While they had four chances to tie or take the lead in the two minutes of play, the Seymour boys basketball team couldn’t get the edge as they fell to Jeffersonville 54-49 in a Hoosier Hills Conference-opener on Friday.
In the first quarter, Owls senior Toriek Miller drained a pair of 3-pointers in the first five minutes, but the Owls trailed 9-8.
Trailing 14-10 after eight minutes of play, Owls sophomore Tiller Cummings scored a pair of baskets in the paint to bring the score to 16-14 with 5:13 left in the half.
Four-straight free throws by Seymour junior Jordan Miller gave the Owls their second lead of the night at 21-19 at the 3 minute mark.
The game went back and forth as the teams were deadlocked at 27-all at intermission.
The Owls played tough defense, forcing eight Jeffersonville turnovers.
The Red Devils started the second half on a 7-2 run with a pair of free throws, a field goal and a 3-pointer by senior Tommy Luce for a 34-29 lead.
The Red Devils would hit three more treys in the quarter, and stayed on top of the Owls at 46-39 after 24 minutes.
Owls sophomore Alan Perry buried a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter, and the Owls’ offense ignited as they went on a 9-2 run to tie the game at 48 with 4:22 left in the game.
The Owls couldn’t manage more than one free throw down the final stretch.
“I thought our kids did everything we asked of them — we just didn’t make enough plays down the stretch,” Seymour coach Kyle Clough said. “I thought that this might be one of the best defensive performances we’ve had all year. If we keep up defending like that we’re going to give ourselves a chance to win.”
Toriek Miler led the Owls with 14 points, Ryan Wieneke had 11 and Cummings recorded 11 points and eight rebounds.
“I thought Tiller (Cummings) was really good tonight,” Clough said. “He had a tough challenge with (6-foot-5 Dechaun Lewis). He came out of the gates tough and physical. Our guards did a nice job getting passes off creases, and he’s gotten better down low when they dump it off to them.”
Demarre Sims topped Jeffersonville with 14 points, Luce had 13 and Bailey Falkenstein added 10.
Seymour won the turnover battle 23-16, but the Red Devils had more chances at the free throw line making 13 of 23 to the Owls’ nine-for10.
The Owls committed 23 fouls to Jeffersonville’s 16.
Clough said he wants his team to continue playing defense like they did Friday.
“I thought our defense tonight was special,” he said. “We talked all week about getting back to our roots. I thought that we had been atrocious defensively the first three games.
“Part of that is we played really good offensive teams, and part is we as players and coaches didn’t make sure we needed to defend like we had to. I thought tonight we gave ourselves a good chance to win down the stretch. Hopefully next time we get ourselves in that position we can capitalize.”
The Owls (0-4, 0-1 HHC) will host Whiteland tonight.
“It’s tough (playing back-to-back), especially when you don’t have a ton of depth. Our guys played a lot of minutes. That’s the nature of the beast. Whiteland is coming off a back-to-back also. The first six minutes could be the key.”