Summer hoops: Seymour’s annual shootout draws 32 teams

Summer break may have already started, but the focus Friday was on winter sports at Seymour High School.

The girls basketball team conducted the school’s annual shootout with 32 teams coming to the city to compete. Teams from Silver Creek, Bloomington, Lanesville, Columbus and more made the trip to Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.

This year’s shootout was larger than other years.

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“We have games at two courts here, the middle school, Cortland (Elementary School) and Trinity (Lutheran High School) has games going,” Owls coach Jason Longmeier said during a break.

That gives Seymour High School a chance to showcase its gymnasium — the state’s largest — and teams a good level of competition.

“It gets a lot of teams coming in here and shows off our nice facilities and get kids in surrounding areas to play in what we consider the best gym in the state of Indiana,” he said. “It’s also a great way for us to get some games in without having to travel.”

Longmeier said the games provide more teachable moments for teams.

“I just want to learn off each game,” he said. “I just want to close the gap between game one and game two. Then we need to close the gap between two and three.”

Trinity Lutheran coach Mike Lang, whose team played a few games, agreed there were opportunities to grow through the shootout. He said the games usually aren’t lower in intensity because everyone wants to win, but it helps the games don’t hurt a record.

“Everyone wants to win each game, but we’re not going to hang a banner for going 20-0 in the summer,” he said. “It does provide a more teaching environment where when you see a mistake, you can pull a kid out and we can teach a little bit more than we can during the season.”

Both coaches are trying to find out where their teams stand well ahead of the start of the season. For Longmeier, his focus will be on offense.

He said the team has lost a lot of its leading scorers from last season. That means the team will have to find out where its offensive productivity will come from.

“We have to figure out at this point who can score and play at this level,” he said.

That also means younger players will have to do things they may not be ready to do.

“What we’re trying to teach them is the game speed,” he said. “It’s much faster than it was last year. If we can get them acclimated to that, then that’s a big part of it.”

Lang said he noticed the team will have to improve its conditioning over the summer to get ready for the season.

“We’re not in as good shape now,” he said. “It’s been awhile for many of them for game action.”

Lang said he was thankful Seymour provided a local shootout.

“We’re not having to travel out of town,” he said. “Coach Longmeier has been great to work with to let us have three games on our home court and be hosts.”

The games also provide some experience for players who may not get as much playing time.

“It gives kids a lot of experience against some great competition,” he said. “Summer is all about growth and to get experience.”’

Seymour has another shootout scheduled next weekend, but Longmeier said he doesn’t plan to have the team participate in anymore for the summer.

“We’ll usually play 20 games over the summer, but the way things are now and where we’re at, we need to focus on ourselves to get where we need to be,” he said.

The Cougars will keep busy with a few shootouts scheduled in the coming weeks.

“The point here is to grow and get better through more competition,” he said.