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Thursday, December 31, 2015

South Runners Up in Shawnee Tournament

South entered the Shawnee Holiday tournament with some momentum -having defeated Bethel (only 1 loss at the time) the week before. After fending off rival Tri-County North in the first round, South encountered Talawanda in the finals. The Braves had defeated host Shawnee the night before 58-39. And they were able to go through South like a buzzsaw. An unrelenting man to man defense and an offense that could sink the 3 pointer as well as drive the ball in to paint made short work of the Panthers who would fall 46-32.

In the North game, South had to have someone else step up when their leading scorer, Jacob Bassler, was saddled with a North defender close by for a good bit of the game. Both JJ Utz (13 points) and Winston Crossier(15) points stepped up their games to help make up the difference. Bassler would still score 18 points on the night despite the extra attention.

South allowed North to creep back into the game in the last 3 minutes. And suddenly it was a 2 point game and the momentum was all North. But with about 18 seconds left and South with the ball, North had to foul. JJ Utz was sent to the line and he calmly sunk 2 free throws to pull South 2 scores in front. North turned over the ball on their next possession and South was able to run out the clock and preserve the win.

The story was different in the Championship game. South has been able to get points off of turnovers against other teams, but they found both turnovers and points hard to come by against the Braves. It was 19-6 at the end of the 1st quarter and 32-14 at halftime. Late in the 2nd half they did resort to a trapping half court defense and did generate some turnovers. South closed the gap somewhat but the Braves had plenty of cushion in their lead and were able to end the night with a comfortable victory. It was a disappointing end to the tournament for South.

South did put 2 players on the all tournament team – JJ Utz and Jacob Bassler. They lead scoring for South against Talawanda with 8 and 20 points respectively.

“Any game this year where we are not the hardest working team on the floor we are going to lose,” stated coach Augspurger, “I told that to the team tonight. We are not big, we are somewhat athletetic – but not physically gifted enough to get by on talent alone. We win by defense and effort. Talawanda came out and they were aggressive and physical. We did not meet their challenge. They took it to us and they were the more aggressive team. They were hungry tonight and it showed.”

He continued, “We got shell shocked early, and I took some timeouts to get settled down – but I could not find the right buttons to push. The only positive that I can come away with is our 4th quarter defense. We only worked on that trap a couple of times in practice, but we came out and did it with intensity. So that kept us from getting totally embarrassed.”

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