WEST ALEXANDRIA — As Tony Augspurger gets ready to begin his 32nd season at the helm of the Twin Valley South boys’ basketball program he’s patiently waiting to get all his players back healthy.
Once that happens, Augspurger believes his team has a chance to very good.
“We have a chance to be pretty good to possibly good to really good. My life should be easier in that for the first time in a long time I have a clear cut top seven, which makes playing time decisions easier, however, we have to stay healthy,” he said. “We have not gotten off to a good start that way as we haven’t had all seven (players) practice a full practice together yet, which is driving me crazy.”
He said this year’s team is capable of being explosive on offense.
“We have more offensive fire power than we’ve had in years, if we are ready to play tough and smart and confident in games,” he said.
A year ago, the Panthers were 9-14 overall and 7-5 in the Cross County Conference, which was good enough to tie for third.
This year they will be led by Willie Bowman, a 6’2” senior point guard. He averaged 18.4 points per game and was first team All-CCC and first-team All-District 15 Underclassmen team last year.
“Willie is moving to the PG spot, which is new for him, but he is one of the better players in the area and the best senior I’ve coached in at least a decade,” Augspurger said.
Other key players returning include a trio of seniors.
“We have three other seniors returning who all played significant minutes off the bench for us last year in Nathan Osborn 6’1” (4.3 ppg), Jayden Bassler 6’2” (3.8 ppg) and Cade Cottingim 5’10” (2.7 ppg),” Augspurger said. “They were an important part of our nine man rotation last year and all are ready for increased roles in ‘18-‘19.”
Augspurger said he is expecting contributions from three newcomers.
“The most significant is 6’4” Cole Petersen who will round out our starting line up and gives us an inside presence. He could be a big surprise for our team this year,” Augspurger said. “Our other two varsity players up from the JV squad are 6’3” junior Ryan Delong and 5’11” sophomore Brayden Marker.”
Augspurger, who enters this season with a 427-269 record, believes the race for the CCC title is wide open.
“I think our league is wide open this year with no particularly dominant team for everyone to say, watch out for them,” He said. “think the three Preble County schools all should be good, with Trail in particular returning all but one significant starter from a team that won 13-14 games. I also look for Ansonia and Arcanum to be strong and expect the usual suspects of Miami East and Bethel and FM to all be formidable.”
South will open the season by hosting its 7th annual tip-off tournament on Friday, Nov. 30, Saturday, Dec. 1 and Monday, Dec. 3.
The Panthers will meet Dixie on Friday at 7:30 p.m. They will play either Trail or Eaton on Saturday, at 4 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. depending the outcome of the first round games.
South’s JV will play Dixie in its first game on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. They will meet either Trail or Eaton on Monday at 6 p.m. or 7:15 p.m.
The Panthers will return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 4 with a trip to Valley View and will play at Waynesville on Saturday, Dec. 8.
South will begin CCC play on Friday, Dec. 14 when it plays host to rival Tri-County North.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH