GREENSBURG — South Decatur coach Tom Black said visiting Hauser had out-performed his team in several important facets of the game.
So it was after a big sigh of relief that the veteran coach, now in his sixth year at South Decatur, discussed his Cougars’ 83-78 Mid-Hoosier Conference win against the Jets Friday night.
“Hauser beat us down the floor and beat us to loose balls,” said Black. “They out-hustled us all over the floor.”
The Jets (0-13, 0-5 MHC) accomplished about everything necessary for their first win of the year and seemed on the verge of that success with slightly more than three minutes remaining in the game.
With a 70-69 lead in the game that featured eight ties and seven lead changes, Hauser suffered through a 2:30 dry spell during which South Decatur (10-4, 2-3) scored 10 consecutive points.
“We did hit some big shots when we most needed them,” said Black. “We got some big rebounds and tightened down the defense in the final three minutes.”
Hauser’s slim lead quickly turned into a nine-point deficit, and the outcome was one that has become all too familiar for the Jets this year.
“We have been working on this for a long time and we have certainly been improving,” said Bob Nobbe, who coached the 2006 Hauser team to the Class A state championship.
“The first step was to improve our fundamentals, and we did that,” said the 17-year coach. “The second step was to become competitive, and we did that. And now we have to take the third step, which is to learn how to finish a game.”
During the game’s first 29 minutes, Nobbe was given plenty to smile about. The pace of the game was vintage Hauser. The game was played at track-meet speed. That fact left Black shaking his head.
“That’s the way Hauser likes to play,” said Black. “We didn’t take control and played out of control. We even rushed our foul shots. We became frustrated and that led to more frustration.”
“You bet I was happy with the tempo and offensive output,” said Nobbe. “But we have to improve our half-court defense. We can’t give up 83 and expect win.”
South Decatur entered the game averaging 54 points per game while giving up just 51.
The Cougars, who had lost four of their last five, were led by Taylor Kopplin. The junior sharpshooter nailed six 3s and scored a team-high 24 points. Senior Cameron Agnew added 16 points which included a field goal and four free throws in the final minutes. Seniors Byron Balser and Josh Miller scored 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Agnew led the winners to a 32-28 rebounding advantage by pulling down 10 rebouonds from his guard position. He also had five steals.
Hauser’s offense was sparked by junior Trey Shipley who scored 21 first half points and finished with 27.
“He is really athletic,” said Black. “And he hit some really long shots, the type we don’t even try to cover most of the time.”
Sophomore Mason Ramsey took up the second-half slack by scoring 14 of his 19 points. Included were two straight long 3’s midway through the final quarter.
Junior Ryan Christy scored 10 points and gathered a team-high eight rebounds. Junior Aaron Branum also scored 10 points for the Jets who will host Batesville tonight.