Second-half surge lifts Jeffersonville over Seymour



After their loss to county rival Brownstown Central, Seymour coach Kirk Manns said his team needed to come out of the gate with more energy.

Friday night in their Hoosier Hills Conference opener against Class 4A No. 8 Jeffersonville, the Owls had plenty of vigor in the first half. Yet, much like their game against Southport, the size, speed and athleticism of the Red Devils wore the Owls down as they cruised to a 56-40 win.

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Seymour managed to cut their deficit to six early in the third quarter, but a 13-0 Red Devil run in the stanza swelled their advantage to 20 and put the Owls well out of reach.

To make matters worse in the second half, the Owls played without their leading scorer Eric McCoy for much of the third quarter. The senior guard took a nasty knock on his head putting him out of the game for an extended amount of time.

He led the Owls with 13 points on Friday night.

McCoy came back later in the period and picked up where he left off as the go-to option for the Owls, but didn’t have much help in cutting into the Jeff lead.

The Owls were also without Marcus Brooks in the final quarter after fouling out early on in the period. He scored eight points, all coming in the first half.

However, regardless of who was on the court, the Owls’ mantra for this season is to play hard no matter what.

Unfortunately, whichever five was on the court for the Owls couldn’t take care of the ball, coughing it up 14 times. That number isn’t very high, but the Red Devils were efficient with turning those turnovers into 21 points.

“Sometimes turnovers don’t hurt you if they don’t score,” assistant coach Randy Fife said. “With this team they were running down and getting layups. They hurt us.”

Most of those turnovers were the result of the Red Devils getting in the faces of the Owl guards. In turn, Seymour was never able to run any of their sets and and, according to Fife, were too tentative with the basketball.

“We had trouble running any of our sets because they’re so quick and aggressive,” Fife said. “If you’re tentative against a team like this, you’re going to turn the ball over.”

One bright spot for the Owls was on the boards.

Despite being outmatched in the size department, the Owls hung tough and won the rebounding battle 22-17. Jayden Brown led the Owls with five boards while Drew Vehslage and McCoy each had four.

“At halftime, they only had three boards,” Fife stated. “Keeping an athletic team off the boards like that is something that’s tough to do.”

Rounding out the scoring for the Owls: Vehslage added eight points, Brown scored nine, and Montana Suits and Colin Madden each had a point.

In junior varsity action, the Owls battled back in the second half but came up short against the Red Devils 57-51.

Jeffersonville did their damage in the first two stanzas, but the Owls won the third and fourth quarters outscoring the Red Devils 30-27.

Freshman Landon Fritsch led the Owls with 16 points with 12 of them coming from behind the arc. Fellow freshman Charlie Longmeier and sophomore Donovyn Thomas each scored 10.

Coltin Wetzel added eight, Andrew Levine chipped in five and Eli Meyer had two to round out the Seymour junior varsity scoring.

The Owls will have a week to prepare for their first road HHC test of the year at New Albany next Friday at 7:30 p.m. Seymour last defeated the Bulldogs on Mar. 1, 2005, 56-55, in a sectional opener.

That game begins a tough stretch for the Owls before the holiday break. Starting with the Bulldogs, they’ll play three games in a four-day span. While that may be tough, Fife says it shouldn’t be anything new to the players.

“We practice awfully hard so the kids should be used to this,” Fife concluded. “We’re going to play hard no matter what.”

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