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Sunday, November 22, 2015

South Ends Weekend With a Win

South got their first win of the season under new head coach Jeff Case on Saturday night against Northridge. The team made it closer than it should have been by relaxing in the 4th quarter and allowing Northridge to make a run and close to within 2 scores, but South held off the Polar Bears late charge and left with a 45-37 win to even up their record at 1-1.

The previous night South opened their season against the Carlisle Indians. And after playing with Carlisle for the first half, Carlisle took control of the game in the second half and ran away with the game 56-26. It was a disappointing way for South to start their season, and so they came into Saturdays game hungry for a win.

The first quarter was all South as they created points from turnovers on the defensive end of the court. South trapped a little in the half court and also used a zone defense. South pushed the ball hard on steals, but they were able to score in their half court offense as well. Northridge used a variety of defenses on the night – using man to man and several zone defenses to try and slow down South scoring. But none of them were effective in the first half as South had a 15-1 lead in the first quarter and a respectable 28-10 lead at the half.

Northridge did adjust and swapped out point guards. And they began to take care of the ball better, so South got fewer points from turnovers in the second half, slowing their pace of scoring. The two teams played evenly in the 3rd quarter. Still South had a commanding 37-16 lead entering the last quarter.

South seemed to relax at this point, thinking the game was in hand. Sloppy ball handling and lax defense on the perimeter allowed Northridge to get turnovers on defense and connect on 3 pointers on offense. Suddenly it was a 43-37 game and Northridge was 2 shots away from tying the ball game. As the clock was winding down, Northridge began to foul – but South was missing the front end of 1 and 1's. Finally Abby Creech hit critical 2 foul shots to put the game out of reach and South held off Northridge's final charge for the win.

Coach Case had this to say after the game, “We had a lot of energy yesterday and we competed with Carlisle for about a half. We got out of our game plan and tried to comeback, but fell short. Tonight we got that same energy for all 4 quarters. They followed the game plan well – attacked the basket and were offensive minded. I thought in the 4th quarter we played not to lose instead of playing to win – but we will work on that. But this is all a process; it was good for the girls to get the win.”

Next he was asked about changing the program, “This is all a learning process. Teaching them how to lose and bounce back. How to go for a win. How to watch film, turn that into drills and improve for the next game. It isn't going to happen overnight. But they are buying into the system and I am proud of their effort tonight.”

Coach Case comes to South with about 20 years of coaching experience locally. He took a year off last year for family reasons and is back as a head coach. He is now refreshed and rejuvenated. He mentioned Rick Hickman and Steve Fisher as coaching mentors for him professionally.

South plays at Miami East on the 24th for their 1st conference game. Then they play at Dixie on the 30th.

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