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Sunday, January 08, 2012

Dixie fast and furious over Northridge

The action was fast and furious in the first quarter of the Dixie – Northridge game this past Friday night. Northridge is quick, athletic team and tries to score in transition. Dixie went into full court pressure early to the Northridge ball handlers. The result was a lot of fast action up and down the court. In the half court Dixie was working the ball inside to their post players while Northridge used a shell offense to dribble drive to the basket for shots. Dixie got the upper hand early with a 18-10 lead at the end of the quarter.

Both teams slowed the pace of the game down somewhat - mainly playing half court defense. Northridge shifted to a zone defense to try and take away the inside game of Dixie. This initially slowed down the Dixie offense and allowed Northridge to creep their way back into the game. And after losing Gabbard the Dixie faithful had to watch anxiously when Andrew Barnett went down hard after taking a charge. He had to come out of the game, but when Dixie went to a quick lineup to close out the quarter he re-entered the game and drilled a three pointer. Not to be outdone, Logan Watts sunk a buzzer beater to give Dixie a 29-23 lead at the half.

After the half, Northridge went on a run to tie the game at 29-all. They employed a half-court trap and got some easy baskets from turnovers. Dixie took a time out to sort out their strategy. And they actually began doing some trapping themselves and got their offense back in sync. Once again it was Andrew Barnett who helped spark a Dixie rally with a timely three. John Isaacs and Luke Bowling also connected to extend the Dixie lead once again.

Watching basketball these days - most scoring is done either close to the basket, or behind the three point line. But Dixie shooters Luke Bowling and Mike Smiley used the old school mid-range 8-10 foot jump shot effectively in this game. Northridge didn’t seem to have an answer. They shifted to a full court press after closing to 3 points in the fourth quarter. But Dixie handled the pressure well and began to deliberately run their offense in the half court to use up clock. With the full court pressure from Northridge, Dixie calmly found openings and John Isaacs broke the game open with back to back baskets. When Northridge took a second timeout at the 3:30 mark, Dixie put in their quick line up.

From there, the game took a familiar path. Northridge tried to launch 3’s to get back in the game, but the Dixie post players swept the glass – pulling in all the rebounds. John Isaacs would end the night with a double double – a remarkable 16 rebounds and 20 points. When Northridge fouled, Dixie shooters were deadly accurate, hitting 8 out of 10 in the fourth quarter. After time ran out, Dixie had chalked up another league win, 62-50.

Coach Creamer spoke afterwards, “That was our closest effort at a complete 4 quarter basketball game, it came after our best week of preparation in practice. Hopefully our kids see that correlation. …when we took the floor tonight I felt that we deserved to win because we prepared to beat Northridge for 4 straight days in practice.”

…on having 7 players score, “When Ryan Gabbard went down with the injury we told our kids that none of you are going to replace Ryan Gabbard, but all of you need to step it up a little and fill that void. Mike Smiley had by far his most productive night. Luke Bowling finally got alive at the offensive end for us. And John Isaacs played the way that we all expected him to play night in and night out. We played two sophomore guards [Griffin Moore, Logan Watts] tonight and they are growing up in front of us. And they are only going to continue to get better. “

Next week will be a battle of route 35 as the TVS boys and girls teams play at Dixie on Saturday night. It will be one of those days with all the basketball you can eat! The capstone of the night should be the varsity boys matchup featuring a two big men, John Isaacs of Dixie vs. Johnny Meyers of South. How these two perform offensively and defensively against each other should have a big impact on the outcome. The schedule is as follows: JV boys 2:30 tip off; JV girls 4pm; Varsity girls 5:30; Varsity boys 7pm. The host school will have a spaghetti dinner (all you can eat of course) from 4pm to 6pm.
TVS Over Eaton
It was an electric atmosphere in the Twin Valley South gym this last Saturday night. Partly because they were playing their neighbors to the West – Eaton, who brought a lot of fans to the game. And partly because it was ‘black out’ night for South fans. The vocal TVS student section was filled floor to rafters with fans clad in black. The hometown team seemed to feed off of this emotion as they promptly went on an 11-2 run to start the game. Eaton took a time out to cool the Panthers, but were down 15-5 at the end of one quarter.

South played a zone for most of the night while Eaton started in man to man, switching to zone to stop the potent South post game. South did assign a defender to Eaton’s Cole French – Anthony Augspurger drew this task. French had scored 23 points the night before against Bellbrook, but against South he managed only 3. An impressive defensive showing for the freshman. South closed out the half strong and had a commanding 34-17 lead.

But a week earlier, Eaton had spotted Dixie a healthy halftime lead and had a furious fourth quarter where they held Dixie to 2 points and scored over 20 points to beat the Hounds. Coming out of the locker room South seemed to play a little sloppy and sure enough the Eagles began to chip away at their lead. Eaton had gone back to man to man and South was deliberately running their offense to slow down the game.

Starting guard Troy Innis hurt his leg in a scramble for the ball and had to leave the game for a few minutes in the fourth quarter. Things were not looking for the Panthers as Eaton had now gotten the lead down to single digits and with South bricking their foul shots, they seemed to have gained the momentum. The Eaton fans who had to sit on their hands the first 3 quarters came to life as their team positioned themselves for a comeback.

Coach Augspurger took a timeout, put Troy Innis back on the court and went to an aggressive man to man defense at the 4 minute mark. These changes woke up the lethargic team and they promptly derailed the Eaton comeback. Now the it was time for the Panther fans in black to make noise as South went work and scored baskets at a blistering pace. Johnny Meyers and Troy Innis combined to score almost all of South’s 19 fourth quarter points.

“We’ve still got to put together a full game,” noted Coach Augspurger afterwards, “we put together about 26 pretty good minutes tonight. We played very well in the first half, we adjusted to the fact that the officials were consistent and called a tight game – something we haven’t always done this season. On defense we did a lot of good things , Johnny Myers was great tonight – we had to ride on his back a little bit. All in all it was an excellent win for us. ”

…on the switch to man to man defense, “We had to do that because their other guys starting making shots. So we made the switch and I think that energized our kids. Plus Troy Innis had a cramp in his leg, he sat on the bench to get it taken care of and those extra minutes of rest refreshed him. He came on the court like a banshee and gave us a great two minutes; then Johnny Myers went crazy at the end – he seemed to grab every loose rebound and did the things that Johnny always does.

…on the loud crowd, “I thought our student body was awesome tonight. They did a great job, I just want to see them keep coming back. When the community is supporting the team, it can be a lot of fun. “

Scoring for TVS: Augspurger 7, Cole 5, Cottingim 8, Green 4, Innis 14, Myers 24.