For The Tribune
Coach Jason Longmeier said when his Seymour girls’ basketball team moves the ball inside like it did Tuesday night, they’re going to be hard to beat.
Floyd Central cut Seymour’s lead to 48-41 with five minutes remaining before the Owls finished on a 14-0 run and a 62-41 Hoosier Hills Conference win.
“We got the ball inside,” Longmeier said when asked how the Owls were able to pull away. “Tonight was one of those nights where the shots just weren’t falling from the outside, and you’re going to have those nights.
“With what we have right now with (Kayla) Griffin and (Mikayla Fee, and (Katie) Suits coming off the bench, I think we really cheat ourselves if we don’t let that thing work inside out. That being said, our guards are great. It’s not that I don’t want our guards to take a lot of the shots they’re taking, we do, but we want them to get it inside out and make sure they have to defend.”
Seymour held a 43-34 lead entering the fourth period, and the Highlanders trailed 48-41 on a free throw by Morgan Wagner with five minutes remaining when the Owls got hot.
Griffin started the rally with four straight free throws. Fee followed with two layups, Morgan Ritz hit a 3-pointer and Sara Benefiel closed the scoring with a free throw.
Fee had a career-high 22 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the floor and 6-for-7 shooting at the line. Griffin added 19 points and had a game-high 10 rebounds, and Ritz finished with 10 points.
“When you control the paint like we did in the fourth quarter that shuts down an entire defense,” Longmeier said. “Their defense collapsed and that is when you start getting some of those shots, and we need to do a little bit better job for the entire 32 minutes playing through those too.”
The Highlanders jumped out to a 7-2 lead after three minutes before the Owls went on a 19-2 run over the final 3:54 of the first period to lead 21-9 after the first period.
Griffin had the hot hand in the opening quarter with four baskets, including a 3-pointer, Lauren James made two 3-pointers in the period, while Ritz pulled down four rebounds and Griffin had three boards.
The Owls stretched their lead to 27-13 on a basket by Maci Lubker with 3:55 of the second quarter before the Highlanders charged back with a 12-3 run to close to 30-25 at the half.
Longmeier said he felt like his team rushed its shots during that time as the Owls shot 4-for-12 in the quarter.
“We didn’t really get into the offense a lot,” he said. “We shot some quick balls,” he said. “We allowed them to get out in transition and get easy buckets, and we really struggled early on with the ball screen action, and we didn’t do a good job helping with it. They did a good job of setting those and hurting us.”
The Owls (6-0, 2-0 HHC) finished with 22-for-49 shooting from the floor, while the Highlanders (0-4, 0-2 HHC) made 14 of 37 from the floor.
Kailey Price was high scorer for the visitors with nine points.
The Owls held a 30-20 advantage in rebounds.
“When we block out and we’re aggressive on the board, we’re really hard to deal with,” Longmeier said. “When Griffin goes to the boards, you’re just not going to keep her off, and she’s done a great job of avoiding those over-the-back calls.”
Longmeier said he felt like Suits and Lindsey Hume did a good job coming off the bench.
“We had to have a lot of kids play a lot of minutes because Maci was in foul trouble,” Longmeier said.
“I thought Lindsey came in and defensively did a good job. She held her own and did a good job of stepping in and taking care of some things there. We really played that game tonight with seven kids.”
The Owls travel to Rushville on Friday night.