Heading into holiday tournament competition and playing for the first time since Dec. 20, the Seymour girls basketball team felt fresh and prepared.
The Owls won both of their games on the first day of the Pete Pritchett Holiday Tournament at Bedford North Lawrence High School on Friday.
In the morning, the Owls easily downed Castle 50-30.
With a 30-17 lead at the half, the Owls locked-in defensively and kept the Knights to just 13 points before the final buzzer.
Seven different Owls scored against the Knights, led by Kayla Griffin who finished with 13 points.
The Owls recorded an incredible 37 rebounds in the contest to the Knights’ 20 boards.
Owls junior Mikayla
Fee finished as the high-
rebounder of the game with 10 boards while Morgan Ritz and Emilee Pollmann each snagged seven rebounds each.
“We just whooped them on the boards this morning,” Owls coach Jason Longmeier said. “We were really focused, and I think the other thing this morning is we were as good defensively as we’ve been all year. To be honest with you, it could have been 20 to 23 points we held them to.”
The Knights (6-6) didn’t have a player break double-digits in scoring.
Later that night, the Owls faced a tougher opponent in Jasper.
However, the Owls didn’t back down as they defeated the Wildcats 60-51.
The Wildcats started on a 4-0 up to the 4:50 mark in the first quarter when Pollman netted the first basket for the Owls.
Longmeier made some substitutions in the first three minutes, as the team looked for more energy on the floor.
“It was a bit of a sluggish start,” Longmeier said. “We weren’t into it, so we sat some players down and brought in some energy from the bench and they settled in. We then put the starters back in and they responded well.”
From then on, the Owls were in control of the game — mostly due to their full-court press on defense.
“The full-court press is something we’ve been working on the past two weeks to get ready for the second half of the season,” Longmeier said. “I thought our kids did a really good job of trapping in the trapping zones. When we got into the traps, we were good with our hands and in the passing lanes. I really think that was the difference. It energized us and frustrated (Jasper) a little bit.”
Lauren James added two points, and Mikayla Fee netted two free throws to tie the game with 3:39 left in the first quarter.
The Owls took their first lead of the game at 2:55 when Griffin scored a transition layup after a Fee block. With the remaining time, the Owls went on a 6-2 run to go up 17-10 after eight minutes of play.
In the second quarter, the Owls found their range as Pollmann, Maci Lubker and Morgan Ritz each drilled 3-pointers. At the half, the Owls led 28-22.
The floodgates opened after intermission, as the Owls went on a 10-0 run with four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Wildcats tried to battle back in the fourth quarter by scoring 20 points but failed to make a
comeback as the Owls drilled their free throws on intentional fouls.
“We rode our horses a little more than I would have liked with playing two games in one day. This was a big game for us, we wanted to make sure that we won at least two out of three of these, and have a chance against Carmel.”
This season, Carmel stands at 8-5. Despite their record, the Greyhounds have lost four of those five games to ranked teams.
“(Carmel) is going to be a different beast than what we’ve seen,” Longmeier said. “They’re going to press us the whole time and then drop into a 2-3 zone. If we handle the press, we have a shot. If we don’t handle the press, and give them easy buckets, we’re gonna be fighting from behind all night. But, I like our chances. It’s a good chance to measure where we’re at right now.”
The Owls and Grey-hounds will play their final game of the round robin tournament at BNL starting at 11 a.m. today.