For Seymour’s Morgan Ritz, basketball brings out her inner competitiveness.
“I just love the competitive spirit of (basketball),” the Seymour senior said. “I love the team aspect, working together as a team to get the best opportunity for a person on the court. I just love the competitiveness and the hard work and that it takes.
“I’ve been playing for a very long time — probably since third grade. I’ve always had a basketball in my hand. I think I shot my first basketball when I was 2 years old, and I’ve never stopped since.”
This season, Ritz is in her third year starting for the Owls.
“I’m a shooting guard, so I set up on the wing,” Ritz said. “I can sometimes work my way into the post if I have a smaller guard on me. I try to use mismatches a little bit. I would rather play against a man-to-man because we can work the ball in and pick them apart. We can do it with a zone, too, but man-to-man is a little bit better to work with.
“I’m very comfortable shooting a 3-pointer. I would rather shoot from the right wing. Transition is a big part of what we’re doing. We need to get back to that a little bit.”
Her high-point games this season have been 14 points against Jennings County and Jasper, and her career high was 19 against Madison her junior year.
Ritz has enjoyed the successes thus far into her senior year.
“I think the team has done well because we’re playing better team ball,” Ritz said. “I think this offense is suited better for us, too. Our defense at the beginning of the year is what kept us going so we could figure out the offense.
“I think (coach Jason) Longmeier has done a good job of getting us prepared. His preparation is awesome. Practice is extremely important because you practice the way you’re going to play. I believe that wholeheartedly. I know the day before a game I come out and practice extremely hard because that is the way I’m going to play the next day.”
Morgan’s sister, Megan, is a freshman on the team.
“I guess I don’t do a very good job of separating sister from teammates sometimes because I want her to do the best, and I want her to be better than me, which I think in some areas she already is,” Ritz said. “I just try to push her. It’s fun. I like having Megan here.”
This spring will be Morgan’s third as a member of the track and field team, as she throws the shot put and discus.
“I like shot put. I glide,” Ritz said. “Discus is so much technique. It’s difficult. Making the spin and coming out of the back is difficult.
“I really enjoy doing track. It’s fun. I was so surprised how much lower body it is, and hip movements, than what it is in your upper body. If you get those hips moving fast then you can come around and jerk your arm really hard. It’s pretty cool.”
Ritz said a positive attitude is important in all sports.
“You have to believe in yourself, and from a shooter’s aspect, if you miss the first six, you have to know the next one you take you’re going to make,” she said. “That’s a lot of it because you can get down on yourself, and I struggled with that a lot my freshman and sophomore years.
“In the shot put, if you foul, you’ve got to get it the next time. You have to have a short-term memory when you play sports.”
Parents: Melanie and Casey Ritz
Sports: Basketball, four years; track and field, three years
Athletic highlights: Basketball, all-county team
Organizations: Future Farmers of America, National Honor Society
Plans after high school: Attend Wilmington College
Favorite food: Cheeseburgers
Favorite TV show: “Big Bang Theory”
Favorite musician: Taylor Swift
Favorite movie: “The Hunger Games”
Favorite athlete: Indianapolis Colts
Q: What’s it like attending SHS?
A: “I love it here. The faculty and everyone is great here. The teachers do a fantastic job. I really enjoy it.”
Q: Do you enjoy playing at Lloyd E. Scott gymnasium?
A: “I love the crowd. I love our gym. It’s an amazing gym to play in, the third-largest (high school) gym in the nation. A lot of places we go, I just don’t realize how blessed we are to have such a big gym. It’s very well kept. It’s very awesome.”
Q: Are there any games that stick out in your mind?
A: “The highlight was against Bedford here this year. We worked our tails off, and we came out and played well, and we beat them.”