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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Dixie Loses Player for Season in Loss.

Dixie lost the game and a valuable player this past week in a pitched battle against league leading Waynesville. The Hounds spotted the home town team a generous first half lead and then had to fight in the second half to claw their way back into the game. The Hounds were thrown off by the Spartan half court zone defense and after adjusting to it, they mounted a challenge that fell short in the last half of the game.

The Hounds were able to slow down Luke Creditt, who had been scoring over 20 points per game. That was one of the keys to the game that coach Creamer was focused on. Matt Isaacs drew this assignment and held Creditt to just 10 points on the night. But Waynesville had other players who picked up the slack – Ty Black (13 points) and Steven Jeffries(18 points). Isaacs had a good night offensively as well, scoring 16 points himself.

The team had to play catch up all night. They were down 8 in the first quarter and were down 31-19 at the break. But the team made some adjustments at half time and mounted a furious comeback closing to within 2 points. During the intense play in the second half Ryan Gabbard went down and had to leave the game. It was later discovered that a bone in his leg was fractured and so the seniors season will end on the operating table as a pin will need to be inserted for the leg to set and heal properly. Ryan had been leading the team in scoring and so he will be missed.

Dixie earnestly tried to regain their momentum, but Waynesville was able to pull ahead. And the Hounds had to resort to fouling, but Waynesville calmly sunk their shots to extend their lead. When the game ended, Waynesville won 59-48.

Coach Creamer commented after the game, “We did a good job against Luke Credit - we executed our game plan against him, but they have a lot of offensive firepower and a couple of other kids stepped it up. We struggled offensively to put the ball in the hole the first half. We got looks we wanted, but just weren’t hitting our shots. They did go into a 2-3 zone - that was unexpected from them and that crossed us up a little bit. “

He continued, “After halftime we adjusted and did a phenomenal job to open the second half. We had a couple of possessions where we could have tied or maybe even taken the lead, but we just couldn’t get over the hump. To their credit they made free throws down the stretch to extend the lead back out to double figures. Matt Isaacs had a phenomenal effort for us against Creditt, he drew the man to man match up. And he turned around scored 16 points at the other end.”

What to expect from Eaton, “They are starting to get all their personnel back, they didn’t have everyone at the start of the year. They have an excellent athlete in Cole French. They have as much size as anyone that we have played against. It is a challenge for us – any time you have to go on the road in a SWBL cross over game it’s going to be tough. We look forward to playing against them. “ Dixie plays at Eaton on December 30th.

Scoring for Dixie: Barnett 3, Gabbard 12, J. Isaacs 4, M Isaacs 16, Moore 9, Smiley 4
South Eeks Out Win

Twin Valley South had a defensive battle against the Newton Indians in the final game before Christmas break for both schools. Coming off of a hard fought loss against Tri-Village - it was the closest that any team had come to Tri-Village, coach Augspurger had to wonder how the team would react after an emotional game. Would they have any gas left in the tank for the second test in a week? Newton came into the game 3-4 but would prove to be a worthy adversary.

In the first quarter, both teams sparred warily. Each side used a zone defense. Newton got some traction feeding the ball into the post and back out to the guards for outside shots. At the other end of the court, South was trying to utilize their height advantage, but Newton double teamed any player in the post with the ball. South wasn’t connecting on their outside shots. So scoring was light by both teams.

Despite their height advantage, South did not seem to be rebounding well. But their defense was on track – not giving Newton many looks at the basket. The second quarter was shaping up to be a stalemate, but Cole Cottingim hit back to back three’s right before the half to give South an 18-11 lead at halftime.

But South did not build on this momentum in the third quarter. The team actually seemed a little sloppy after the break and Newton took advantage, gradually catching up to and passing South. They were now kicking the ball inside and getting open shots at the basket. South called a time out, but to no avail. Newton had a 5 point lead in the third quarter and had actually grown the lead to 7 at one point in the fourth quarter.

Newton was running a shell offense to run some time off the clock with about 5 minutes left in the game. Coach Augspurger needed to do something to shake up the team and get them out of their doldrums. A defensive change was made and the team went to man to man defense. But the momentum change happened at the other end of the court with Cole Cottingim who provided an offensive spark when the Panthers needed it by nailing a 3 point shot. Then Matt Green scored 3 the old fashioned way - with a made shot from the floor and hitting his foul shot. Suddenly the Panther team had come to life.

Troy Innis made a trey then dropped back and made a steal at the other end of the court. So the defensive change was creating turnovers, plus the team seemed to rebounding better. Time was starting to run out now. Johnny Meyers swatted the ball away for a Panther turnover on the next Newton possession and now Newton was forced to start fouling to get the ball back. South connected from the foul line and put the game away. Narrowly escaping with a 39-36 win.

Coach Augsperger was glad to garner the win, “We played two games this week and I thought we played very well, very tough with a lot of poise and a lot of composure in the one we lost. In this game, I thought we played about as poorly as we could play – especially at the offensive end. In the third quarter their kids were moving and making shots, we weren’t talking on defense or making plays.”

He continued, “But I thought we played uptight the entire game. It seemed to me like we got off to a bad start, we got down on ourselves thinking we were going to lose. We had to play man to man there at the end and I thought we did a pretty good job. We had not played man to man hardly at all this year. We had several guys with active hands that pretty much shut them out down the stretch. “

...on Tri-Village – ‘It was a well played high school basketball game by two good teams. We turned the ball over too much, as we have had problems with at times this year. And we didn’t finish out the game, we were right there - just didn’t get it done. But I was really pleased with the mentality that we had. Tonight we were uptight, but against Tri-Village we were ready to play, but loose.”

