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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.

North Wins Opener; Loses to Carlisle

Tri-County North hosted a CCC vs. SWBL weekend to kick off the girls basketball season. Northridge and Carlisle were the SWBL schools, while TVS and TCN represented the CCC. North and South split games while Carlisle won both of theirs and Northridge ended the weekend winless. North drew Northridge on Friday night and quickly took the lead and established control of the game to start their season with a decisive win. North's Cassi Stinson lead all scorers with 20 points in the 52-40 victory.

The following night North played against Carlisle. North stumbled out of the gate in this game, but after coach Cherry adjusted at halftime the team acquitted themselves somewhat by playing even with the Indians. But they had spotted the team too big of lead to make up much ground and finally fell 46-16.

Both teams opened with man to man defenses, but Carlisle was able to knife through the Panther defense and score. North changed to a zone defense, but Carlisle shot well from the outside and their scoring continued unabated. Meanwhile the Indians were hitting the boards hard and pulling in defensive rebounds – limiting North to just one shot on most possessions in the first half. And Carlisle had scouted well on opening night. Stinson, who had put up 20 on opening night, was held in check by the swarming Indian defense and would not score a single point. The Panthers were staring up at a 16-2 deficit after just one quarter.

North did try to trap a little in the 2nd quarter, but the Indians handled the pressure well and so North settled back into their zone. At halftime, a shell shocked North team was down 29-6. But coach Cherry made some adjustments at half time and got the team back on track. In the second half the team rebounded better and more importantly got their defense working – holding Carlisle to just 3 points in the 3rd quarter and a total of 15 second half points.

Still the Panthers couldn't work out the kinks in their offense and scored just 10 in the last half. So that is something the team will need to figure out going forward. Still the team finished their opening weekend at .500.

Coach Cherry commented after the Carlisle game, “We didn't come out with our shooting game. Yesterday we shot the ball well, passed the ball well, and handled the ball well. We definitely did not do that today. We might have been a little tired from yesterday, we don't have a deep bench and our starters may have been a little tired.”

She continued, “We did shoot free throws well, and that carried over from Friday night, so that is a bright spot. Another thing we didn't do well from the previous night was assists. We had 14 against Northridge, but only 4 tonight.”

Next she was asked about the teams improved performance in the second half. “We talked to our wings about their backside defense coverage. Once we got them rotating right, they took away their short corner shots. We were not getting good positioning on rebounding and again we got the players to cover their spots, we picked up our rebounding as a team.”

Tiarra Alford scored 7, Sara Harris 5, Preston Lipinski 2, Riley Cruse 2. Next up for the Panthers are Milton Union on the 24th and Northeastern on the 30th.