WEST ALEXANDRIA — Twin Valley South’s boys’ basketball team was close to putting together its first two-game winning streak this season, but nine minutes proved costly in the Panthers’ bid.
After rallying to beat Newton, 55-50, on Friday, Jan. 20, South was within striking distance of visiting Brookville after three quarters on Saturday.
But the Panthers, who trailed 33-31, made just one field goal in the final eight minutes in a 48-34 loss.
“I’m not faulting our effort tonight. I thought our effort was good. We had a bad first half last night against Newton. We played a very good second half, especially defensively and intensity wise,” South coach Tony Augspurger said. “We put in what we were doing defensively, today. We’ve not practiced it. We just put it in. I thought we actually played it fairly well.”
South led 8-7 after the first quarter, behind five points from Jared Cottingim, and held a 15-14 lead with 1:30 to play in the first half. But the Blue Devils closed the half on an 11-0 run to take a 25-15 halftime lead.
South made a game of it in the third as the Panthers outscored Brookville, 16-8, to close to within two. South had a chance to tie at the end of the quarter.
Early in the fourth, South had another opportunity to tie, but again came up empty.
That’s when momentum took a turn Brookville’s way.
The Blue Devils extended their lead to 38-31 with just under six minutes to play and led 38-32 with 5:15 left.
South didn’t score again until there were 23 seconds left in the game and by that time Brookville had rattled off 10 straight points for a 48-32 lead.
“We’ve got to learn to play for 32 minutes. I told my guys in the locker I thought we played 23 outstanding minutes,” Augspurger said.
Cottingim led South with 11 points, while Mike Meyers added eight.
“They have so much size they hurt us some on the boards. I thought we battled. We just didn’t make enough shots. We didn’t make enough free throws,” Augpsurger said. “We had two opportunities to tie the basketball game to end the third quarter and to start the fourth and if we make either one of those, it’s weird how that goes, if you get to tie or you get to a lead, that can change the complexion of things and we just never got to that.”
Augspurger is confident his team, which is now 5-10 overall and 3-4 in the Cross County Conference, will right the ship.
“When you’re struggling, every win is a big win,” he said of the victory over Newton. ” I told my guys last night, and I truly believe this, I don’t believe we are a bad team. Right now, we are a team with a bad record. This team, if they keep scrapping and they keep fighting and keep working, because we are Division 4 we have a chance to make some waves. We’ve just got to keep that in focus. We’ve just got to get to a point where we can put a couple wins together back-to-back, which we haven’t been able to do.”
The Panthers are scheduled to host Mississinawa Valley on Friday, Jan. 27, and will play at Preble Shawnee on Saturday as part of a boys/girls all-day event. The varsity girls are scheduled to tip at 5:30 p.m. with the varsity boys to follow around 7 p.m.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.