Owls use opponent’s defense against them

There is an old saying in basketball that you take what the defense gives you.

Switzerland County opened Saturday’s game against Seymour in the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium in a zone defense, and that gave the Owls an opportunity to shoot 3-pointers.

The Owls made the most of their opportunities by making four 3-pointers in the first period, three more in the second quarter and eight for the night and rolled to a 51-31 win.

Seymour coach Kyle Clough said he felt comfortable having his team shoot 3-pointers from the start.

“Typically, when you see a zone team, you can do one of two things: You can try to pound it in early and then work inside out, or you can try to knock down some shots and extend them so you create some gaps for your guys to get into,” Clough said.

“I thought Ty Christensen was a big lift for us tonight. He’s been working very hard on his jump shot since the end of last season, so it was a perfect opportunity for him. They’ve got those two big bodies down there in the block. We really thought if we could get them to come out to the corners and have to guard us we would get some shot attempts for him and that would open up some layup opportunities, which we got in the game.”

Christensen and Toriek Miller were hot from the start as both made two 3-pointers during the first 4:25 of the game to put the Owls on top 12-5 at the 3:35 mark.

Miller added 2, and Quenton Stoner added a rebound basket to help the Owls to a 16-7 lead at the end of the period.

Christensen stayed hot with two more buckets from beyond the arc in the second quarter, Kyle Wieneke added a trey, and Anthony Rork and Alan Perry added baskets inside to put the Owls on top 30-13 at the break.

Christensen added another 3-pointer in the third quarter when Seymour outscored the Pacers 11-6 to take a 41-19 lead into the fourth period.

Christensen led all players with 17 points, and Miller added 15. Wieneke topped the Owls in rebounds with seven.

With Miller running the point, Clough said he felt like the Owls did a nice job of moving the ball as they shot 15-for-32 through the first three quarters.

“I think we’re still learning,” Clough said. “(Miller) is learning how to be a point guard. He obviously can score. He’s very tough off the dribble, and people know that. I thought he made some of the best reads tonight once he got into the paint. Early in the year he was getting in there and just had to score. He didn’t think anything else. Now he’s starting to see the kick-outs guys like Ty and dump-offs to guys like IT (Isaiah Thomas) or Tiller (Cummings). He’s becoming a complete point-guard, and before he’s all done here he’s going to be a fantastic one for us.”

Defense played role in the win for the Owls as well.

“It looks a little better for us because we made some shots, but I’m still really proud of the defensive effort by our guys and holding them to 31 points with the size that they have was a big step for us, and something we can definitely build on,” Clough said.

Hunter Hayes led the Pacers (2-5) with nine points and 11 rebounds.

Clough stressed to team the importance of being 1-0 in 2015.

“It’s a good start for us to get to 1-0,” Clough said. “At this point of the year, with any team in basketball, I’ve always said you either get better or you get worse at the break. I don’t think there is any in between, and tonight we got better, and we have to take that and get prepared for a tough Edinburgh team at their place.”

The Owls will take a 2-7 record to Edinburgh on Tuesday night.

“We’ve got to stay focused,” Clough said. “One thing I think we’re doing a better job of is understanding our roles. Each individual guy is doing a nice job in his role, and if we get enough guys, five at a time out there to do that, we’re going to be in good positions to win games.”