On the hardwood, the summer months act as a gauge for the upcoming winter season.
Implementing offenses and defenses, changing sets, attempting new plays and adjusting line rotations are just the tip of the iceberg.
On Friday and Saturday, the Seymour girls basketball team got a better feel for their 2016-17 campaign at their home shootout in the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.
Lots of changes surround the team on the floor.
Story continues below gallery
For the 2016-17 season, the Owls will replace four of their five starters from last season.
The Owls went 2-1 in pool play Friday before splitting games Saturday.
On Friday, the Owls defeated Jennings County and Southport before falling to North Central.
Saturday, Seymour defeated Rushville before losing to North Central for a second time in the semifinals.
“If we just look at this week, we went 3-2 and lost to a team that went 18-6 last year who lost in their sectional semifinals to Lawrence Central by two,” Owls coach Jason Longmeier said. “(North Central) got everyone back. They’re a very good basketball team that play well together — and you could see that. I thought after the first five minutes, we out played them. To battle them, being down by so much, I’m proud of the fight.”
In the second game against North Central, the Owls trailed by 17 points in the opening half before closing the deficit to 36-29 at intermission.
North Central buckled down in the second half, outscoring the Owls 24-19.
Longmeier said that most teams are working back into basketball shape this time of year.
“I think we’re at where everyone else is: we’re not in basketball shape,” he said. “I would say there isn’t one team here that is. Playing two, three games a day is hard to do. That’s where I think some of our rust came from.”
The Owls buried a number of 3-pointers in game two, mainly coming from incoming seniors Sarah Benefiel, Lauren James and Kayla Griffin as well as sophomore Ashton Chase.
Benefiel said that this year’s team is a sort of mini-reunion.
“We haven’t played together since middle school,” she said. “Getting our eighth grade group together is nice.”
James thinks this year’s team has the ability to put up points.
“I think that we’re a little bit faster this year,” James said. “I think we have some kids who can take it to the hoop and also shoot — it’s a good balance. We all love playing together.”
After missing all of last season due to a knee injury, senior Keighana Thomas returned to the floor for the Owls.
Due to reoccurring injuries, Longmeier said Thomas will play a different role for the Owls this season.
“It was good for (Thomas) to get five games under her,” Longmeier said. ‘We can somewhat see what she’s going to be able to do. It was always our intention to have Keighana play more as a perimeter player, but with the injuries int eh past couple years we will put her in the post. She’s a heck of a fighter and one of the toughest kids on our team.”
Next week, the Owls will again compete in a shootout at Indiana University.
Longmeier said he wants his team to focus on working the post at IU.
“It’s been a concern of ours, I don’t think we’ve gotten the post involved enough,” he said. “(Friday) we did play without Makenna Fee, and (Saturday) we didn’t have Katie Suits — so our guards had to step up and make some plays.”
Seymour went 18-5 in 2015-16, and won their first-ever Hoosier Hills Conference title.