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Panthers Falter Against Tigers
J. C. Tilton

This game was a much anticipated clash by two teams with high hopes in the preseason, and success in the early going. Both TVS and Ansonia entered the game unbeaten in CCC competition, so the game had implications for the CCC crown. The visitors stands were well populated by the Ansonia fans - who made themselves heard thru out the game. And they had plenty to cheer about as Ansonia raced out to an early lead. The teams focused on each others top scorers as Ansonia kept a defender close to Spitler and South did the same to Ansonia post threat Adam Barga.

As they have so often this season, the Panthers got off to their customary slow start. Ansonia took advantage and quickly garnered a 9-2 lead before TVS took a time out to stop the bleeding. Smith got a couple of baskets to re-energize the Panthers but they were down 13-8 at the end of the quarter. The Panthers tried changed tactics on the Tigers by trapping and putting aggressive pressure on them. They closed to within 3, but Ansonia recovered and grew their lead to 7 by halftime.

Now it was the second half and Panther fans awaited the rally that was sure to come. But this go around, it was Ansonia that was rallying. The TVS rim was stone cold as shot after shot clanged off the iron. But Ansonia was tickling the laces as they hit home shot after shot. South's first 8 shots of the quarter all fell short. TVS took a time out at the 5:02 mark after they had failed to score a point. Spitler responded with a trey after the time out, but the scoring was sparse for TVS and by the end of the quarter the score stood Ansonia 41 - TVS 26. About the only

It was a big deficit to make up, but South gamely tried to make up the difference with vigorous defensive pressure. Smith picked up his 4th foul and then Dustin Bassler did likewise. Ansonia went into a slowdown, but South still managed to close to within 10 with about a minute and half left, thanks to a Tyler Loxley three point shot. But this would be as close as TVS would get as Ansonia would hit their foul shots down the stretch and win 51-38. About the only highlights for TVS was that Smith lead all scorers with 19 points and they kept a team that averaging about 65 points a game to just 51.

Coach Augsperger was asked for his post game comments, “I'm as disappointed in regular season game as I have been in a long long time. This was an important game for us. I talked before the game about this being a test of where we are and a pride check. This tells us that we are not as far along as we need to be. South did not get enough stops on defense. The better team clearly won, they outplayed us in every phase of the game. They deserved it, we didn't. We are stuck at a plateau - the same pretty good team we have been for some time”.

When asked about the scoring, he responded, “We struggled offensively is an understatement Even though Ansonia changed things up defensively I thought we had some good looks at the basket and we didn't cash them in”. He also felt that the South players were tentative in taking the ball to the lane. When asked if Dale Spitlers back problems effected the game, Coach Augsperger responded that the lost practice time was the effect from the injury - Dale was unable to practice with the team. In other words, he was unable to work directly with the team as they prepared for Ansonia. The Panthers will not relax for long as they will be in the Shawnee Holiday tournament. On Wednesday, Dec. 29th Shawnee will play Trail at 6:30; followed at 8:00 by North vs. South part 2.

Scoring for TVS: Dustin Bassler 6, Spitler 8, Loxley 5, Smith 19. TVS won the reserve game. Scoring: Deleranko 3, Ervin 4, Armstrong 2, Dawson 12, Rehmert 5, Summers 9,


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