It was a little eerie how similar the Floyd Central and Seymour girls basketball teams were entering Thursday’s contest at Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.
The Highlanders, like Seymour, had only registered three wins so far this season and both teams were led by their 5-foot-5-inch senior guard — their only upperclassman.
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Despite their similarities, the difference for the Owls in Thursday’s Hoosier Hills Conference showdown was their defense, holding the Highlanders to just three made field goals in the first half.
Their defense let up late, but the Owls were able to weather the late Floyd Central storm and knock down their free throws en route to a much needed win 44-37.
“We knew it was going to be a low-possession game and they made us play defense,” Seymour coach Jason Longmeier said. “We had a couple of really good defensive possessions where we played defense for a minute. If we’re up 14 points, I’ll play defense for a minute.”
In addition to their defense, one of the biggest boons for the Owls was the quality minutes they got from their bench.
In past contests, Longmeier has admitted he’s needed reserve players to step up in order to give his starters a break. On Thursday, with the help of a sizable lead, he was able to play reserves like Cali Cummings, Brooke Trinkle and Kendrick Sterling for longer spells in the first half.
“We got some other kids some minutes that really needed to give us some good minutes,” Longmeier said.
In turn that kept his starters fresher for longer and allowed them to play the majority of the second half and stave off the Floyd Central comeback.
Twice in the first quarter, the Owls fended off the Floyd Central attack for more than a minute. The Highlanders, who tried to spread out the Owls and look for lanes to the basket were unable to penetrate the lane for easy layups.
A balanced offense coupled with their tough defense made the Owls especially formidable.
Grace Schrader led the charge in the first half with eight points just a game removed from a zero-point effort at Columbus North.
She finished with 10 for the game.
Yet the Owls saw production from five other players in the first half keeping the Highlander defense honest.
After scoring just two in the first 16 minutes, Grace Meyer took over in the second half. She scored 13 in the second half and finished with 15 to lead the Owls and was 6-for-8 from the free-throw line.
The Owls’ twin towers in the middle were able to get whatever they wanted thanks to their superior size.
“I thought the middle of the floor was open all night,” Longmeier said.
Rounding out the scoring, Alyssa Perry had seven, Aidan Hiester had five, and Brooke Trinkle and Jamya Miller had three each.
In junior varsity action, sophomore Emilee East drained a runner along the baseline to give the Owls the 34-33 win over the Highlanders.
East’s bucket capped her four-point night as she was one of six different Seymour players to score on Thursday night.
Brooke Trinkle led the way for the Owls with 12 points. Eliza Cash, Kaylee Waskom and Kendrick Sterling all chipped in five points each while Lexi Morris rounded out the scoring with three points.
The Owls are off until next Friday when they battle Shelbyville and Hamilton Heights on the first day of the East Central Tournament.
Seymour takes on the Golden Bears at 2 p.m. before quickly turning around to tackle the Huskies at 5:30 p.m. After a long stretch, it’s going to be tough sledding for the Owls right after the holidays.
“From a psyche standpoint it was it’s tough to go through those stretches and try to find wins,” Longmeier said. “Going over there and playing four games in two days after the schedule we just went through is going to be tough.”