For the Tribune
Toriek Miller scored 12 of his game-high 32 points in overtime, including Seymour’s last five-points to spark the Owls to a 63-60 victory against Franklin on Saturday night in the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.
“He’s a kid that I’ve given a lot of tough love because (Friday) night I thought he played as poorly as good as he’s played here for us (Saturday),” Owls coach Kyle Clough said of Miller. “I told the team in the locker room that I was disappointed in him last night.
Miller scored four points each in the first three quarters, then shot 6-for-6 free throws and added a basket in the fourth quarter. His total is a career-high.
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“For him to come back tonight and play the way he did and be a leader (was big),” Clough said. “He didn’t let his bad plays take him away from the next one, and I hope that shows him, and shows our team, that when he’s focused and determined he’s a good player and he’s just scratching the surface of what he can finally become here as a Seymour basketball player.”
Miller scored the Owls’ first 7 points of overtime to tie the score at 56-56 with 1:05 remaining.
Ryan Wieneke scored a basket with 47 seconds remaining to give the Owls a 58-56 lead before Cameron Smith hit a 3-pointer to put Franklin on top 59-58 with 37 seconds remaining.
Miller converted a three-point play with 29 seconds remaining, then added two free throws with 13.7 on the clock to seal the win for the Owls.
Miller was 18-for-20 from the line overall, and he finished with 32 points.
Smith hit a 3-pointer with 30 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the score at 49.
The Owls worked the ball but were unable to get off a shot before time expired.
“In order to win games you’ve got to close it down the stretch,” Clough said. “We missed a (defensive) switch there at the end and gave that kid a good look. That was a gutsy shot and a gutsy play. I think that everything went against us, that could, down the stretch, and our kids still found a way to win so I’m extremely proud of them for that.”
Clough said a lack of experience hurt his team in that situation.
“Down the stretch there in regulation, I think it’s pretty obvious that we haven’t been in this situation very often,” he said . “We had two freshmen on the court and a couple of other pretty inexperienced guys as far as winning.”
Isaiah Thomas added 12 points and pulled down eight rebounds to help the Owls held a 28-18 margin in rebounds.
“Give Isaiah Thomas and Tiller Cummings a lot of credit,” Clough said. “They played a lot of minutes for us and battled really hard to keep them off the glass. We limited their post touches. That’s where they really want to go with it.”
Smith topped the Cubs (0-3) with 24 points.
Clough said he felt like Owls did a good job of moving the ball against Franklin’s changing defenses, and Seymour shot 18-for-42 for the night. The Owls made 27 of 35 free throws, and the Cubs made 11 of 15.
“Zach Schlatterer and Quinton Stoner gave us a couple good minutes,” Clough said. “I’ll tell you a kid I’m really proud of is Ryan Wieneke, he guarded their best player all night. We told him to put him on his right and make him drive and I thought he just worked his butt off and played about 33 minutes the whole night. I’m really proud of his performance.”
On Friday the Owls (1-2) will travel to Hoosier Hills Conference rival Jennings County.
“To perform the way they did against a good Franklin team says everything you’ll need to know about our kids,” Clough said. “I love those guys in the locker room to death. The see the jubilation in their faces, and the tears in their eyes, and the excitement for what this feels like is a very special night for us.”