For The Tribune
The Seymour girls got off to a great start in the Charles E. Hurley Gymnasium on Friday night but couldn’t keep up the pace and lost to Jennings County 75-59 in a nonconference basketball game.
A basket by Morgan Ritz put the Owls on top 7-2 three minutes into the game before the Panthers charged back with a 9-0 run to lead 11-7, and the home team was in front to stay.
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Sidney Gerkin scored nine points in the first quarter to help the Panthers open a 21-11 lead at the end of the period.
Panthers coach Carrie Manowitz said she liked the way her team played in the first half. “I would say that definitely ranks up there as one of our better halves,” she said as the Panthers opened up a 33-13 lead at 4:50 of the second period.
“First of all you’ve got to give credit to Jennings,” Owls coach Jason Longmeier said. “They wanted the game a little bit more than what we did.
“We got off to a good start. We were up 7-2 and we went to a little press right there to get some easy opportunities to expand that lead, and it kind of got us away from our defensive principles, and we got spread a little bit, and they started to hit some shots and they got some confidence. They played awful well tonight.”
Manowitz said, “The girls were real motivated to play. It’s a real neat atmosphere tonight with the boy-girl doubleheader. I wasn’t sure how we could come out being the first game, but I kind of like it.”
Gerkin, Brooklyn Gaines and Shelbi Wright scored all 21 of Jennings’ points in the first period, and each of those players had a 3-pointer during that time.
The Panthers stayed hot the first three minutes of the second period to outscore the Owls 12-2 to lead 33-13 following two free throws by Gerkin at 4:56.
The Panthers (10-9) held a 38-23 lead at the end of the half before the Owls outscored the Panthers 16-9 in the third period to close the gap to 47-39 at the end of the quarter.
Longmeier recalled that his team missed a block out and Jennings got the rebound got fouled and made a free throw, then followed with a 3-pointer and a layup for a 6-0 spurt and a 53-39 lead at 6:15 of the fourth.
“At the end of the day its one game,” Longmeier said. “It wasn’t our best effort. It was disappointing to come over here and play that way. I was over here for a while as a teacher and coach both with the boys’ and girls’ programs.
“There is not a program they dislike more than Seymour. To them it’s a huge rivalry. Tonight they showed up that way and we showed up as it being another game and they got us good.”
The Owls defeated the Panthers 64-42 in a Hoosier Hills Conference game at North Vernon on Dec. 8.
Gerkin and Wright provided a strong 1-2 punch for the Panthers with 28 and 22 points respectively.
Maci Lubker topped the Owls (14-4) with 23 points and Kayla Griffin scored 12.
“I thought at times our kids showed some grit to find a way back into it on a night when it wasn’t our best effort. That’s not us. That was not a very good game. I thought we had a poor practice (Thursday), and I felt like that carried over to the game.”
Seymour senior Emilee Pollmann saw her first playing time of the season as she played a few minutes in each of the last three quarters.
“I would have liked to have played her more down the stretch, but we were in a situation where we were pressing and I really didn’t want to throw in that type of game where there were people diving on the floor,” Longmeier said.
“It didn’t make a whole lot of sense down the stretch but we got her feet wet a little bit. As expected she was a little tentative, and we expected that. This is going to get her that much more ready to play.”
The Owls will play host to Borden at 1:30 p.m. today.