Prior to the start of the 2015-16 season, the Seymour girls basketball team set three goals — go undefeated at home, win the Hoosier Hills Conference title and make a deep tournament run with a sectional championship.
Tonight, the Owls can finish 9-0 at home with a victory against Scottsburg at the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.
On Thursday, Seymour can win the Hoosier Hills Conference title outright if it beats New Albany on the road.
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“The HHC has been big for us since the beginning,” Owls coach Jason Longmeier said. “In my opinion, this is one of the better conferences in the state of Indiana. There is no conference with more postseason success than the HHC.”
At 7-0 in the HHC, Seymour has at least a share of the conference title with Bedford North Lawrence — whose lone conference loss was to the Owls in the second game of the season.
Since their meeting in Seymour, BNL has a 14-6 record and is 6-1 in conference play.
“We go back and look at the Bedford game,” Longmeier said. “Yeah, Bedford was young, but we also were one game into knowing we wouldn’t have (starter) Emilee Pollmann for most of the season (who suffered a medial meniscus tear in preseason practices). From that game, we really established what we were going to do.”
The Owls have never claimed an HHC title to themselves since joining from the South Central Conference in 1997 but shared the title in 2007 with Columbus East and Jeffersonville.
“It’s really satisfying because we set these goals freshman year and it’s becoming a reality,” Seymour senior Mikayla Fee said. “We don’t want to be satisfied with sectionals coming up, but it feels really good.”
On Tuesday, the Owls shook off a 75-59 nonconference loss to Jennings County from Saturday by defeating Jeffersonville 46-36.
“I was really excited and pleased,” senior Morgan Ritz said. “We knocked off the Jennings County game pretty well. Now we just need to knock of New Albany, and I know we have the talent and ability to do it.
“Reaching these goals kind of means we’re getting towards the end. We’re going up the hill and getting close to the top.”
The silver lining for the Owls in that game against the Panthers was the return of Pollmann.
Pollmann, a two-time All-HHC honoree, led the Owls with 22 minutes, 11.5 points and 2.1 steals per game in 2014 and was been a key defensive competent to the squad.
Prior to her return, Pollman said she acted as another coach on the bench and learned a lot about her team from the sidelines.
While her minutes have been monitored closely, Longmeier said that Pollmann no longer has restrictions and could return to the starting lineup if he sees fit come the postseason.
“I think we need to play smarter and as a team,” Pollmann said. “That’s what it’s all about. We have a lot of good pieces that work well together. We can’t worry about individual things. When you worry about the little things that’s when you succeed.”
New Albany stands at 14-6 on the season and 3-2 in the HHC.
Longmeier said that New Albany resembles Jeffersonville, but has more length and a couple more scorers — so the Owls will administer a similar game plan.
Even though they are guaranteed a name on the title, the Owls don’t want to share it.
“Now we just want to win it,” senior Lindsey Hume said. “We don’t want to share it. We just need to have some good practices. It should be a good HHC matchup.”
On Monday, sectional tournament pairings will be announced at 8 p.m.
The Owls (16-4) will once again play at BNL to start the postseason.
The field is an all-HHC show, with Seymour, Bedford North Lawrence, Floyd Central, Jeffersonville, Jennings County and New Albany.
Seymour hasn’t won a sectional title since the 2007-08 season.
“I think, as a coach, if you’re not looking at the draw, you’re lying to an extent,” Longmeier said. “You start looking forward to those things. The draw is big. Every team in our sectional is capable of beating another team on any given night. We have to be ready to go even if we have a bye.”
Longmeier said that his team’s depth will play suit the rest of the way, and is confident with his rotations saying, “We don’t really have a first and second unit.”
With their eyes on the grand prize, it’s all about execution and making the big shots from this point forward for the Owls.
“We are approaching big games better,” senior Maci Lubker said. “Last year, we would come close or fall apart in big games. We are pulling ourselves together and playing as a team in big game.”