Owls begin new year with a win



For the seventh year in a row, the Seymour boys basketball team begins a new calendar year with a victory.

Behind great rebounding, suffocating defense and a solid night at the free-throw line, the Owls downed the Martinsville Artesians 41-25 for their third win of the season. 

It was the first time the two teams have met in five years and the first win for the Owls over the Artesians since Nov. 28, 2009. 

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Seymour boys basketball coach Kirk Manns was pleased his players were able to start the new year off with a win after having plenty of days off to rest and prepare. 

"We just want to keep getting better," Manns said. "It is a cliche, but it’s what we want to do. We’ve got a little bit more practice time now and we want to continue to get better."

Both teams struggled offensively, a problem they’ve been dealing with since the beginning of the season. Yet, Seymour was able to pull away early thanks to a team effort on the glass. 

Though Martinsville boasts two players 6-foot-7-inches or taller, the smaller Owls were able to get to the glass for 20 boards. While that’s not a stellar number, most of those rebounds came on the offensive end and nine different Owls contributed to the rebounding effort.  

Those second-chance opportunities gave the Owls precious extra looks at points in a game where neither side could get the ball to fall through the net consistently.

"We’re outmanned and outmatched almost every night and this was no different," Manns said. "Our kids battled on the boards and I think that was the key tonight. They didn’t back down inside, they were able to battle and control the backboard."

Aiden Goen led the rebounding effort with four. 

A Martinsville 2-3 zone kept the Owls out of the painted area for much of the first half, but after a couple of timely Eric McCoy 3-pointers, the lane opened up and Owls were able to penetrate and get to the rim.

McCoy finished with 10 points. 

That penetration didn’t always result in points, but gave the Owls plenty of chances from the free-throw line where they were perfect three quarters.

They wound up going 13-for-17 for the game, missing four late when the game was already wrapped up. 

The numbers at the line are great for Manns, but the macro is that his group was getting shots at the rim and dictating how the game was played.

"I thought we did a good job of controlling the tempo," Manns said, "especially when we got the lead. Often times it’s just as tough to play with a lead as it is to play from behind. Give our kids credit for understanding the situation and being able play the game that way."

Defensively, the Owls held Martinsville to just four points in the third quarter and 10 over all in the second half. Whether it was denying passing lanes or making life tough for the Artesians down low, there were no easy buckets allowed by the Owls.

The 25 points given up is the fewest the Owls have allowed all season. Though that’s a tough target to hit on a nightly basis, keeping teams to low totals for the Owls is crucial. Having a long time off allowed the Owls to burn some extra energy on the defensive end. 

"I’m really proud of the effort we continue to put forward and tonight was another example of that," Manns said. "We were able to put forth a lot of energy and our kids understood what we needed to take away from Martinsville." 

Leading the way for the Owls was Marcus Brooks, who scored 11 and led the Owls at the halftime break with eight. 

Casey Regruth scored nine and Drew Vehslage dropped in eight. The duo scored all of Seymour’s points in the third quarter. 

Jayden Brown rounded out the scoring with three.

In junior varsity action, the Owls held Martinsville to just four second-half points as they cruised to a 50-27 win.

Owen Marshall led the Owls with 17 points, Donovyn Thomas scored nine, Landon Fritsch netted eight, Andrew Levine chipped in eight, Charlie Longmier added six and Eli Meyer tallied two. 

The Owls travel to Charlestown this Friday night for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff against the Pirates. 

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