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Sunday, January 22, 2012

After playing 4 games in 8 days, the Dixie Greyhounds had what pretty much added up to a week off as they had only one game this week. So they were able to focus and prepare for a single opponent. The unlucky recipient of the extra attention – National Trail. It has been a tough year for the Blazers as they only have a single win this season, and the Greyhounds did not show them any love as a smothering defense and potent offense quickly dismissed any thoughts of a Blazer upset.

To counter Dixie’s man to man defense, Trail utilized a spread offense across the foul line extended. Later in the game they would use a baseline offense. Throughout the night the Blazers seemed to give up the inside game to the Greyhounds, shooting from the outside and using an occasional dribble drive to keep Dixie from sitting on their shooters. Trail started with a man to man defense, but went to a 2-3 zone in an attempt to stifle the Dixie inside game. Dixie did press some in the first quarter – and were able to convert steals into scores.

At the end of the first quarter, Dixie had a healthy 18-6 lead. They altered their half court defense and went to a trapping zone. Throughout the night, the Greyhounds would take advantage of Blazer ball handling errors and turn them into points. In the last part of the second quarter, Dixie did not allow a score and took a 35-16 lead into the locker room. Like a pit bull latching onto its quarry, Dixie would not loosen their grip when they re-entered the court. The dry spell for Trail lasted until well into the 3rd quarter, when they finally got a couple of baskets.

Trail was not able to generate much offense even when Dixie emptied their bench for the last quarter. They did try a quick line up and full court pressure to try and get some quick points on turnovers, but Dixie would have none of that. On the other hand, Dixie got at least one score from every player on their roster. Three players would score in double figures – Zach Grubb, Luke Bowling, and John Isaacs. Dixie cruised to victory 66-29.

Coacher Creamer spoke after the game, “We knew coming in that on paper, this was one of those games that we were supposed to win. Our focus was to come out and try to improve and not worry about who we were playing and what the scoreboard says. And I thought we were pretty mature tonight and did a pretty good job.”

On defense, “There is little doubt as to what we are going to hang our hat on as far as what we are – and our strength is defense. We are a half court man to man team – we know that when the going gets tough that is what we have to go and do. We are trying to evolve into something a little more complex, we are trying to use a half court trapping defense and extending that man to man to full court from time to time. But our best defense is our half court man to man and I don’t think that I have ever coached a group that wants to buy into it like this. And you give yourself a chance to win every night the way that we can sit down and defend.”

Next week – the toughest week of the season? “We are home Tuesday against Waynesville who is leading our league and has a 10 game winning streak. We then go to a tough place to go on Friday – at Northridge. And then we go to Tri-Village on Saturday night. We played that stretch a week ago where it was a tough stretch – 4 games in 8 days. We came out of that unscathed. This was a lighter week and so we used it for preparation. Next week we will find out just how good we are, but I believe our kids are excited and are looking forward to the challenge."