Panthers Outlast Greyhounds
J. C. Tilton
These neighboring teams came into the game sporting similar records, Dixie was 5-3, while Twin Valley South was 8-3. South is known for their ball handling and outside shooting, while Dixie is known for their defense and ability to slash to the basket. Dixie has a stronger post presence with Ben Spahr, which South countered by starting equally stout sophomore J. T. Stone. Dixie has encountered many teams assigning a defender to offensive standout Johnny Adams, limiting his touches. Coach Miller has countered this by allowing Adams to play some pointguard on offense - guaranteeing that he will touch the ball.
Both teams played some man to man defense early. South went into a 1-4 offensive set and did a good job of knifing to the basket. Late in the quarter Dixie countered with a 1-2-2 defense that clogged up the middle. South worked in the press briefly, and had a 5 point lead going into the next quarter. South settled back and started to launch treys against the zone. Wes Bassler connected, while Steve Summers and Andy Dawson had a pair apiece. Dixie's best answer was Johnny Adams who had 7 points in the quarter. Going into the locker room South had a commanding 29-15 lead.
In the second half South seemed to be content to sit on their lead. A good passing team, they worked the clock each possession and picked their shots. Dixie was not able to make up much ground in the third quarter, but in the last minute Ben Spahr got an old fashioned three point play and then Ben Risner dropped one in the bucket. Suddenly it was a 12 point ball game and Dixie had a little momentum going into the stretch.
Dixie gave the gas pedal a little push and closed the gap even more. However early in the quarter they had problems from the free throw line - 5 misses in a row. With about 4 and half minutes left it was a 7 point game. The Dixie side of the gym had come to life. Now they had something to cheer about and the gym was rocking. After a timeout, Dixie put the pedal all the way to the metal and unveiled their press. Wes Bassler hit a three point shot but then pulling out all of the stops the pressing and trapping Greyhounds went on a 8-0 run. With a little over a minute left, it was a 2 point game. Ben Spahr who had not much a factor to this point in the game scored 7 points in the quarter.
South did not panic and remained poised. They have made a habit out of winning close games. They calmly hung onto the ball and forced Dixie to foul in the last minute. Andy Dawson hit his two throws to extend the lead back to 4. Spahr answered with a basket. Panther Wes Rehmert hit a shot to extend the lead back to three. Dixie tried to set up a three point play, but the basket missed. South got possession and Justin Flynn was fouled and sent to the line. He hit a free throw to provide the final margin of victory 46-42.
Coach Augspurger was asked about the second half, “We tried to spread out, run clock, and take good shots. We took good shots, but they didn't drop. But in the fourth when it got close we stepped up and did the things we had to do. The foul shooting at the end was huge.”
“Looking back, I wish I had pressed earlier”, lamented Coach Miller, “We got off to a slow start. I didn't think that we would be able to press them, it turned out we could. But if we had made our foul shots down the stretch, we could have won the game.”
Scoring for South: Rehmert 4, W. Bassler 10, Dawson 15, Summers 10, Stone 2, Leedy 4, Flynn 1. Dixie: Moore 2, McBain 4, Adams 18, Risner 6, Kummer 1, Spahr 11.