Seymour beats Austin on Senior Night


Just two years ago, Seymour’s boys basketball team needed overtime to beat Austin by two points.

That memory felt much more distant on Friday night as the Owls (13-6) cruised to a convincing 59-27 victory over the visiting Eagles.

Seymour scored the game’s first 11 points, had three different first-half runs of at least 9-0 and made 17 of 22 shots (77 percent) to take a 40-9 lead into halftime.

“I thought we were really in sync in the first half,” Seymour head coach Kirk Manns said. “We were playing the right way, the ball was moving and we were knocking down shots. We got up big and got up early at the same time. It felt like it was a 30-point game right away.”

Three Owl scorers finished in double digits with Eli Meyer leading for the second straight game with 14 points.

Not surprisingly, Seymour’s defense was instrumental in the victory. The Owls never allowed Austin to score more than nine points in a quarter, running their streak of single-digit quarters to eight straight.

For the sixth time in their last 11 games, Seymour held its opponent under 30 points. In that span, the Owls’ opponents are averaging just 35.8 points.

As the final regular-season home game of the season, Seymour celebrated its senior class consisting of Marcus Brooks, Andrew Levine and Casey Regruth.

Levine marked the occasion with his best game of the year, scoring 13 points, grabbing a team-high five rebounds and delighting the crowd with his now-patented behind the back pass on a fast break that led to a layup by Brooks.

Brooks, meanwhile, score 11 points, his team-leading 11th double-digit scoring effort of the season. The defensive-minded Regruth, meanwhile, ended with two blocked shots and four assists.

“It’s hard to put into words what they’ve meant to our program,” Manns said. “When we took over (three years ago), there was a lot of ‘Seymour can’t’ in conversations I had. It took those three to show that Seymour can. They’ve been a huge part in changing our culture and creating a new culture. The sacrifices they’ve made for the program have been unbelievable.”

This year’s seniors are lifers in Seymour’s basketball system, first competing in Enter His Courts and Boys &Girls Club leagues in kindergarten and the early grades. They played for their respective grade school teams and battled against each other in south-side “Holy Wars” between St. Ambrose Catholic (Regruth and Levine) and Immanuel Lutheran (Brooks), two schools separated by a couple of blocks on Chestnut Street.

Brooks, Levine and Regruth also participated in the Seymour Swish travel basketball program first established by former Owls head coach Kyle Clough.

“It’s been fun to grow up with,” Levine said. “Playing with friends and classmates, that was always fun. We had a rivalry between the private schools, St. Ambrose and Immanuel. In fifth grade, we won. That’s really the only game we need to talk about. We were good in our age group and won quite a few tournaments and I just assumed that would lead to just as much success in high school.”

When the three reached Seymour High School, Brooks was elevated as a freshman to the JV team, while Levine and Regruth played on a freshman team that won 12 games.

The three players joined forces again their sophomore season on the varsity and helped Manns, then in his first season as head coach, implement a new system on the floor and a team-first culture in the home locker room at Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.

“Coach Manns taught us what hard work is, how it should be done,” Brooks said. “There were definitely some practices where we were like, ‘Is this going to be worth it? Is this really going to pay off?’ He instilled a work ethic in us that we will carry into life. He’s built what feels like a winning culture, which Seymour really hasn’t had in a long time.”

The progression wasn’t always linear, but it was unmistakable as the Owls won eight games in Manns’ first season (including that overtime win over Austin), followed by 10 wins last season and, so far, 13 victories this season.

“This season has been absolutely awesome,” Regruth said. “We’ve got a locker room that’s really close and that has been the foundation of everything we’ve been able to do this year. As the year has gone on, our chemistry has improved. Everyone’s bought into the system. We’re able to take care of business when we should, and we’re able to compete in the high-level games as well. We’re looking to continue building.”

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