Second Half Run Puts South in Next Round
J. C. Tilton
South seems to have righted its ship in the post season. At least for one game. After being soundly beaten at season's end by Covington and Bethel, South needed to regain momentum for the playoffs. They garnered a regular season win against Newton to end the season, but that was without Newton's star player, Booher, who was out with an injury. Additionally, TVS had a first round bye, good because you are one round deeper into the tournament, but it can be a negative. The opponent advances with momentum and they have adjusted to playing under the atmosphere of the state tournament. TVS would need to adjust in a hurry to the unfamiliar confines of UD arena. Dixie had a first round win, which gave them momentum coming into the game.
If the Panthers had any butterflies it was not apparent in the first quarter. Both teams scored at a rapid pace. Seasoned senior Dale Spitler lead scoring for South with 10 first quarter points, Wes Rehmert connected for 4. Sean Kummer opened with 6 for Dixie. It was a close quarter, but South had a little run at the end that was punctuated with a Andy Dawson trey to give South a 5 point lead, 21-16.
Both teams used some zone and some man to man. Dixie would later throw their trap at the Panthers. In the second half Dixie would resort mainly to man to man defense. Their zone was allowing way too many three's; better to allow scores two points at a time. The second quarter was a sparring match, but South extended their lead to 9 points at one time. It was only a late quarter surge by Dixie's Johnny Adams and Sean Kummer that cut the margin to 5 again.
In the first half of the third quarter the Hounds doggedly stayed on the heels of the Panthers. But in the last half of the third, the Panthers hit the accelerator. Slashing to the basket, they went on an 8 point run to break the game open. Dixie had no answer in the fourth. South kept their foot on the throttle extending the run into the fourth. With about 5 minutes left to go, Dixie was down by 15. The team tried to regain momentum with their press, but South was having none of it. After being stifled in the third quarter, Spitler found open shots and rang up 10 points - 4 from free throws to feed the Panther surge. He would lead all scorers with 26 points. One bright spot for Dixie was Andrew Thacker who tried to answer off the bench with 6 points, Sean Kummer likewise scored 6 and ended up high points for the Hounds with 20 points. When the curtain was closed South had cruised to a 67-48 victory.
“This was a great disappointment”, stated coach Miller when asked for comment,” defense is what got us this far, we're not a great shooting team - but defense has won a lot of games for us. Tonight in the second half, well we just didn't get the loose balls, we just kind of laid back and let them take the game.” Next he was asked to comment on the season, “We accomplished what we set out to accomplish, a winning record, a tournament win, but we wanted more. We're going the right direction.” The senior class: “They worked hard this year, they bought into the team concept. They played their hearts out this year. I hate to see them go out like this.” Looking ahead Dixie has a decent JV team and with most of the Varsity graduating, they will be put into the frontlines next season.
When asked about South's offense in the second half Tony Augspurger had this to say, “Corey Bassler is a very good driver, sometimes you don't take the open shot if you aren't hitting them and drive in for the basket or dish. I thought that Dale Spitler had an outstanding offensive game. He made good shots and went to the basket strong. I thought that Wes Rehmert gave us good minutes. He has helped us all year long, but tonight his shots were dropping.“ Next up for TVS is Carlisle, “We met them in the first scrimmage and they are a young team, but so are we. I know that they are playing very well right now with two really big wins back to back. Northridge is coming off of their best season in years, and NorthEastern is a good team too. Their sophomore guard is very very good and they run good sets on offense. And they have enough size that all our short guys will have to contribute. “ TVS plays next Thursday at UD arena. Comments email: Chris Tilton