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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

North Opens Season in Indiana

With North’s football season being extended by their playoff run, the start of the basketball season was delayed.  So while all the other area teams started a week earlier, this last Saturday marked the opening of the season for the Panthers.  Their opponents were the Seton Catholic Cardinals in Richmond, Indiana.  A team that had already played a handful of games and so were battle tested. Also to add to the difficulty level, North only returns 3 players with varsity experience from last year’s season.  So for many of North’s roster, this was their first varsity game.

With a taller team, the Cardinals packed into a 2-3 zone and dared the Panthers to shoot from outside.  The Panthers couldn’t settle into a groove on offense.  They had some opening night ball handling problems at times, so turnovers didn’t help their cause.  But although they hit the rim most of the night, they had problems getting their shots to drop.  And with their height advantage, Seton was hauling in most of the rebounds, limiting the Panthers to just one shot attempt.

At the other end of the court, the Panthers struggled to find an answer for Desmond Bane, an athletic player for Seton, who would score 26 points on the night – almost half of their points.  This despite sitting out the 4th quarter.  He could drive the ball to basket – and Seton did run an old school NBA style clear out play for him.  But he could also pull up and drain a 3.  North started in a man to man defense, but switched to a zone.  But neither defense slowed down the pace of Cardinal scoring. 
By games end the score was 58-28 in favor of the Cardinals.  Their record is now 5-1, while North is 0-1. Scoring for North: MacAdams 6, Louthan 5, McCullough 4, Edgin 4, Cordes 3, Woodyard 4, Vanbroderode 2.

“We did all right in the first quarter, but we got away from our game,” stated coach King after the game. “We made way too many turnovers and had problems shooting the ball.  They came in 5 games into their season and this was our first game.”

Did the late start to the season have an effect: “Three of our players were on the football team. The rest have been able to practice together the entire time. So in my mind, it wasn’t really a factor.”

Next week North plays Trail and Dixie.  “Trail is playing way better ball than they did last year so that game will be tough.  And Dixie always plays us hard.  So we expect good games from both teams.”

South Survives Against Trail

Although their record does not yet reflect it, Trail is playing better basketball this season. They played with South all night long and fell just short at games end.   It was a one point game at halftime and although South had a nice 3rd quarter run and built their longest lead of the night – 7 points, Trail made a run of their own in the 4th quarter, had the game tied, but lost in the last minute 42-40.

South though was cold in their outside shooting.  Coach Augspurger would report afterwards that South was an abysmal 2 for 17 in the first half from the 3 point line and for the game was 5 of 28. Something that will have to change for the team to be successful. But the defense was aggressive the entire night. South pressed some early, but the Trail guards handled the ball well so South had to drop it. So they played in your face man to man in the half court for most of night.  They did mix in some zone defense to give Trail a different look.  Trail played in a zone defense for the entire game.

The last minute or so was where the rubber met the road in this game.  After Trail tied the score, South’s Wes Cole drove to the hoop and made a layup to put South back on top. With 28 seconds left Trail tried to set up a play.  But the South defense was up to the task and did not give Trail the shot that they wanted, holding on for the narrow 2 point win. Anthony Augspurger had a double double – scoring 15 and snagging 10 rebounds on  the night. Other scores for South: Cole 14, Cottingim 4, Bassler 8, Osborn 1.

Coach Augspurger was asked about Anthony Augspurger, “He played well and shot well, I thought he had a good night.  He made a lot of big shots for us.  We were behind in the second quarter and he got us going to get the lead back.  He played solid defense and got a lot of rebounds.”

Wes Cole: “His shot selection was better, but his shots just weren’t dropping for him.  If he keeps taking good shots, he’s going to get rolling – it just hasn’t happened yet.  But Jacob Bassler had 2 big three’s when Trail was making a run. We’ve been working on shooting a lot in practice and we are going to need to work on it more.  I feel our defense is close to where we need it to be, but we need more offense. We have to figure out ways to score.”

Next week South travels to play a solid Miami East team: “They have size, they have 5 starters back from a team that made it to the sectional finals.  We have to defend very well, we need to handle their pressure.  Obviously Tri-Village is the team to beat this season in the CCC – but Miami East is right there.”