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Sunday, December 30, 2012

How Sweet it is: South Wins Second Tournament

Both North and South had success in the Preble Shawnee Holiday Tournament albeit in different ways.  South was able to capture their 2nd championship in a row – winning their own Tip Off tournament to start the season and then winning the Holiday Tournament.  North won the consolation game, ending a 5 game skid. Although North had a nail biter - having to go to overtime before they earned that win.

On opening night South played National Trail. South nailed their outside shots in the first half and behind their zone defense they built a 31-14 halftime lead.  Trail countered in the second half with a press and even went to all guard line up to generate some turnovers, but South shrugged it off and maintained their lead.  Also in the second half Trail tried to connect on 3 point shots, but failed to find the hoop even though they were getting open looks and meanwhile South was cleaning the glass – holding Trail to one shot attempt per possession.  South won easily 59 to 40.  Wes Cole and Mike Green lead the team in scoring while Anthony Augspurger hauled in 12 rebounds, Seth Baker 7.

North’s first round game was against host Preble Shawnee.  And in the opening quarter, it looked like North was going to dominate completely.  Shawnee was playing sloppy and North took advantage starting the game with a 10-2 run.  Shawnee used a zone defense and pressed a little, while North played a man to man defense in the half court.  Shawnee settled down and in the second quarter they finished strong – using their inside game to catch North and then go into the locker room with a 26-25 lead at the half.

The two teams fought back and forth thru the 3rd quarter and entered the last quarter in a 35 all tie.  But about 2 minutes into the last quarter things began to fall apart for North – their post player Josh Heltsley who had been clogging up the middle went to the bench with his 4th foul, and seconds later they were hit with an intentional foul.  Shawnee had a 5 point lead at that point. Then inexplicably both teams went into a scoring drought that lasted almost 3 minutes.   And as the clocked clicked closer to the end of the game, Shawnee went into a slowdown.  North began to foul and Shawnee hit their foul shots and would break open a close game and win comfortably 53-40.  It was another hard fought loss for North. Scoring for North: Billy Derringer 10, Austin Hutchins 18, Amani Cunningham 6, Josh Heltsley 6.

So the next night North played Trail in the consolation game.  This time North was playing from behind as the Blazers came out on fire. Their outside shooting, led by Williams, was dead on as Trail quickly built a 16-4 lead based upon the 3 point shot.  North adjusted and fought back – finishing the quarter strong as Austin Hutchins hit a 3 point shot launched from half court at the buzzer.  Still Trail had the advantage 18-12.
Trail became more deliberate in their offense in the second quarter but maintained their lead at the half.  In the second half, it became obvious that Trail was paying extra attention to Hutchins, but he maintained his level of scoring.  The pace of the 4th quarter was furious as the two teams battled back and forth for the lead.  But as regulation ran out, it was a 51 all tie.  The first minute of overtime was slow paced.  But at the 2 minute mark North got back to back buckets from  Hutchins and Heltsley to extend their lead and get some breathing space.   And now it was Trail forced to foul North and with North hitting their shots from the charity stripe they extended their lead and ended the year on an up note with a 67-59 victory.

“It was a hard fought game”, stated North’s coach Jackson afterwards, “We just executed better at the end and played good defense.  It was an awful first half, we are much better than that. But we had good senior leadership from Billy Derringer and Josh Heltsley – they really stepped up and did their jobs.  Austin Hutchins had a double double – 33 points and 10 rebounds.  This win means a lot to these guys, I am so proud of them and the way they responded in the second half.  You can have all the plays in the world, but you have to have the desire to win, and this team was inspired to win tonight – they really wanted it.”
This set up the championship game between South and Shawnee.  The teams sparred evenly in the first half.  Both teams began in a zone and Shawnee pressed a little, but called it off.  The teams were tied at the half with 29 points apiece.  After the game, coach Augspurger related that he challenged his team to play tougher defense in his half time talk and then switched the teams defense to man to man.  The effect was immediate.  South broke the game open with an 11-2 run to start the second half.

Shawnee closed the gap at the end of the 3rd quarter with the help of some South turnovers.  Still South had a 3 point lead as the game entered the final quarter.  In an attempt to make a run Shawnee went to a man to man defense and also pressed.  But South was undeterred and extended their lead.  South rebounded well – limiting Shawnee’s second chances on missed shots.  South scored 60 points in their victory. South had 3 players score in double figures:  Wes Cole 17, Jesse Wysong 3, Mike Green 23, Anthony Augspurger 3, Seth Baker 14. After the game, Wes Cole was named most valuable player for the tournament and Mike Green and Jesse Wysong were named to the all-tournament team.  Also North’s Austin Hutchins was selected for the all-tournament team.

“I have long believed that winning is a habit”, stated coach Augspurger afterwards, “the last 4 years we have had less than a winning habit than what I am used to as a coach here at South.  We are scratching the surface of where we can be for a young team. The team is 5 and 2 right now.  We act like we are young at times, and make young mistakes.  Tonight I challenged them, I gave them more of a tongue lashing at half time than I have all year long.  But that was because we played with no defensive integrity in the first half. “

He continued, “The bottom line in sports, in any sport – is to be good on defense.  Basketball is no exception.  They responded really well for the most part.  We defended much better in the second half.  Tonight was Mike Greens best all-around game.  He had a good tournament – made his free throws last night, he shot better tonight and pressured shots on defense.  And Wes Cole has responded very well in all 4 tournament games that we have played this season.  Last night he shot the lights out.  Tonight he really rebounded well and he took 3 charges in the game.  He does not let mistakes faze him and you can’t coach that.  He can miss a shot or make a mistake on defense and just come back and play that much harder.   Seth Baker made some nice shots for us tonight.  Anthony Augspurger played well against Trail, and defended well in the second half tonight.  But as a team we have to keep getting better.”