Dixie Closes the Pound
J. C. Tilton
In 1965 Dixies' Columbus Hines Gym opened. Since that time, the gym has seen it's share of triumphs and defeats. But with the new school comes a new high school gym. So on February 20 the Dixie boys Varsity played its final game in the Hound Pound. Their opponent was the Northridge Polar Bears. In the first half you could see that the Dixie team was feeling pressure to end the era in an upnote. The team was a little tight and wasn't shooting well. In his post game comments, Coach Etter acknowledged that the seniors were "tighter than a drum" in the week leading up to this final game.
The teams slow start put Northridge up 7-0. Things were not looking good for the Grey Hounds. Coach Etter took a timeout and had Dixie goto a 3/4 court press to stir things up. In the half court Dixie played a couple of different look zones(trapping at times in the second half) and the Polar Bears stuck with 2-3 zone for the evening. Dixie quickly realized that they would have to shut down Jones inside - he had several good looks in the first quarter. Finally Dixie hit a rythm on offense and generated some points. But at the first quarter the Polar Bears were still up 13 -10. The second quarter was the slowest quarter of the night for Dixie. They only scored 7 points and several of their shots clanged off of the iron, even when scoring opportunities presented themselves inside. It was beginning to look like the Polar Bears were going to spoil the final curtain call at the Pound.
The Hounds were still lethargic in the 3rd quarter, the offense was slow to get started and the Polar Bears were able to maintain their lead. Dixie finally took a timeout with just under 4 minutes left. The coach must have sparked something, because the Hounds went to work. From a 7 point deficit, they went on to tie on a Kevin McBain trey just before the quarter to knot it up at 28 a piece. This brought the crowd back into the game and gave the team a lift. Zach Elred made a statement to the Polar Bears in the opening minutes of the final quarter. He scored on back to back layups, then made a steal and got an assist on a nice dish to Ben Spahr. Northridge took a time out to pick up the pieces. At one point they had a comfortable 7 point lead. Now Dixie had gone on a 15-0 run and sat in the drivers seat. Then the Polar Bears center, Jones fouled out. But within minutes Dixies Johnny Adams picked up fouls 4 and 5 and he was riding the pine. Would losing their point guard hurt Dixie with Northridge applying pressure - trying to get back into the game? The answer was no. The Dixie team coolly pulled back on offense and ran down the clock - avoiding the Northridge trapping defense. The 2004 Dixie Greyhounds were able to end this era with a victory 43-35. There were a number of grey haired Hounds from days gone by that applauded loudly for the scrappy team who got a win when it was needed.
After being complimented on the victory, Coach Etter agreed that it was a special win, but that "more special is getting back to .500 for year. This should guarantee a tie for second place... Good teams find a way to win - it wasn't an easy game to play. There was a lot of emotion for us". When asked about Eldred's 4th quarter scoring the coach responded that, " Zach is playing the whole game. Tonight was a bad game shooting from outside, but he made plays inside when he had to". Defensively, he noted that the team held Northridge to 0-19 from 3 point range. Scoring for the Hounds: Spahr 8, Kozlowski 8, Elred 11(8 points in 4th quarter), McBain 4, Kummer 9.
The Dixie school system put together a special program highlighting the GreyHound achievements in Hines team over the years and in that program it noted that although the gym is closing as far as a varsity gym, it will remain intact and be used by the middle school. So the squeak of gym shoes and the referee's whistle will still be heard within it's walls. Comments: email: Chris Tilton