During halftime of the team’s home-opener against Southport, Seymour High School boys basketball coach Tyler Phillips compared the game to a boxing match.
The Owls lacked a killer instinct, and needed to punch back.
While the Owls were able to fix their approach, they’d dug themselves too deep a hole.
[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]Click here to purchase photos from this gallery
The Owls fell to the Cardinals 56-42 on Saturday in the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.
Seymour didn’t make a field goal in the opening eight minutes of play.
The Cardinals jumped to a 7-0 lead before a pair of free throws by Jayden Brown put the Owls on the board.
In the final 5:02 of the first quarter, the Cardinals scored nine unanswered points to build their advantage to 16-2.
The Owls went 0-10 on field goal attempts and had seven turnovers in the first quarter.
A 3-pointer by Eric McCoy opened the second quarter and a trey from Brown cut the deficit to 18-8 with six minutes left in the half. In a three-minute span, the Cardinals tacked on 14 straight points to go up 32-8.
At intermission, the Cardinals led 34-12. SHS had made just three of 16 field goal attempts while the Cardinals shot 14-for-19.
“They were poor, scared shots,” Phillips said. “We were getting in the lane and just throwing it up because we were scared of their physicality. We came out and played timid and scared. That’s inexcusable. You take out that initial stretch, and it’s a tight basketball game. We need to be ready to play when that ball goes in the air, and we weren’t.”
Phillips challenged the team to attack in the final 16 minutes, and the team responded.
“We told them to be the aggressor. We compared it to a boxing match. We told them if you let them back you into a corner and let them throw haymakers, you’re going to get killed,” Phillips said.
“Even if they are bigger, faster, and stronger, you need to be the aggressor. In the second half, we shot 25 free throws (on 17 fouls). I have a lot of inexperience on the team, and it’s a learning lesson from them in basketball and life. You can’t play scared.”
The Owls chipped away at the lead in the third quarter, outscoring the Cardinals 13-10 to bring the score to 44-25.
Southport had nine fouls in the third quarter, setting the Owls up for a big fourth at the charity stripe.
In the final eight minutes, the Owls went 12-for-18 from the free throw line while limiting the Cardinals to 12 points.
McCoy and Brown each had 10 points to lead the Owls. Brevin Jefferson had 18 points and Chaz Hinds added 17.
From the field, the Owls made eight of 28 field goal attempts. The Cardinal went 21-for-35.
“They’re learning to play together. We just need to find a way to put the ball in basket consistently,” Phillips said. “Forty-two points is not going to win you a lot of varsity basketball games. We should be able to give up low- to mid-50s and win a game. If we hold an athletic, physical group like Southport to 56 points we need to find a way to win that game.”
Seymour will go to Brownstown Central Friday before hosting Franklin Community Saturday.