BETHEL — Twin Valley South got back on track last week, beating Bethel 48-40 and handing them their first conference loss of the season on Tuesday, Dec. 22.
“I think this was in many ways our best game of the year,” said head coach Tony Augspurger. “Bethel is definitely one of the more talented teams in our league.”
The Bees were also honoring their 2001 state champion team, bringing in a bigger crowd and a more intimidating atmosphere for South.
The Panthers came in to the game with the task of defending Bethel’s Caleb South, the best scoring guard in the CCC.
South jumped out to an 11-7 lead after one quarter before heading into the half up 14-11.
“I really don’t know that it would be possible for us to play a better defensive half than we played,” said Augspurger. “We just defended exceptionally well. JJ Utz got his second foul with about two minutes to go in the first, and we were able to sit him for the rest of the half largely because of the job that our sophomore guard Ryan Bassler did sitting down and staying in front of (Caleb) South.”
Both teams saw a surge in offensive output in the third and the Panthers (infinitesimally) extended their lead, ending the period up 32-28.
At the beginning of the fourth, Bethel finally gained the lead, opening the frame with a 7-0 run, which forced South to call a timeout. Out of the timeout, Utz drained a three to tie the game back up at 35-all.
Bethel’s South split a pair of free throws on the next possession before Jacob Bassler hit another three-pointer for the Panthers, putting them back up 38-36.
South never trailed again.
“We did a great job down the stretch of taking care of the ball, having Jacob attack the basket and tightening up on ‘D’ again,” said Augspurger.
J. Bassler led the team with 22 points, nine rebounds and five assists. He also did not commit a turnover in the game. Utz ended the game with 15 points, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Mike Meyers grabbed eight rebounds as well.
“Defensively it was definitely a total team effort, however, I was particularly pleased with three guys who didn’t score, but all played great defensively in Ryan Bassler and then my two headed post guarding tandem of Chad Ehler and Andrew Augspurger, who held Bethel’s 6’7” listed center, senior Evan Hawthorne, to three points,” said Augspurger.
South was scheduled to play in the Preble Shawnee Tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 29-30.
Jeremy can be reached at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.