In a fourth quarter where they were fouled 14 times, the Seymour boys basketball team sank 18 of 26 free throws to hold on for a 55-45 victory at Jennings County on Friday.
In the first quarter, Tiller Cummings got the Owls off to a 5-3 lead by the 5:05-mark, scoring all of the Owls’ points.
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Jennings retook the led behind a pair of baskets by Justin Pettit, but the Owls responded with 3-pointers from Alan Perry and Toriek Miller.
The Panthers’ Austin Ketcham buried a 3-pointer with 1:34 left in the first, but Seymour led 11-10 after eight minutes of play.
Seymour (3-8) opened the second quarter with a basket from Perry and another trey from Miller to take a 16-10 advantage.
Cummings continued his strong play inside, scoring four more points before intermission, and the Owls led 23-17 at the half.
Seymour built a 27-20 lead with 5:29 left in the third quarter behind free throws by Perry and Miller and a field goal from Ryan Wieneke.
Adam Jackson had two straight scores to narrow the Panthers’ deficit to 31-28, with 1:21 in the third, but the Owls ended the quarter with another 3-pointer from Miller to take a 37-28 advantage.
Miller took a charge to start the fourth quarter, and the Owls would score all their points from the charity stripe to close-out the game.
Jennings (4-7) got as close as 48-40 with 1:44 left.
“It was a big moment for our kids,” Clough said. “We’ve been in that situation in about seven out of 10 games. Tonight was the first time I felt like we seized control of the game. I’m just really proud of our guys, the way they grinded it out. We took care of the basketball and hit free throws when we needed to.”
Justin Pettit led the Panthers with 18 points and six rebounds and Kenneth Jones added 10.
Miller topped the Owls with 20 points, behind four 3-pointers, Cummings notched 12 and Perry had 10.
“It was by far our best executed game,” Clough said. “We did what we wanted to defensively. Ryan Wienke was as good as anyone at guarding Tyler Vogel (who scored seven points) because (Vogel) an exceptional offensive player, and that was a big key.
“Our guards did their job, they stuck to the game plan. Our kids have been grinding their butts off through some tough losses. I’m just glad they get to feel this way right now.”
The Owls hardly managed any transition points — if any — in the slow paced game.
“We wanted to make them come out and guard us,” Clough said. “Their zone is really tough. We felt like if we got a lead we could slow it down and make them come to us. I thought we executed and didn’t force bad shots when they wanted us to.”