South Opens Season in Eaton Eagles New Gym.
J. C. Tilton
What better way to open a gym than with a cross county rival? The county teams all seem to play just a little bit harder and the game is just a little more intense when it is against a fellow Preble County team. Friday night was no exception. Eaton had an opening ceremony where they hung their state championship banner, then had a group photo with the two teams and cheerleaders as they broke in the gym with the first boys varsity game to be played at the new high school. Impressions of the gym itself were favorable. Good lighting, excellent sound system, over 2000 seating capacity, and a great atmosphere. Plus if you run to the snack stand to grab a hot dog, you can see the action on the monitors or projector TV that they have set up. Definitely an improvement over the old school.
As you can imagine the Eaton team was fired up in the opening minutes. The Eagles started with an emotional edge and fed off of the crowd as they raced to an early lead. It was several minutes before TVS scored their first basket and finally the team took a timeout about midway thru the quarter to cool down the Eagles and get reorganized. At this junction Eaton had a 9-4 lead. South applied a trapping defense and this slowed down the Eaton team. On the offensive end TVS began to hit their shots and at the end of the quarter had a 17-13 lead.
TVS extended their lead in the second quarter, but a couple of players had foul trouble and had to make an early exit. Eaton took advantage and rallied at the end of the quarter to tie the score at 33 all. What a contrast in the two halves. In the first half Eaton started with the momentum and quickly ran up a lead, but in the second half it was South who came out on fire. They applied withering 3/4 court defensive pressure and snapped off 10 points to Eaton's none in the first few minutes of the half. Eaton took a time out, but could not recover as the quarter ended with a commanding 58-44 lead by TVS. The offense was now working like clockwork for TVS and their pressure kept Eaton off balance. The team extended their lead and spoiled Eaton's opener with a score of 75-55.
Coach Augsperger was asked to comment on the game, “[the] Eaton kids came out fired up and played with more intensity than we did in the first half. We did not respond well in the first half. There was some foul trouble in and we did not make good decisions with the basketball. We did a much better job in the second half.” The team made adjustments at halftime. Team was tight in first half, but shot better in the second half. The coach felt that the teams experience and poise made the difference.
When asked about how he felt about this group, Coach Augsperger responded, “This team has potential to be better offensively than a bunch of my teams have been. We have a lot of weapons. We have a lot of guys that are going to have good nights. All nine guys are capable of being in double figures at any given time. Defense and rebounding are the biggest keys. The defense is going to have to get better - but our pressuring defense took advantage of teams's athleticism”.
For the coach it was a special night. He started the season against a long time rival and also he was able to coach against a long time associate, Walt McCutchen. He related that it was Walt who told him about the TVS coaching opening 18 years ago. And also that he and Walt actually coached together briefly early in their careers. Coach Augsperger stated that, “I both respect and like Walt McCutchen.” Future games for TVS are on Dec. 3, home against Bethel; and Dec. 10 at TCN.
Scoring for TVS: D. Bassler 8, C. Bassler 7, Spitler 27, Bryant 9, Loxely 4, W. Bassler 1, Nuse 2, Stearman 4, Smith 14.