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Sunday, December 06, 2015

Hounds Overcome North

The Dixie Greyhounds won their first home game of the season, notching a victory over the Tri-County North Panthers. It was a fiercely contested battle between the two teams. Dixie had to over come a deficit that ran for the most of the first half and then fend off of a late comeback attempt by North for a 59-54 victory.

North had the early momentum. They shot well from the field against Dixie's opening man to man defense and rebounded well on the defensive side of the court, limiting Dixie to one shot per possession. But Dixie began adjusting their defense and shifted over to a zone defense. This seemed to slow the pace of North's scoring and Dixie began to chip away at North's lead.

North lead at the end of the first quarter 14-9, but Dixie made a nice run to close out the half. Dixie had been driving to the basket to score, so North shifted into a 2-3 zone to pack in players close to the basket. The Hounds made North pay, by connecting on their outside shots. North was finally forced to change to a man to man defense to pressure the guards. But Dixie, thanks in part to Joey Gengler's 3 - 3 point shots, tied the score at 23-all towards the end of the quarter and then marched into the locker room with a 30-28 lead.

In the second half, Dixie was able to extend their lead. Dixie shot well, while North seemed to have cooled off – particularly in the 4th quarter. At one point, Dixie held a double digit lead. North made a good run at the Hounds at the end of the game. But they missed some critical shots inside. Meanwhile, Devon Worley, who would score 20 points for Dixie, nailed 5 of 6 free throws to protect the lead.

Still North's new head coach, Dale Spitler, was pleased with the effort, “We played well in the first and second quarters. We rebounded well. Kurt Brinson gave us 25 points. We competed – but we missed a lot of close and easy shots at the end. We were pulling down offensive rebounds, but couldn't capitalize on them. But overall I has happy with their effort.

Coach Spitler has gotten the team playing good basketball in a short period of time. This is his first varsity head coach position and to make things even tougher – he was unable to do anything with the team this summer when teams are doing summer leagues. So he has had a short period of time to make his mark on this team. But the team does have good ball movement on offense and he has them playing hard nosed defense. Plus the Panthers did not fold when they faced an 11 point deficit, they battled back and had their chances at the end. So the team is heading in the right direction.

Dixie's coach Williams commented after the game, “I have to give credit to the kids for this win. We have 2 guys out with injury and we had 2 guys get into foul trouble tonight. The bench played well for us. Joey Gengler gave us a spark off the bench tonight – he hit some big 3 points shots in the second quarter. And Devon Worley gave us a good game, his best game for Dixie to date, and he is only a sophomore. His free throws were critical in closing the game out. But as a team we need to learn how to close games out – the competition only gets harder from here.”

Next week Dixie returns to the road playing at Waynesville on Friday night and at rival Brookville on Saturday night. North has a huge mountain to climb as they host Franklin on the 8th – even without Luke Kennard (now playing at Duke), they are a tough division 2 team. Then the Panthers open league play at neighboring National Trail high school on the 11th.

South Hits High Gear in Second Half

Twin Valley South sparred with National Trail for about 2 and half quarters. Neither team able to gain much of an edge, but after a time out – and good talking too by coach Augspurger, the team found high gear in the 3rd quarter and raced ahead for a decisive win. Senior Jacob Bassler sparked the rally with back to back 3's and South never looked back as they outscored Trail 32-6 the rest of the way for a 53-27 victory.

The teams played evenly in the first half and South had a slim 1 point lead at the break – 17-16. South was getting shots, but they just were not dropping. The score was tied at 21-all midway through the 3rd quarter when South made their move. South scored 3 - 3 point shots in a row to break the game open. That seemed to spark the team defensively as well as offensively. They smothered any attempt at a comeback by Trail.

Coach Augpurger later stated that the teams defensive intensity was sparked at that time too. That fed into a rally as South's defense got turnovers and translated those into points on the offensive end of the court. Trail could not figure out South and were frustrated offensively.

Coach Augspurger was asked about Jacob Bassler, “He has gotten off to a good start this season. He has been the scorer that we thought that he would be, his 3 point shots in the 3rd quarter are what really sparked the rally. We just took off from there.”

This next week South will have to be giant slayers. Both of the teams that they play will have height. While South doesn't have much height at all. But coach Augspurger stated that the team prepared for the season by scrimmaging tall teams in preparation for weeks like this where they play teams with size.

“Valley View has 2 kids who are around 6' 4” or so and they are good. One plays mainly in the post, while the other can shoot from outside,” stated coach Augspurger, “and Miami East, well they are the tallest team in the league. They are always tall, but this year they even more size and experience. Both they and Tri-Village are preseason favorites to be at the top of the conference. So if we want to have a shot at a league championship, that game is going to be a must win for us.”

South will host Valley View on Tuesday and then Miami East on Friday.

Scoring for South: Ryan Bassler 3, Cottingim 9, Myers 4, Jacob Bassler 15, Crosier 6, Ehler 4, Utz 3, Lovely 9.