For The Tribune
The Seymour girls’ basketball team came up with what coach Jason Longmeier was its best defensive performance of the season, and it was enough to carry the team to a 50-49 win against North Harrison in the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
“Defensively that’s probably the best game we’ve played all year,” Longmeier said. “You look up at the board and say we gave up 49 points, and that’s more than we would like. In the first half defensively we were really good until the finish. We didn’t rebound.”
The Owls lost the rebound battle 35-32.
Longmeier said he told the Owls at halftime that they needed to do a better job on defense.
“I challenged them at halftime,” he said. “We just didn’t finish the defense. We didn’t get the defensive rebounds to keep them off, and they made eight free throws in the first half, and had eight offensive rebounds in the first half. That is really where they were getting their points from in the first half.”
The Lady Cats finished with 15-for-57 shooting from the floor, and the Owls made 16-of-50. The Owls made 13-of-20 free throws to 15-of-24 for North Harrison.
A free throw by Maci Lubker gave Seymour a 50-46 lead with 22.4 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The Cougars quickly brought the ball up the floor and Hallie Hinton made her second 3-pointer of the fourth period to make it 50-49 with 14 seconds remaining.
The Owls brought the ball across half court and worked the clock until Sarah Benefiel was fouled with .03 on the clock.
She missed both free throws, and North Harrison’s desperation shot fell short.
Longmeier said he felt his team had its best spacing of the day spreading its offense.
“We set them out and played a little bit of keep away,” he said.
Two free throws by Morgan Ritz put the Owls on top 40-31 with 6:09 remaining before the Lady Cats went on a 13-6 run to close to 46-44 but they were not able to tie the game as they had their eight-game winning streak snapped.
North Harrison held a 23-19 lead at the half before the Owls stepped up their level of play on both ends of the floor in the third period. Seymour outscored Harrison 15-4 in the third.
Kayla Griffin and Mikayla Fee had four rebounds apiece in the quarter, and Ritz and Lubker both hit 3-pointers as the Owls shot 5-for-11 during that time.
“I thought the third quarter was, by far, the best defensive quarter we’ve played all year and it led to some easy opportunities for us on offense,” Longmeier said as the Lady Cats shot only 2-for-13 during that time.
Seymour had a balanced attack as Ritz scored 12, Lubker 11, Griffin had 10 points to go along with 11 rebounds, and Fee had 8 points and 10 rebounds.
Cali Nolot topped the Lady Cats (17-2) with 20 points.
North Harrison was ranked No. 7 in Class 3A last week. Their only previous loss was to Columbus East on Dec. 5.