CAMDEN — It’s been a season of “almosts” for Twin Valley South’s boys’ basketball team.
The Panthers have lost six games this season with five of those coming by a single basket or in overtime.
South got over that hump briefly in the consolation game of the 33rd Annual Preble Shawnee Holiday Tournament with a 62-53 win over Tri-County North on Friday, Dec. 30.
In the opening round on Thursday, South lost to eventual champion Edgewood, 57-55, while North fell to host Preble Shawnee, 70-42.
“We’ve had such a frustrating year. We’ve played stretches, really of every game, pretty well, and we’ve played stretches of almost every game not well,” South coach Tony Augspurger said. “We almost had a really good win last night (against Edgewood). It’s kind of where we’ve been. It’s too much saying almost.”
South had to withstand some hot shooting early on by North, which made nine of its first 11 shots and was 14-of-28 in the first half, to hold a 35-33 halftime lead.
“I thought we came out with not the intensity we have to have and they came our fired up,” Augspurger said. “They did a great job of making shots.”
South used relentless full-court pressure throughout the game and eventually wore down North, which made just 5-of-28 shots in the second half, including going 2-for-16 in the fourth quarter.
“That’s one of the things about this (defense). I’ve got nine kids that I’m trying to get minutes for. It’s hard to get minutes for nine. It’s almost impossible. But what I’m trying to say to my guys is ‘we’ve got nine guys so when you’re out there play hard’,” Augspurger said.
After North took a 38-37 lead with 3:28 left in the third, South went on an 11-4 run to take a 48-42 lead. Although North took the lead to 50-48 with just over six minutes left in the game, South never trailed again.
For the game, South connected on 19-of-51 shots and was 18-of-25 from the foul line. They made 6-of-20 shot from 3-point range, but only attempted one 3-pointer in the second half.
“They played a lot more man in the second half and we tried to attack the basket,” Augspurger said.
North finished the night making 19-of-56 shots, including going 3-for-19 on 3-pointers. North struggled from line going 12-of-21.
“We rushed a lot. Really, that’s the first close game we’ve been in,” said North coach Joe Smith. “For us to be in that situation I think nerves might have got to my underclassmen. I played five sophomores tonight. Shot selection wasn’t the greatest because we were pressing a little bit.”
South’s Mike Meyers led all scorers with 25 points and earned a spot on the all-tournament team. Travis Lovely added 11 and Jared Cottingim chipped in eight for South.
For North, Zach Edgin had a team-high 24 points, while Brain Stinson added 10 and Brandon Parsons totaled eight.
South (3-6) was schedule to host Bishop Fenwick on Tuesday, Jan. 3, before hosting Bethel on Friday.
North (1-8) is scheduled to travel to Covington on Friday.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH