CAMDEN — Twin Valley South was unable to defend its Preble Shawnee Holiday Tournament title, falling 46-32 to a Talawanda squad that used tough and aggressive play throughout the contest.
“I told my guys at the end of the first quarter, I told them at halftime, and I told them at the end of the game that any game this year that we play where we are not the hardest working team on the floor, we’re going to lose. We’re not physically gifted enough. Those guys came out and got after us,” said South head coach Tony Augspurger. “They sat down, they moved, they were aggressive and they were physical. We didn’t meet the challenge. They played very well.”
Talawanda started the game on an 11-2 run, setting the tone for the remainder of the night and making shots and buckets hard to come by for the Panthers.
They ended the quarter up 19-6 before opening up the second with an 8-2 run.
“Where we win is with our defense and our effort and they used our recipe against us tonight. They beat us for that reason,” said Augspurger.
South went into the half trailing by 18 points but only mustered three points in the third, as the Braves furthered the margin to 42-17.
In the fourth, the Panthers held Talawanda to four points while posting 15 points of their own – seven of which came from the free throw line.
“I couldn’t push the right buttons. The only upside is that in the fourth quarter, we just started working on the half-court trap, and I thought that we played with a great deal of intensity and worked to make it not completely embarrassing,” said Augspurger.
Jacob Bassler led the team with 20 points while JJ Utz posted eight of his own.
Both Bassler and Utz made the All-Tournament team.
The Panthers reached the finals after beating Tri-County North 56-52.
For much of the contest, it was all South but North crawled back into contention, making it a two point game with under three minutes to play.
Utz put the game away with just 18 second remaining, sinking both his free throws to make it a two score game.
Against North, South was led by Winston Crosier with 15 points and Utz with 13 points.
South’s next game was scheduled to take on Fenwick on Tuesday, Jan. 5 at 6 p.m. They will host Ansonia on Friday, Jan. 8 at 6 p.m.
Reach Jeremy at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.