South earns two big wins, gets upset by Arcanum

By Jeremy Erskine -

WEST ALEXANDRIA — Twin Valley South had a roller coaster week, beating a good Carlisle squad before losing to Arcanum, a team with only two league wins heading into the contest. They rebounded after that tough loss with a victory over Dayton Christian to close out the week.

Opening the week, the Panthers traveled into SWBL country and upended Carlisle — a team that had won six of their last seven match-ups — 46-44 on Monday, Feb. 1.

“We played really tough and hardnosed at Carlisle. They were 9-1 with Daulton Butler, their best player, with their only loss being to Northridge. He’s 6-foot-5 and they have another 6-foot-5 (player) in their starting lineup, so they were a tough match up for us size wise,” said South’s head coach Tony Augspurger. “I thought we defended very well throughout. We denied in the post and doubled and surrounded and were still able to get out and close out on three point shooters.”

The game came down to the wire and it was Jacob Bassler who hit the game winner off a runner from 10-feet out with 3.6 seconds left to break the 44-all tie.

“It was a good ‘status’ win for us,” said Augspurger.

South also got a big lift from Mike Meyers, who knocked down some big outside shots during the game and had to play the fourth quarter and a portion of the third without starting point guard JJ Utz, who gained a technical foul. Per Augspurger’s team rules, Utz had to ride the bench for the remainder of the night.

Bassler ended the game with 17 points while Meyers had 13 and Utz added 11 points and four steals. Ryan Bassler pulled down five rebounds on the night.

They followed up the hard-fought victory with a 46-43 loss to Arcanum at home on Friday, Feb. 5.

“We followed (the Carlisle game) up by allowing Arcanum to manhandle us and upset us,” said Augspurger. “I told our guys going in that it would be a tough game.”

Arcanum got extremely physical in a game and South was unable to adjust to their level of intensity fast enough, added Augspurger.

The lack of intensity led to the Panthers trailing 31-20 at the half. In the second half, they employed a 1-3-1 half court trap, leading to a 13-4 third quarter, closing the deficit to two points heading into the final frame.

But South went 0-6 from the free throw line and failed to score in the final 3:30 of the game.

“This is the third year in a row where we’ve lost to a more motivated and aggressive Arcanum team. The third year in a row where our Arcanum game has been either the most or second most disappointing game of the season in terms of us playing like we have to play to be successful. Give Arcanum and Coach Bixler credit, they definitely have had our number,” said Augspurger.

South bounced back the very next day with a 64-52 win over Dayton Christian on Saturday, Feb. 6.

“I thought we bounced back and had a really fun senior night,” said Augspurger. “We played poorly in the first quarter, which has unfortunately happened far too often this season, however, we played a great second quarter, outscoring them 24-9.”

After the Panthers big second quarter, they went into halftime up 32-23 and opened the third on a 12-0 run, pushing the lead to 21 points. They were unable to sustain the relentless attack, but had opened a wide enough margin to cruise to a comfortable victory.

Bassler ended with 27 points and Utz added 16 points and five assists. It was the final home game for the two seniors.

South will close out their regular season on the road with a game against rival Tri-County North on Friday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m.

For the tournament, they are the four-seed and will play six-seeded Cedarville on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 5 p.m. at Troy High School.

By Jeremy Erskine

Reach Jeremy at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.

Reach Jeremy at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.