WEST ALEXANDRIA — Every coach wants to see his seniors sent off with a win in their final home.
For Twin Valley South, the honoring of its four seniors on Saturday, Feb. 17 was short-lived as Dayton Christian opened the game with a 12-0 run to spoil the festivities and cruise to a 78-52 win over the Panthers.
“You want your seniors last night to be something that’s positive. This is a couple of years in a row now that we’ve just not played well on Senior Night,” South coach Tony Augspurger said. “I hate that.”
DC point guard Matt Welker was the main culprit. He had a career night, scoring 40 points. He topped his season average of 18.8 points by halftime, scoring 23, as the visitors raced out to a 43-24 halftime lead.
“They’ve got a starting point guard that is excellent. He was on his game tonight. Give them a ton of credit they played very well and we seemed lethargic and slow and discouraged,” Augspurger said.
For the Panthers its been a common theme this season to get down on themselves when they fall behind.
“We’ve been way to fast to hang our heads, get down about stuff and get discouraged. As the year’s gone on I think it’s gotten worse. I thought we got discouraged,” Augspurger said. “But give them credit. They came out and pressed us and we did not handle it. We did not do a very good job of taking care of the basketball. We did not do a good job at all of getting back (on defense). They’re very long. They’re very athletic. In terms of their physical capabilities this is the best team we’ve played so far this year.”
Jayden Bassler led South with 15 points. Travis Lovely added 10, Willie Bowman chipped in with nine and Nathan Osborn contributed seven.
On Tuesday, South fell behind Carlisle by 17 points midway through the fourth quarter only to rally to get within two points, but came up short, 63-60. Bowman led South with 20 points, while Jacob Wells scored 11 and Cade Cottingim and Lovely each added nine.
“Tuesday we did the same thing. We played badly. We were flat and didn’t battle then with 4:40 to go and down by 17 we had a frantic comeback and really made a great run,” Augspurger said. “We’ve not done enough of building from night to night and having our confidence grow.”
South finished the regular season 9-13 overall and 7-5 in the Cross County Conference.
The Panthers will have a week off before their postseason begins.
“I told my guys ‘we can decide our season either ended tonight (against DC) or it started tonight.’ If we want to say that it ended tonight then we will come out and won’t work and won’t be ready and will lose in the first round and be done. If we wanted to say it started tonight then we’ll say ‘we can’t change the regular season and we’ll put it behind us, we’re going to learn from our mistakes and get out and get to work.’”
South, the No. 13 seed, will play either No. 4 seed Middletown Madison or No. 12 Stivers in the second round of the Butler 2 Division III sectional on Thursday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Vandalia-Butler High School.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH