out of his comfort zone. But at the same time, I thought that Jake did a good job of finding the open man. He is going to have some nights like this and we need someone else to be able to step up and score some points.”

Dixie Scoring: Griffin Moore 2, Andrew Barnett 6, John Isaacs 11, Luke Bowling 2, Matt Isaacs 14, Ryan Gabbard 20. Shawnee Scoring: Jake Adams 17, Matt Buell 8, Josh Hocker 5, Brian Kettring 3, Jake Elam 5, David Willoughby 2, Christian Letner 9.