For The Tribune
Confidence is key on the hardwood.
South Ripley’s boys basketball team came to the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium on Saturday night with a 15-4 record, and Seymour entered with a 5-12 mark.
Seymour coach Kyle Clough said the confidence that the Raiders had made a big difference in the visitors’ 58-49 win.
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“They’ve won a lot of games this year and we haven’t,” he said. “I think it’s as simple as that. I feel bad for my kids. I thought it was another game we just played our butts off, and gave ourselves a chance to win.
“We were in complete control of the game, and for some reason when we get down to crunch time, winning time, our guys are still expecting bad things to happen to them, and we’ve just got to keep working to change that.
“I see it in their eyes. I really see them not seizing big moments when they get them, and as a coaching staff we’ve got to continue to push all the different buttons and get these guys to keep believing in themselves.”
The game was tied at 18 at the half before Seymour’s Ryan Wieneke opened the second-half scoring with a 3-pointer.
The score was tied at 27-all when Toriek Miller began a 10-2 run with a 3-pointer.
Tyler Bloom added his third 3-pointer of the period, and Tiller Cummings and Miller scored from inside and the Owls were on top 37-29 with 25 seconds left in the third period.
The Raiders scored the final four points of the third period, then followed with a 10-0 run the first 4:50 of the fourth for a 43-37 lead and the Owls couldn’t catch up.
“That’s the next step that we’ve got to understand in our program, that when you get up 8 against a team that’s 15-4, you’ve got to keep pushing it,” Clough said. “Unfortunately, we’re kind of back on our heels and I really think we’re just waiting for bad things to happen. We can’t play like that. We’ve got to keep pushing our kids. We’ve got to get some leadership out of the locker room.
“We’ve got to do a good job as coaches to get them in more of those situations. I really believe it’s going to take one time, a close win in a big game and hopefully they’ll be able to build on that and keep pushing until we can get there.”
Cummings broke the dry spell with a layup at 2:56 to make it a 43-39 score, but the best the Owls could do was match points with the visitors over the next two minutes.
Ripley made 14-of-18 free throws in the fourth, and 20-of-26 on the night, while the Owls were 11-for-12 on the night.
The Raiders did not shoot any free throws in the first half, and Miller was the only Seymour player to go to the line and he was 5-for-6 during that time.
The Owls started out cold by missing their first five shots and fell behind 7-0 before Miller made a layup at 4:08.
Ripley held a 12-5 lead at the end of the period before Miller pulled the Owls into the tie at the half by scoring all 13 of their points in the second quarter.
Miller topped all players with 26 points, while Bloom finished with four 3-pointers while hitting 4-for-4 at the line for 16 points.
Cory Walker topped the Raiders with 24 points, Elijah Roepke scored 15 and Brady Meyer 12.
“(The team is) playing some really good basketball for three quarters of these games,” Cough said. “I think this was our seventh or eighth game this year that has been real down the stretch and we haven’t been able to get over the hump and find a way to win.”
The Owls shot 15-for-43 from the floor, and the Raiders were 17-for-36.
Seymour will travel to Greensburg on Tuesday night.