For the Tribune

MADISON

The Seymour girls basketball team came up with its best first half of the season Saturday afternoon at Madison and pulled away to a 59-35 Hoosier Hills Conference win.

With Morgan Ritz hot from the start, the Owls opened up an 11-1 lead in less than three minutes, maintained a 20-10 lead at the end of the first period, and had a 39-16 cushion at the half.

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Ritz hit a mid-range jumper on Seymour’s opening possession, then followed up with three 3-pointers to put the Owls on top 11-1 with 5:10 on the clock.

“We knocked down some early shots and got them into the flow of our offense,” Owls coach Jason Longmeier said. “When our shooters get their feet set and we get them the ball where they need to have it then good things happen. I thought early on we did a good job of doing that.”

Maci Lubker and Kayla Griffin added layups, and Mikayla Fee scored off an offensive rebound before Ritz added another bucket for

the 20-10 lead at the end of the period.

“I thought, defensively, it was probably one of the better games we’ve had of executing the game plan,” Longmeier said. “Our game plan changed a little bit right before the game when we found out they were a couple players short. That allowed us to focus a little more on (6-1 senior) Olivia Crozier and trying to keep her out of what she does well.”

Two Cubs starters missed the game, one because of sickness and one because of a concussion.

The Owls, meanwhile, prevented Crozier from attempting a shot in the first half as she was limited to six free throw attempts.

“Early on it was Mikayla (Fee) on (Crozier), and we probably threw three or four different people at her,” Longmeier said. “Our goal was to limit her touches. It was a little surprising to see them put her at the point, which I thought allowed us better opportunities to keep her from the inside.”

“When she got the ball we wanted to make sure she got it with her back going away from the basket and I thought we did a good job of that.”

Seymour (7-1, 2-1) was leading 31-16 with three minutes remaining in the second period before closing the half on an 8-0 run.

Keighana Thomas came in and scored a pair of baskets and two free throws, and Lauren James and Lubker added 4 points each in the second period.

The Owls stayed hot at the start of the third period with another 8-0 run with another 3-pointer by Ritz making it a 47-16 game.

Ritz topped the Owls with 19 points and Lubker was next with nine. Fee led the Owls in rebounds with eight.

Crozier finished with eight points and seven rebounds.

The Cubs (6-2) finished with 11 made field goals.

“We played a little bit of zone early in the first half,” Longmeier said. “We felt, in the second half if we came out and played some zone we were going to give their shooters some opportunities, and we thought with the lead that we had the best thing to do was to make them earn every opportunity.”

Longmeier said he felt like the Owls could have been a little more patient on offense.

“We’ve got to do a better job when the lead gets spread out,” he said. “The 3-pointers were open, so they’re not bad shots, but we’ve got to do a better job of getting the ball inside, and focusing on our inside game. We kind of fell in love with the 3-point shot again today, but we shoot the ball so well it’s easy for us to do that, but we had some good stretches today with the 3-pointers.”

Coach also said the team bounced back well after the Jennings County game.

“We really challenged their toughness the last couple days, and we answered the bell,” Longmeier said. “Defensively I thought we were solid, and we did a good job on the boards today.”

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Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.