Lady Owls open basketball season Thursday at Southport


With four senior veterans to form the nucleus of his team, Seymour Lady Owls basketball coach Jason Longmeier is expecting good things for the upcoming season.

“I think we’ve got a good mix of kids that can bring us different things, some that can score, some that can play defense pretty well and others that do a combination of those two things, so I think it’s a good combination of seniors,” he said prior to practice Saturday morning.

“Four is a pretty solid number. I’ve always felt if you can get four from each class, you’re going to be pretty competitive,” Longmeier added.

Those seniors are Journee Brown, Claire Marshall, Jaidyn Nichols and Kendall Sterling.

Sterling was the leading scorer on last year’s team at 14.25 points per game. Brown averaged 9.2, Nichols 3.5 and Marshall averaged when the team went 14-10. Brown topped the team in rebounds with 142 (6 per game).

Sterling was named all-Hoosier Hills Conference last year, and she set the single-season assists record with 110.

Longmeier said he looks for balanced scoring from this group.

“Kenzie Gagner is shooting the ball really for us right now as a junior. Sophie Skidmore and Emmy Munson. Right now, those are the seven that we have locked in as varsity players. “We’re trying to find another one or two of the sophomores that can step in there and help us out,” Longmeier said.

Gagner is the only junior on the roster.

“I think we’re a good shooting team. We didn’t shoot very well in the scrimmage the other day, but we got a lot of good shots. That is something we’ve got to make sure we continue to hammer home,” Longmeier said. “We shoot the ball a lot in practice. Probably close to a third of our practices are shooting drills. That is going to continue to improve.”

He wants the Owls to be stronger on defense than they were last winter.

“Defensively, we’ve got to get better,” he said. “I think that is something we’ve got to hammer out in order to be where we want to be at the end of the season. We’re going to mix it up quite a bit, man and zone. If we can be close to 50-50 in that area, I think that keeps teams off balance a little bit. I don’t know how much pressing we’re going to be able to do. I’m not sure right now that our depth allows us to do that.”

Longmeier, beginning his 13th season as Owls head coach, said there aren’t many pushovers on the schedule. In the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association preseason poll, Bedford North Lawrence is ranked No. 2 in the state, Jennings County is No. 20 and Greensburg, Scottsburg and Silver Creek are honorable mention.

“We put together a tough schedule so we can get ready come tournament time. At the end of the season, I always look back and if we can find a way to get to 14-15 wins with the schedule that we play, then we feel that gets us ready for the tournament,” Longmeier said. “That is our ultimate goal. We want to make sure we’re playing our best basketball at the end of the season.

“We’ve got a lot of kids that are coming to us from other sports right now, so the first couple weeks are a little bit rough, especially from a conditioning standpoint,” he added.

The Owls open their season on Thursday at Southport.

They will play at Salem on Saturday night and at Silver Creek on Nov. 10 before playing Greenwood in their home opener on Nov. 11.

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