Playing back-to-back games for only the second time of the season, the Seymour girls basketball team struggled offensively in the first quarter of Saturday’s home game against Borden.
But once the Owls picked up the defensive pressure in the second quarter, it turned into offense.
They built a double-digit lead by halftime and prevented the Braves from making any big runs, winning 62-34.
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The reason for the full-court defensive pressure was to halt Borden’s best player, senior Natalie Ruedinger.
“I don’t think that’s going to be where we’re going to be successful moving forward, but we felt today, it was going to create some energy, it was going to make things hard on Ruedinger and not let her get into a rhythm,” Owls coach Jason Longmeier said.
Ruedinger shot 4 of 11 from the field in the first half, and Seymour forced Borden into 19 first-half turnovers.
“I thought she had a good game today, but I thought she really had to earn her opportunities today,” Longmeier said of Ruedinger, who finished with a team-high 13 points.
The teams combined for 6 of 25 shooting from the field in the first eight minutes, and Seymour led 9-8.
Seymour went on a pair of 5-0 runs in the second quarter to boost its lead. The second came out of a timeout with three minutes remaining in the half, giving the Owls a 25-13 edge. At the break, they led 28-15.
Leading 36-25 in the third quarter, Morgan Ritz hit two free throws, and Kayla Griffin made back-to-back baskets. Borden added two free throws in the final minute but trailed 42-27 going into the fourth quarter.
Seymour fans cheered when Emilee Pollmann made a 3-pointer for her only basket with 4:10 left in the game. This was the senior’s second game of the season coming off of an injury.
Seymour’s largest lead came at the 1:28 mark when Griffin made a putback for a 60-31 score.
With the Owls continuing defensive pressure in the second half, the Braves committed eight more turnovers to finish with 27.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well. We felt like we left 20 to 30 points out there that we could have gotten, but I thought defensively, we did a pretty good job on them,” Longmeier said.
“What you really saw there was the difference between (Class) 4A depth and 1A depth because we were able to keep throwing kids at them and wore them down,” he said of Borden only having 11 players for the varsity-only contest. “I thought really, early in the first quarter, you could see Ruedinger pulling on her shirt, and she was ready to come out. That’s kind of what our goal was, to wear her down and make somebody else beat us.”
Seymour freshman Ashton Chase led all scorers with 14 points behind four 3-pointers, and Ritz was next with 13 points, including three 3-pointers.
Ruedinger was the only player for Borden (10-6) to score in double figures, and she made it a double-double with a game-high 11 rebounds.
Seymour (15-4) suffered a 75-59 non-conference loss to Jennings County on Friday night, and then had to turn around and play Borden early Saturday afternoon.
The Owls will try to keep their perfect Hoosier Hills Conference record in tact Tuesday night when they travel to play Jeffersonville.
“This was a tough game for us after last night’s game to bounce back and play in a game that you’re supposed to win and really supposed to win going away,” Longmeier said. “It’s hard to bounce back and do that and get your focus where it needs to be. Our test is really going to be on Tuesday when we make the trip to Jeffersonville to see how we respond after last night.”