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Sunday, February 01, 2015

Dixie Ends Week on Down Note

Dixie had a promising start to the week on Tuesday with an exciting come from behind victory against Oakwood – a team that is in second place in the big school division of the SWBL.  But Dixie was not able to springboard off of that momentum in weekend games with Madison and National Trail.  Instead falling to Madison 65-45 and then to National Trail 63-56.
The Trail game was an exciting one. Both teams have similar records – each came into the game with 5 wins.  But when closely matched teams pair up, it can lead to an exciting game.  There were multiple lead changes and each team had some good runs with the game not being decided until the final minute.
Trail was cold shooting out of the game, so it was Dixie that had the early advantage.  With 3:10 left Dixie was up 9-3.  But Trail got their motor running and closed out the quarter in a flurry and closed the first stanza with the lead 16-13.

Dixie had been driving to the basket to earn their points and Trail went from man to man defense to a zone defense to counter that.  Dixie then staked out the perimeter and started to connect from long distance, pulling Trail back into man to man.  In a similar fashion, Dixie went from man to man to zone towards the end of the half as Trail extended their lead – closing out the half on top 38-25.

 Dixie had a rough time making up the differential in the 3rd quarter.  Both teams scrapped and made hustle plays. And when bodies are flying, fouls start to accumulate – for both teams.  Shane Hale got his third foul late in the quarter.  By early in the 4th quarter, both teams were getting bonus.

Trail entered the last quarter with a double digit lead.  Dixie started to press and they were effective in getting turnovers – both from steals and from Trail mishandling the ball.  And so they began to chip away at the Trail lead. Trail went into a slowdown style of offense in the half court.  Spreading the court and being deliberate with the ball.

Both teams were in double bonus but Trail was hitting their shots from the charity stripe while Dixie was 4 of 12 for that critical quarter.  Still Dixie had a nice 9-2 run in the waning minutes to make it a 2 point game (56-54) when Cody Grubb connected from the field at the one minute mark.  From there Dixie resorted to fouling, but with Trail connecting on their free throws, their lead slowly extended and it was 63-56 at the buzzer. Justin Leonard had a monster second half for the Greyhounds scoring 14 of his team high 16 points in that span.

“We should never have been in that position, stated coach Williams when asked about the teams 4th quarter comeback, “National Trail played a great game. But we are not playing defense right now. When we beat Preble Shawnee and Oakwood it was because we defended.  We are letting teams cut to the baseline, dribbling around us to the basket, and it puts us in the hole.  We don’t score enough to get into a deep hole.  We have to defend and we are not doing that right now.”

Oakwood: “The Oakwood game we defended. They came out on us early with their talented big guy. But we fought thru it and were able to defend him better in the second half.  If we can defend for 32 minutes instead of 16, you can see the difference.”

Scoring for Dixie: Cody Grubb 12, Justin Leonard 16, Shane Hale 10, Blaine Miller 10, Joe Gengler 3, Justin Keirns 3, Ethan Arnet 2.

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