For The Tribune
The Seymour boys basketball team found out Saturday night it needs to have games with consistent play, not ones filled with peaks and valleys.
The Owls trailed Jennings County by 13 points late in the third quarter and rallied to tie the game with 1:25 remaining but couldn’t get over the hump and lost 58-54.
“The main thing tonight was that our guys weren’t physically and mentally ready to go in the second and third quarter, and that really cost us,” Owls assistant coach Brent Jameson said. “Credit to Jennings County. They were ready to go, and they made the right plays in the big moments and gave themselves a chance to win the game.”
When Nick AmRhein scored a basket with 52 seconds left in the third quarter, the Panthers led 44-31.
Jennings County was on top 44-36 at the start of the fourth quarter and boosted its lead to 49-39 before Toriek Miller sparked Seymour’s comeback.
Miller scored 10 points to lead the Owls on a 15-5 run, and his 3-pointer tied the game at 54 with 1:25 to go.
Panthers coach Joe Hartwell called a timeout with 57 seconds remaining, and his team worked the ball until Justin Pettit scored from under the basket with 32 seconds on the clock.
The Owls worked the ball around the backcourt until Miller put up a 3-pointer from the top of the key with nine seconds remaining. The shot fell short, the Panthers rebounded and Kenneth Jones made two free throws with 5.9 seconds to go to seal the win.
“We made some shots. That’s the key,” Hartwell said of his team’s 20-for-35 shooting performance. “Tyler (Vogel) got going, and Nick made some shots. That was the key because that got us fired up defensively.”
Miller scored 11 points in the first quarter to help the Owls to a 15-13 lead.
Vogel, who had two 3-pointers in the first quarter, stayed hot in the second with 11 points, boosting the Panthers to a 29-23 lead at the half.
“All of our wins won’t be pretty, I promise you that,” Hartwell said. “We were lucky to get out of here with a win, but we felt like we did enough early to earn it.
“If you look at their shot chart, our guys had them for 39 shots, and 30 of them were 3s. We wanted to force them to shoot a lot of perimeter shots, and Toriek made some, and we had to live with it because we didn’t think we could guard him on the dribble. I think that game plan kind of worked for a while.”
Seymour made 18 of 39 shots from the floor for the night and had 14 turnovers.
“We’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball, give ourselves an opportunity on the offensive end,” Jameson said. “We were a little disappointed on the defensive end tonight. Jennings County executed much better than we did tonight. Their game plan was sound, and their players did a nice job of making some big plays.
“Pettit and Vogel are absolute studs on the inside, and we knew that coming in, and we focused a lot of our attention on that. Their guards were the difference in the game. I thought their guards did a tremendous job for them.”
Vogel topped the Panthers (3-3, 2-0 HHC) with 23 points, Pettit scored 13 and AmRhein finished with 12.
Miller, who made 11 of Seymour’s 18 field goals, scored a career-high 35 points and tied the school record with nine 3-pointers to lead the Owls (0-7, 0-3 HHC). Matt Trimnell made nine 3-pointers against Floyd Central during the 2009-10 season.
“We’ve got a couple weeks off,” Jameson said, as the Owls don’t play again until Jan. 2. “We’re going to look to create some opportunities for some other players to find their way into the scoring book and balance that out and take a little bit of that burden off Toriek.”