WEST ALEXANDRIA — Tony Augspurger wanted to speed the game up. So the veteran Twin Valley South coach reverted back to a defense from the Panthers’ glory days in the late 1990s to do just that.
South utilized an old-fashioned run-and-jump defense to keep rival Tri-County North off-balance en route to a 55-42 win on Friday, Dec. 9, in the Cross County Conference opener for both teams.
“We kind of went old school Twin Valley South basketball,” Augspurger said. “We went back 20 years. This is the first time I’ve played the run-and-jump for an entire game since 1997. It’s been a long time since we tried it. I think that we’re small. I think that we’re offensively challenged some. I think we’re fairly quick. I think that playing conventional basketball like we’ve been able to play for the last couple of years — where we sit down and play hard-nosed defense in the half court and grind out low scoring games — I don’t know that we can win against anybody good doing that. I’m not sure. We took a little bit of a look tonight at trying to up-tempo the game some and put some pressure on.”
The first quarter was near perfection as South held North without a field goal until the final buzzer and built an 11-5 lead.
North managed just two free throws until a three-pointer by Bailey Lairson at the buzzer.
In the second quarter, North cut South’s lead to 14-10 within the first two minutes, but South quickly extended the lead to double-digits, 21-10, at the 5:08 mark on a basket by Ryan Bassler.
North closed to within 23-16 with just over three minutes left in the half.
The final three minutes, though, belonged to South and so did the rest of the game.
South went on a 12-0 run to take a commanding 35-16 lead and led 35-18 at the break.
“We just kind of fell apart at the end of the second quarter and put ourselves in a pretty big hole,” North coach Joe Smith said.
North never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Mike Meyers led a balanced scoring attack for South with 15 points. Travis Lovely, Jared Cottingim and Willie Bowman each had eight and Bassler finished with six.
For North, Brandon Parsons had 15, while Brian Stinson collected 11 and Zach Edgin chipped in with eight.
Earlier in the week, South suffered a 54-41 loss at Valley View on Tuesday, Dec. 6, while North fell to Franklin 104-43.
On Saturday, North (1-3) rebounded with a 60-39 win over New Miami.
South (1-3) is scheduled to play at National Trail on Friday, Dec. 16, while North will play at Brookville.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH