WEST ALEXANDRIA – Both Twin Valley South and Ansonia entered Friday’s game with two-game losing streaks, and both teams wanted to right their ships.
The first half of the game was a battle of the defenses. Neither team scored much in the early going.
South edged out Ansonia at the half 14-12, a halftime score more befitting a football game than a basketball game.
The third quarter saw both offenses come to life, but again neither team was able to pull ahead for most of the quarter. There were a few lead changes as the two teams jockeyed back and forth.
But South began a run at the end of the third quarter that extended into the beginning of the fourth quarter. South had a 10-point lead by the midpoint of the last quarter.
The young Ansonia team had some costly turnovers and missed shots when the Tigers needed them most.
South was able to hold off last minute charges by the Tigers for a 49-37 win.
During the pregame, Channel 7’s Mike Hartsock was master of ceremonies for an award given to South’s coach Tony Augspurger, who had recorded his 400th victory just a few weeks ago. He has also won five conference championships during his 30-year career.
But there was not much offensive action for Channel 7 to film in the first half. Both defenses were stingy and both teams were boxing out effectively on defense and getting those defensive rebounds – meaning that neither team was giving up second chance points.
Ansonia played a matchup zone that put good pressure on South’s outside shooters and tangled up any attempts by South to score in the paint. South played in man-to-man defense – mixing in a half-court trap a few times and some full court pressure – particularly in the second half.
“Ansonia did not get many open shots, but the ones they took dropped in,” Coach Augspurger said.
The Tigers alternately drove to the basket from a 4-1 set or worked the ball around the perimeter for an open shot. But the young Tigers faltered down the stretch. Sometimes a young team can tighten up under pressure and make mistakes.
The two teams scored at a quicker pace in the third quarter and the lead changed several times.
But in the fourth quarter with both teams pressing for the lead, Ansonia’s offense grew cold – the Tigers had problems making shots. And Ansonia, who had done a good job of handing South’s defensive pressure to this point, gave up the ball several times on bad passes or poor ball handling.
South with its four seniors handled the pressure well and benefited from these mistakes and grew a double-digit lead. Ansonia did try to press to overcome the deficit, but South was able to control the ball down the stretch and walk off the court with the win.