Owls’ late free-throw shooting frenzy secures victory

For the Tribune

Free throws can make all the difference in the final stretch of a basketball game.

That proved true for Seymour, as they made eight free throws in the final 1:50 of Friday’s game against Charlestown to register

a 52-49 win in the Lloyd E.

Scott Gymnasium.

The Owls were 10-for-15 from the line in the fourth period and 21-for-28 for the game.

“One of the things we talked about in that late time out was we’d been there before,” Owls coach Kyle Clough said about protecting a lead. “We have guys that have now been in this situation quite a few times, and they’re starting to have a different look in their eye when it comes down to winning time.”

Seymour held a 38-30 lead going into the fourth period before Tyler Bloom hit a basket, and Alan Perry added two free throws to boost the margin to 42-30 with 6:46 remaining.

The Pirates closed the gap to 44-42 with 1:55 remaining before the Owls sealed the win.

The Owls led 52-46 before Jordan Knoebel made a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Tiller Cummings made two free throws that boosted the Owls lead to 51-46 with 1:53 remaining.

“I thought there was a couple big keys,” Clough said. “I thought Toriek Miller finally made some big plays down the stretch like he is capable of doing, and I can’t say enough about Tiller Cummings.

“(Cummings) is a freshman who, early in the year, we had in a situation like that, he missed a switch out,” Clough said. “This time we left him in and we told him we thought he’d make the play, and he made a great defensive play.

Clough said he was expecting a defensive battle.

“We knew it was going to be that type of game,” he said. “They’re a good defensive team and very similar to

us. They won’t blow you

away offensively.”

The Owls fell behind 9-5 after six minutes of play in the first period. Ty Christensen made two free throws and a 3-pointer in the final 1:19 of the period to put the Owls on top 12-9.

Seymour held a 14-13 lead early in the second period before going on a 10-0 run to build its lead to 24-13 on a basket by Isaiah Thomas with two minutes left in the half.

The Pirates took advantage of some Seymour turnovers to close the difference to 24-20 at the half.

Seymour had balanced scoring as Thomas scored 13, and Christensen and Miller netted 11 apiece.

Jamel Long was high scorer for the Pirates (4-6) with 15 points.

The Owls are 4-7, and Clough likes the direction his team is headed.

“I thought our kids did a great job of stepping up and making winning plays.”

With the victory, the Owls are on a season-high three game winning streak.

“They don’t focus on the bad plays,” Clough said. “They just turn their attention on the wins, and I’m really proud of them.”

I think they’re making some big strides here, and it gives us a three-game winning streak going into a big game next Friday night (against Jennings County). We’ve got a week to prepare, which will be a bonus for us. It should be a great environment with the girls playing before us.”