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Summers Marches TVS to Next Round
J. C. Tilton

Coach Tony Augspurger had a feeling about starting sophomore Steve Summers last Thursday, March 2. In his post game comments he mentioned a similar scenario played itself out earlier in the season. Summers was nervous and did not shoot well in the South opener against Tri Village. But in the next game against Eaton, the butterflies were gone and he had a great night. History repeated itself in a big a way. Summers did not shoot well in the Panthers tournament opener, but he more than made up for it with a solid performance in the second round - scoring 25 points. Coach Augspurger's intuition paid huge dividends as the Panthers usual leading scorers did not shoot well on Thursday. But it was a team victory as several players stepped up and contributed to pull off a two point win with about 5 seconds on the clock.

One thing that I noticed right away was how the South team was vigorously hitting the defensive boards. Although outsized by Carlisle's Jared Hale(6'5”), the team was knifing around Carlisle players to grab rebounds and doing a good job of limiting second chance shots. It was obvious that Carlisle's game plan was to use their height advantage. All but two of their first quarter points were scored in the post. Dale Spitler was having problems getting his shots to drop, but Summers picked up the slack by scoring 7 of the Panthers 15 first quarter points. The first period ended with South up by three.

TVS made a defensive adjustment and went on a 9 point run in the last half of the second quarter. It looked like South might be on their way to breaking the game open with a ten point lead, but Carlisle finished the half strong. Andrew Hill scored 4 points in the last minute to cut the lead to 6. South would end the half up 31-25. Steve Summers was in a groove with 17 first half points.

Carlisle came out strong in the third quarter and had a little 6 point run of their own to tie the game at 31. South took a time out at this point to cool off the Indians and adjust their defense to double up on the post players. This seemed to break the Carlisle momentum and then Steve Summers, Cory Bassler, and Dale Spitler put together a Panther response that again pulled South ahead, 40-34.

Once again Carlisle opened the quarter with a 6 point run, and got another tie. The Carlisle crowd was loud and on their feet as the Panthers looked for answer. The poised team did not panic and worked each possession for the best shot. They slowly regained their lead. Cory Bassler hit a foul shot, then Summers hit a shot from the field for a three point Panther lead. Time was starting to wind down now. And South was using the clock on every possession. Hale scored a bucket for the Indians and it was a one point game. Next South's Wes Rehmert was fouled on a shot and calmly sunk both free throws to extend the South lead back to three with 42 seconds on the clock. Carlisle sophomore Braxton Campbell, who had been assigned a tight defender the whole game, stepped up. He connected on a long NBA range three point shot from the top of the key to tie the game yet again at 45 all.

Senior Dale Spitler had not had the best night. But with the seconds on the clock clicking down to single digits he took control of the game. The rest of the team went into a baseline set while Spitler made a move at the top of the key. With 5 seconds left in the game he launched a jump shot and hit nothing but net. Carlisle desperately called a time out, but only had 2.3 seconds on the clock. They tried to launch a long shot, but it went wide and South captured the sectional title.

To use a baseball analogy, Summers was the starter who got the team their lead, Rehmert was the setup man, and Spitler was the closer. A jubilant Coach Augspurger had this to say, “At this point in time all that matters is that we keep winning. I'm extremely proud of this team. I've been doing this for 19 years. And this team is far from the best in terms of athleticism and height. But they have done a great job of playing around it all. We're 17 and 5 - they've just found ways to get it done. Different guys have stepped it up on different nights. And tonight Steve Summers said hop on my back and let's go. He was huge for us tonight. But when the Carlisle kid hit the big three and tied the game up, I would have bet any amount of money that Dale [Spitler] would find a way to win. I knew right then to clear everyone else out and get Dale the ball. He's been a great clutch player. Wes Rehmert did a great job defensively on Braxton Campbell. We also did a great job of never letting them get the lead. When a team comes from behind and gets the lead that is a big shift in momentum. We live to fight another day.”

When asked about playing nationally ranked North College Hill for the district championship, Coach Augsperger had this to say, “We're loading up the slingshots right now. We are working on some ideas and we are going to play one quarter at time.” TVS will play next Thursday at UD. As this story was submitted no game time has been announced. Comments:

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