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No Place Like Home
J. C. Tilton

Yep, there's no place like home this week if you are a Panther fan. Both the boys and girls varsity teams enjoyed success this past week. Both season's are winding down and you want the teams to finish on an upbeat for the state tournament clashes ahead. Both teams had some battles and also were able to cruise.

Lets visit the ladies first. They had to make up a game against Ansonia at home on Tuesday, then host Bradford and county rival Eaton. Ansonia has not had the best of season's, but the Panthers have learned that they cannot afford to take anyone lightly. But in the opening quarter, South had a host of turnovers and generally sloppy play. A timeout was taken to get the team settled down. This seemed to put a halt to the turnovers and actually Ansonia had miscues of their own in the ending minutes of the quarter. Ansonia was pressing with minimal effectiveness. And TVS was in a zone which Ansonia countered with a shell defense. At the end of one it was 10-8 TVS.

In the second quarter TVS pressed a little themselves. They opened up a 10 point lead, but relaxed and let the Tigers close to within 6 at the half. The third quarter decided the game. TVS turned in an impressive defensive performance lead by Brittany Hayes who had several blocks, including two back to back blocks. Ansonia would only score 6 points while TVS doubled that - scoring 12. In the last quarter South sat on their lead. Ansonia would return to the press to try and get some turnovers, but South held off the challenge for the win 48-42.

Next up was Bradford on Thursday. Again a team with a less than stellar record. South had a 5 point lead at the first, but grew it to a 18 point lead at halftime. From there the team went into cruise mode and blew by the Railroaders 64-34.

Could the Panthers nail a trifecta for the week with a win against Eaton? South was tentative in the opening minutes, allowing Eaton to gain the lead. Brittany Hayes kept South in the game in the first quarter with 8 points, and teammate Dany Lipps helped with a basket. But Eaton had the advantage 12-10. Debbie Brubaker scored the first basket of the second period, tying the score at 12. South maintained a narrow lead, until the last couple of minutes when Duchemin and Hayes scored on consecutive possessions to pull South ahead 23-17 as the teams went to the locker room.

After the break, Dany Lipps hit a foul shot, and then South shooters went cold. Eaton proceeded to go on a run early in the 3rd quarter, gaining the lead at the 4:39 mark - TVS took a time out to stop the rally. South needed something to swing the momentum around and Kali DuChemin provided the spark, hitting a shot to give TVS the lead. This started a fire as TVS held Eaton at 25 and grew a 10 point lead by quarters end.

In the fourth quarter, South still held a 10 point lead at the midpoint. Eaton began to press and to foul in an attempt to change their fortunes. In the closing minutes Junior Dany Lipps and sophomore Jennifer Bambeck would nail their free throws to hold off the Eaton challenge. South would win 51-46, the final margin of victory was provided by Jennifer Bambeck who hit 2 charity tosses with 16 seconds left to put the game out of reach.

     Coach Robinson was asked to comment on the Eaton game, “We knew going in that Eaton's record was not indicative at all of what they were capable of. I knew they were a balanced team and I told the girls that they could take this team lightly. We knew that it would be a battle. If I am disappointed about anything, it was that we gave away too many three point shots there at the end. And we weren't getting the defensive end of the boards. I told them at halftime that if we hold them to just one shot, we can beat them. We put them on the free throw line too often. Brittany Hayes came thru again and both post players were in double figures. Katie McCoy was a little timid at first, going against the physicalness of their inside game. Durkle had a great game, she had some rebounds, some put backs. She knew it was her last home game and she played with a lot of pride. And I think she is one of the underrated point guards in our area. Not so much offensively, but what she does for our team. We are going to find out next year that she is a lot better ball handler than what everybody gives her credit for, because she can handle the pressure. She hustles hard on defense”.

We continued our conversion and reflected on the season to date, “They are much more coachable in a game situation than they were early in the year. Now when I talk to them at halftime, they are buying in - saying I gotcha. So in that I way I think we have improved a lot. We are starting to understand the game. For this young of a group I think we have come a long ways in that. They are actually thinking - now here's what I have to do. Kali has gotten so much better defensively. She hustles real hard on defense - this put her up above some of the others that could be starting. With Katie McCoy, imagine if we didn't have Brittany Hayes, all the pressure would be on her. It would have been a hard year for year for her. And they like to work together, they are good friends. There is no selfish person on our team. They want to win, they don't care who gets the credit”.

Lastly I asked about the state tournament, “We are 9-11 and we want real badly to get that 10th win”. The Panthers will have a chance for win number 10 when they play in the state tournament against New Miami at Tipp City Wednesday Feb. 9 at 8pm.

Box Scores: TVS vs. Ansonia. Bambeck 2, Durkle 7, Lipps 5, Brubaker 4, DuChemin 2, Hayes 20, McCoy 8. Reserves lost in overtime 45-37. Spitler 5, French 12, McCollum 7, Colby 2, Ervin 3, Tilton 8.

TVS vs. Bradford. Bambeck 2, Durkle 5, Lipps 4, Brubaker 16, DuChemin 2, Stone 3, Hayes 24, McCoy 8. Reserves won in overtime 45-41. Spitler 4, French 16, McCollum 4, Melling 2, Ervin 5, Tilton 14.

TVS vs. Eaton Bambeck 3, Durkle 4, Lipps 7, Brubaker 6, DuChemin 4, Hayes 17, McCoy 10. Reserves lose 32-43. Spitler 3, French 11, Burkett 2, McCollum 5, Deleranko 2, Ervin 3, Tilton 6.

email: Chris Tilton


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