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Saturday, February 21, 2015

South Wins Battle of Panthers

It is an old expression, but when rivals meet you can throw out the record books. Rivals North and South ended the regular season in exciting fashion this past Friday night.  It looked for a while as though it was going to be a lopsided game.  But the game grew heated in the 4th quarter when there was an 11th hour surge that fell just short at the conclusion of the contest.

In the first quarter, it appeared that North’s Ryan Adams and South’s Wes Cole were going to put on a shooting clinic.  Each scored 11 points apiece in the first quarter for their teams. McAdams last shot of the quarter was a deep 3 point shot that hit the back of the rim – but it took an advantageous bounce straight up and swished through the net on way back down.  But South held the advantage at the end of the first period.

Both teams adjusted their defenses to put pressure on the other team’s shooters.  Anthony Augspurger and later Winston Crozier drew the task of defending McAdams in South’s man to man defense.  North adjusted their zone to take away Cole’s outside shooting.  This slowed down the pace of scoring.  And South had a decisive advantage at halftime, up 36-22.

Coming out of the break, North experimented with a man to man defense and also their offense seemed to focus on feeding the ball to the post.  But South came out and had a nice run – growing their lead to 18 points as the teams entered the last quarter. 

South was complacent in most of the 4th quarter.  The team seemed to dial back the intensity, but North seemed determined as ever.  They began to claw away at the lead one possession at a time. When they closed to 12 at the 4:44 mark, coach Augspurger took a timeout to re-focus his players. But to no avail - in another minute it was an 8 point game.  Now South was starting to sweat as the North crowd began to wake up and get into the game.  

At a minute and a half, it was 63-56 and North had the momentum. North went to the press as they tried hard to make up the difference in the little time left.  But South awakened from their slumber and scored on their next three possessions.  They were fouled on two made layups and made those free throws, then hit a shot from the field. This stretched out the lead again.  And North could not generate any offense when they needed it the most and would finally fall 72-56.

“This makes like 15 quarters in a row where we have not played good defensively,” stated a frustrated coach Augspurger,  “We are going in the wrong direction.  I am clearly not happy with the way that we have playing. We had a great defensive game against Tri-Village – and we have not done that since.”

“There is no doubt that Wes’s last half of the season has been great,” replied coach Augspurger when asked about Wes Cole, He is playing with a lot of confidence.  I think a lot of it is that he is relying on the 3 point shot less, and attacking the basket more. Obviously we need him to keep doing the things that he has been doing. “

  On North’s McAdams, “McAdams played well, as a matter of fact he was great.  He had a fun night – he did some outstanding things.”

“I thought we started slow,” stated North’s coach King afterwards, “that has been the case the last 6 games.  It is tough when you have to fight back from a deficit.  We did do some good things tonight. Our defensive pressure was better, but I thought offensively we were lacking.“

About Ryan McAdams game, “He slowed down a bit in the second half, but still had a great game. He is very quick and athletic.  He has learned to take what the defense gives him.  When he plays within himself he is hard for other teams to handle.  What happens is the defense hedges down on him more and that opens things up for the other players.  There are 2-3 guys watching what he does, and the other players can cut to the basket. We were able to exploit that and get some layups.”

Scoring for North: “McAdams 29, Edgin 4, Cordes 2, Pitcock 7, Branson 4, Vanbrederode 10. South: Cole 26, Jason Utz 3, Cottingim 7, Bassler 5, Crozier 10, Augspurger 14, JJ Utz 7

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