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Sunday, January 24, 2016

South Splits Weekend Games

South had to play two tough games on the road this past weekend. They ended up splitting the games, bu their win was a league win, which moves them up a spot in the league standings. Mississinawa Valley has been playing some good basketball this season and are in the top half of the CCC with Twin Valley South. It was a defensive game where the two teams sparred all 4 quarters and South managed to come away with the win, but it took some 4th quarter heroics to walk out with the victory.

South was up at halftime, but the score was 17-16. So scores were hard to come by for both teams. South was playing tough defense, but on offense shots were not dropping for them. However, the Blackhawks were able to pull ahead in the 3rd quarter and put some daylight between themselves and the Panthers. They had a 6 point lead going into the last quarter.

South responded in a big way behind the shooting of Jacob Bassler. He scored 14 of his 25 points down the stretch. South went on 12-1 run to pull ahead and try to take the drivers seat. But the Blackhawks recovered and clawed their way back. They retook the lead with less than a minute left in the game. South was down one and inbounded the ball under their own basket with just 15 seconds left. Jacob Bassler scored on a layup and put South up by one and then Chad Ehler was fouled at the other end of the floor and hit a free throw to provide South with a 2 point win – 44 to 42.

“I thought it was a very good win for us,” said coach Augspurger after the game, “We got a win against a team in the top half of our league on the road. It was a tight game, and Jacob Bassler had a huge 4th quarter. We struggled to score, Bassler had 25 and Mike Meyers had 11 and so between them was the bulk of our scoring. It was one of our better defensive efforts.”

South traveled to Brookville the following night. And it is tough to play two emotional games back to back – in the first quarter it seemed like South might have spent all their emotional energy at Mississinawa Valley. Brookville came out hard and intense in the first quarter, and rang up 22 points on the Panthers. Something that the normally stingy Panthers don't often do.

South played even with Brookville the remainder of the game and made a couple of runs at them, but couldn't overcome the deficit. They pulled to within 5 points of the Blue Devils once and in the 4th quarter they were at 7 points down but once they saw the Panthers in the rearview mirror, they went into high gear and pulled ahead. The Panthers fell 67-55.

“I thought that in the 1st quarter that they brought more energy than we did.” commented coach Augspurger, “This game and Talawanda are the only two games where I really felt that the other team came in much more inspired at the start than we did. Both of those two teams were bigger than us and physically better – and if you can't match that, then you can't be the team that brings less energy. “

Next up for South is a game against a resurgent Franklin Monroe who has a transfer that is now active and a freshman who can score, “Franklin Monroe is playing better. They had some struggles at the start of the year. They started like 2-6. But they have a freshman, Ethan Conley, who is coming into his game and scored 32 points recently. This is not going to be an easy game.”

Dixie Bounces Back

After dropping 3 games last week, Dixie was able to bounce back and notch a couple of victories. But the wins were not easy. And in between the two wins, Dixie had to play league leading Northridge. The Polar Bears have been chewing up SWBL competition - they are undefeated in league play and unless something drastic happens they will end the season that way. So although Dixie was tagged with that loss, it was a positive week for the Hounds as they book ended wins on either side of the Northridge game.

First up for Dixie was Waynesville, a team that they had defeated earlier in the season. The team may have been too relaxed going into the game as they allowed the Spartans to pull ahead in the early going, allowing the Spartans to go to the locker room at half time with a 6 point lead. They then grew the lead to 10 points in the second half.

With their backs against the wall, Dixie began to battle their way back in the 4th quarter. They gradually caught up with Waynesville and actually had the lead. But they allowed the Spartans to score a tying layup to put the game into overtime. Once again the score was close but Dixie managed to eek out a 2 point victory 73-71, thanks in part to Justin Keirns who padded the Dixie lead from the foul line.

Next was Northridge. The Hounds played with the Polar Bears for about a quarter and half. Then the Polars seemed to wake and decide it time to stop playing around. They seemed to score at will and defensively they shut down Dixie. Their dominating post player Drew Ogletree scored 21 points and held Dixie's post player, Cody Grubb to just 6. The final was Northridge 67 and Dixie 45.

The final contest of the week was against National Trail. The Blazers shot well early on and pulled ahead for the lead. Dixie was in a zone and Trail was shooting well from outside. Dixie would later go to a man to man to get more pressure on the perimeter. But they did press successfully in the first half and they were able to get points from turnovers. Trail was up by 2 in the 1st quarter, but Dixie made a good run in the 2nd quarter and captured the lead by halftime, 29-21.

Dixie did hit some shots from the outside, but a lot of their scoring was close in to the basket. Post player Cody Grubbs and Blake Miller scored scored 21 and 20 points respectively and most of these were from driving to the basket. Also it was good to see Dixie scrappy on the court defensively. They went to the floor several times diving for loose balls and were able to get a lot of turnovers during the course of the game.

Trail figured out the Dixie press in the 3rd quarter and so Dixie had to fall back into a half court defense. Trail made up a little ground and pulled to with 4 points to start the last stanza. Sophomore point guard Devon Worley got into foul trouble and he was pulled from the game with 4 fouls and put back on the court at the 3:38 mark. And in no time he got foul number 5. And Trail was pressing – trying to close the gap and Dixie was trying to play keep away with out their point.

It was another nail biter for the Hounds as they had to fend off Blazer attempts at a comeback. But Miller handled the duties of point guard well enough and the team as a whole hit their free throws when they needed them the most. They extended their lead for a 62-50 win.

Coach Williams was pleased with the win, “It was a hard fought game, National Trail played well, they shot the ball well. I thought that we still had too many lapses on the defensive end. We are still a work in progress, but I was happy to come away with the win.

The defense, “I thought the intensity was there, and the effort. But now we need to get smarter. We have to know what we are doing out there. We can't just be rah, rah, let's go get them – we have understand where their man is, where the ball is, and so forth.”

On Worley fouling out, “It definitely changed us, because he is our point guard and we rely on him. Fortunately for us, Blake Miller was able to pick up the slack and have a good game for us. We were lucky to have a decent lead when it happened. But Miller and Grubb scored well for us tonight, they are seniors and we expect that out of them. We just need this on a more consistent basis.”