North - South Part I
J. C. Tilton
The North and South basketball teams will meet twice this season. Once in the regular season and once at the holiday tournament at Shawnee after Christmas. This first game is part of the regular season and counts towards the CCC league standings. The game would pit the talent and experience of the senior laden South squad against the youthful but scrappy North team. The prelude to the varsity game was exciting and was an indication of the energy level of the gym. The North JV team battled back from a deficit to tie the game and send into overtime. The crowd was raising the roof as the two teams took the court to decide the game. The overtime was back and forth with North prevailing in the waning seconds with a 46-45 victory.
The Varsity game got off to a fast paced start as the fans from both sides made themselves heard at every basket and every steal. South was able to reel off some points and gain a lead, but North answered and stayed on their heels. Just past the midpoint of the quarter South went into a pressing defense. This allowed them to open some distance as the young TCN team gave away some turnovers that were converted into South points. The team settled down after Waggoner called a time out, but TVS was up 18-12 at the end of the quarter.
In the second quarter a fired up TCN game came out hot and steadily closed the distance with South - finally tying the score 18 all; then 20 all. TVS was still applying vigorous defensive pressure, but North was able to keep the offensive pressure up and close the gap. South went on a run of their own at the end of the quarter and managed to go into the locker room up 29-24.
As they have so many times this season, South got their second wind in the locker room and came out hot in the second half. South was smoking and extended their lead to 46-29 by the end of the quarter. A lot of teams would have given up - being down 17 points, but under coach Waggoner the North team rallied in the 4th. The team kept chipping away at the lead. At the midpoint of the quarter the lead had narrowed to 10 points. South aided the North cause by being overly aggressive on defense and fouling. This sent North to the foul line where they made their trips worthwhile - scoring about 14 points for their efforts in this quarter alone. Towards the end of the game South's Smith fouled out. Post is one position where TVS does not have a lot of depth and this gave TCN an advantage. North now closed to within 7 points. The energy level from the stands was starting to increase. But time was now a factor, there was now less than 2 minutes left to make up the difference. South now went into a slowdown which gave TCN no choice but to foul and try to get possession of the ball back. South managed to hit their foul shots and extend their lead a bit. TVS fought off the North challenge to win round I 60 to 49.
Coach Waggoner from TCN had these comments: “We talked before the game - the Place is packed, and it's a big emotional game. Somebody would execute better and make their shots, we didn't do that. I don't think we executed at all. Our first three shots didn't hit the rim. Our guys played real hard, but on the offensive end of the floor if we don't execute we aren't going to be the best team that we can be. We needed a little more patience. We never got comfortable until we were down by 20, then we went after them. The first quarter, quarter and a half we were happy just to throw up shots. We need to run an offense where we can get it down inside and be patient. Until the end of the game we were playing the way they wanted instead of our game. They had the game at their tempo. I give South credit I thought they played hard they were ready to play, they did a nice job on Blankenship, They hit some shots.” When asked about the Haines injury in the 2nd half Coach Waggoner responded, “he has been a good solid player for us, we missed him on the court”. A report at the game indicated that there was some sort of injury to the achilles tendon - so we all hope that this is not serious. His points and experience were missed in the second half.
South's Tony Augspurger was asked for his thoughts after the game, “We played hard, we just played not very wisely. We did not adjust to how the game was called. We were very aggressive, too aggressive - we got the lead in the second half and we totally stopped scoring. Our shooting was awful. I thought that the chemistry in our passing was not as good as what it's been. Effort wise we played hard, but you have to play smart too - you can't run around with your brain stuck in neutral. You have to play smart, you can't play dumb. But in a hostile environment a win is a win. Hopefully the team will learn something from this, we'll see if they do”.
Scoring for North: Dunham 4, Baumgarder 2, Oldham 1, Mullins 2, Haines 2, Blankenship 13, Heltsley 25. South: Bassler D 10, Bassler C 9, Spitler 18, Loxley 7, Nuse 10, Smith 6. The JV game was won in overtime 46-45 by TCN. North: Pierce 16, Smith 3, Summers 2, Bierly 11, Steck 9, Biser 6. South: Ervin 2, Armstrong 4, Dunson 6, Bassler W 6, Leedy 4, Rehmert 15, Stebbins 2, Simpson 6. Both Varsity teams would fall the following Saturday. South losing their first game of the season to Versailles, North losing a hard fought game against Dixie. Comments email: Chris Tilton