Twin Valley South will play National Trail in the Preble Shawnee Holiday tournament on Thursday night (12/29).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The D in Dixie must stand for Defense. Last Saturday night Dixie throttled the North Panthers holding them to just 6 points in the first half. And like a pit bull latching onto its adversary, Dixie kept the defensive pressure up throughout the game. It was a pressure cooker that North could not escape from. Dixie was able to rack up an astounding 62-20 victory by the nights end. Holding a varsity team to 20 points is an impressive defensive performance in this age of the three point shot.

Dixie utilized vigorous full court pressure in the first quarter. North used one, then two timeouts to try to work out a way around the Dixie defense. Then Dixie fell back into an effective trapping defense and were still creating turnovers and making crisp passes on the offensive side to get easy points. In the second quarter, Dixie called off the full court attack and settled into a man to man half court defense that North would spend the whole night trying to figure out.
For their part North played a zone defense in the first half and played man to man in the second half. This seemed to be more effective for the second half. Although Dixie played a lot of bench players in then and slowed down the pace of the game. North generally played a single post offense and tried to cut players through the Dixie defense but just didn’t get many open looks at the basket.

Dixie definitely owned the boards for most of the night. And Dixie didn’t miss a beat with their stingy defense when they emptied their bench in the second half. Even with the starters resting and subs on the floor, Dixie was able to hold North to a scrooge-like 14 second half points. At the end of the third quarter, Dixie had a lopsided 50-11 lead. North was able to score some in the last quarter, almost doubling their total and were able to almost keep pace with Dixie who scored 12 in the last stanza.

Coach Creamer was asked for comment after the victory, “The one thing we talked about is that good basketball teams put away teams early that they are supposed to put away early. We came out focused, got the early momentum, and kept it.” …on the defense, “We told our kids early that we can be pretty successful basketball team over the long haul if we commit ourselves to playing hard on the defensive end. We are making good strides on defense, but it is not a finished product. “

…On the strong showing by the bench players in the second half, ” We have done a great job in practice of putting our best against our best – that’s players 1 through 10. Now you can only start 5 but we have 5 others guys who are ready, willing and capable. Tonight we showed that they are ready, and they need to be ready because you are always one play away from losing a starter.” …Next up – Waynesville, “They are the top team in our league and return as many players as we do. They probably have the best player in the league in Luke Credit. We have to go on the road, we will be decisive underdogs, and we are looking forward for this opportunity.”

Coach Jackson was asked about the game, “Dixie was unbelievable, that was some of the best defensive play I have seen this season. Coach Creamer is doing a great job and he has some good athletes. Our guys, we didn’t knock down shots, but we did not quit – which I was happy about. We need to get back quicker in transition. Hats off to Dixie they were a better team than us. Next week we play against Ansonia, they will play a lot of man to man against us, but I think we match up real well. It should be a real good game. “

Scoring for Dixie: Barnett 6, Gabbard 12, Grubb 11, J. Isaacs 6, M. Isaacs 10, Moore 4, Smiley 6, Watts 7. Scoring for North: Derringer 2, Diehl 4, Heltsley 3, Hutchins 4, Louthan 3, McAdams 2, Rees 1, Williams 1.
Panthers put away Ansonia
The Twin Valley South Panthers put on an impressive performance this last weekend with a decisive win over Ansonia. The home team seemed to have everything in sync while the visiting Tigers never really got on track. The Tigers did get a little traction in the second half and closed the gap a little, but South redoubled their efforts and were able to pull away with a 56-38 win.

Ansonia started off the night in a press, hoping to rattle the young South guards. But South brushed off the pressure and after half a quarter of pressure, Ansonia settled into zone. Later they would try a little man to man when the zone wasn’t effective, but they ended up playing zone most of the night. Immediately South shot out to a lead, they were attacking the Ansonia defense and making their baskets. At the end of the first quarter, South had a double digit lead 15-4.

The South defense was also on track in the first half. They played in a zone for the entire night. Ansonia didn’t get very many open looks at the basket and so when they shot, they were missing. And the South team did have a height advantage and were sweeping the ball off of boards, holding the Tigers to one attempt per possession. The zone defense was aggressive, generating turnovers and South was getting points off of transition. This allowed them to build the lead to 29-11 at the half.

South at one point had a 26 point lead. They went on a run to start the third quarter and were up 37-11, so it was beginning to look like a blow out. But South relaxed at this point and the Ansonia offense began to slowly climb back into the game. They tried a few different looks and got some advantage with a shell offense that opened up the outside shot. In the fourth quarter, they got a little run going and took a time out to set up their press once again to try one last attempt to close with the Panthers. But South was able to handle the pressure and ride out the last quarter for the victory.

Coach Tony Augsperger was asked for comment after the game, “We played really, really good basketball for about 2 and half quarters. Then I felt like we relaxed and we didn’t put them away like we should have. A good team would keep the pressure on them when we had them thirty something to eleven and extend that lead. But we let them creep back into the game, we are not good enough yet to allow teams to do that to us. “

South has a big game next Tuesday at Tri-Village(5-0), “They are the tallest team in the league and we will not have a height advantage against them. We are playing on their court; it is going to be a huge game for both teams. “ Tri-village is undefeated at this point and those are decisive wins - their closest margin of victory is 19 points. So South will have their hands full against them. South will then end the week at home on Friday against Newton(1-4).

The JV team won their game 44-33. Scoring for South: Augsperger 2, Boggs 8, Cole 4, Cottingim 7, Green 10, Innis 4, Meyers 21. Watch for upcoming coverage of the Holiday tournament.