Owls bounce back to defeat Franklin 57-47


FRANKLIN — Twenty-four hours after a difficult double-overtime loss to county rival Brownstown Central, Seymour’s boys basketball team got the bounce-back win it desperately wanted by defeating Franklin 57-47 on Saturday night.

Getting to that result, however, required a little experimentation.

Watching his team struggle and fall behind by five points midway through the third quarter, Seymour head coach Kirk Manns formulated a lineup that blended regulars Charlie Longmeier, Andrew Levine and Bret Perry with varsity newcomers Josh Rennekamp and Evan Smith, who were seeing their first significant action of the season.

The move paid off immediately.

Levine drained a 3-pointer from the top of the lane, and Perry and Rennekamp added jumpers that cut Franklin’s lead to a single point.

“Those five guys in the middle of the third quarter, they were the MVPs tonight,” Manns said. “They got their opportunity, and they were ready to go. They gave us the lift that we needed, playing with energy, passion and determination. They set the tone for the rest of the game. When we were able to get our starters back in, they were energized.”

Spurred by Eli Meyer’s eight points, Seymour (3-1) outscored Franklin 18-5 during the fourth quarter. The Owls limited the host Cubs (1-2) to a single field goal over the final eight minutes.

“In the fourth quarter, we put our foot on the pedal,” Longmeier said. “We went out there and finished what we started.”

Saturday’s performance was Longmeier’s best of the season. The junior point guard ended with eight points, five rebounds and five assists.

“I wanted to attack the basket and be strong,” Longmeier said.

Rennekamp, meanwhile, recorded his first points (five) and rebounds (three) of the season.

“I’ve been working with those boys on the bench for a while,” the 6-foot-2 junior said. “We have good chemistry. It felt good to play with them out on the court. We had good energy and togetherness. We did the best defensive job that we could in the second half.”

As has been his habit so far this season, Levine made quick contributions, scoring seven points, grabbing three rebounds and adding two assists.

Meyer finished with his first double-double of the season (12 points and 10 rebounds), and Landon Fritsch (11 points) scored in double figures for the third time in four games.

The decisive stretch for Seymour came during a 9-1 run in the middle of the fourth period. Marcus Brooks and Casey Regruth hit jumpers in the lane to push the Owls in front 47-45.

Meyer then hit two foul shots and Fritsch swished a 3-pointer from the right side to extend the lead to 52-46 with 2:34 left on the clock.

Two plays by Fritsch, a deft one-handed rebound in traffic and a steal, highlighted a four-minute span in which the Owls kept Franklin scoreless late in the fourth quarter.

“We locked in defensively,” Manns said.

Friday’s victory is Seymour’s second straight against Franklin and the third in the last five years. The Owls are off to their first 3-1 start since the 1996-97 season.

“Tonight was a bounce-back night,” Manns said. “We found out a lot about our guys individually and collectively about their resolve and determination. And our bench got a little deeper tonight, which is a really good thing.”

As the coaches prepared for the bus ride back to Seymour, the boisterous celebration of the players nearby was impossible to ignore.

“We’ve got a great locker room,” Manns said. “They’re in it together. That showed tonight.”

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