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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

South Trounces Eagles; Short Against Stivers

South hosted a tip off tournament to open the first weekend of the boys basketball season.  Friday night South played against the Eaton Eagles and the team methodically took apart the Eagles. South had a 27-14 halftime lead.  Eaton rallied in the third quarter, but South ran away with the game in the final quarter with a 23 point burst to defeat Eaton 60-40.

This set up the championship game against Stivers who had won the previous night against Dixie.  The Tigers are tall and athletic while South’s tallest player was only 6’2”.  For a long while South has had the advantage of tall post players.  So this year’s team has to be scrappy and opportunistic on defense to be competitive. That was the way the team played against Eaton and Stivers.

Both teams pressed a little in the early going, but gradually settled into half court defenses with South in a zone and Stivers playing man to man. South started cold with some sloppy play that let Stivers get an early 8-2 advantage.  Coach Augspurger took a time out after about 4-5 turnovers and got the team sailing straight.  South was down 14-20 at the first break and that seemed to set the tone for night where Stivers would lead most of the way and South would stay on their heels.

Stivers has decent depth this season and so they could go with a short, quick lineup – then with a line change go to a taller, more physical line up.  That made it tough defensively for South to have to adjust back and forth. Still after trailing the entire game, South tied up the game at 40 all when Winston Crozier hit a shot late in the 3rd quarter.  Stivers could feel the pressure as South doggedly stayed on their heels – tying the game several times in the late 3rd and 4th quarters.  But South never could get that push to go ahead.

South rested their starters going into the last quarter and when they re-entered the court Wes Cole picked up his 3rd, then 4th foul and had to go back to the bench.  He did re-enter the game with about 2 and half minutes left.  And with South fouling to get possession of the ball, he delivered a 3 point shot to put South back within 1 with 23 seconds left.  South got the ball back again after a foul and set up a play with 15 seconds left.  They got the shot they wanted – but it wouldn’t drop and South fell in a heated game 55-53.

 “We just didn’t make enough shots,” said Coach Augspurger after the game. “but we did everything else.  I thought we battled well, we had some problems with their pressure – but we adjusted. We didn’t back down at all.  I don’t know what our shooting percentage was, but it couldn’t have been very good.”

He continued, “We had some opportunities in the 4th quarter to score and we just didn’t score.  We tied it up, but we just couldn’t get the lead.  Sometimes getting the lead changes the mentality of the game.  And we just never got there – we were always playing from behind.  We shoot free throws a little better, or we make a layup and it changes the game.”

Jacob Bassler and Wes Cole were high points for South, “Jacob Bassler had a good tournament.  He had a great second quarter against Eaton.  And he played well today, he attacked the basket.  And we need him to continue to get better.  Wes struggled shooting the ball at times.  He did not have his best weekend shooting, but we know what he can do – he can make things happen.”

Wes Cole and Anthony Augspurger made the All-Tournament team for South.  Scoring against Stivers: Wes Cole 14, Jacob Bassler 15, Winston Crozier 4, Anthony Augspurger 8, Jake Osborn 5, JJ Utz 4.

This coming Friday South plays at Trail, a team that is hoping to bounce back from last years disappointing record.

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