For The Tribune
The basketball took the right bounces for the Jennings County boys during closing seconds of Saturday night’s game against Seymour and the Panthers hung on for a 55-54 Hoosier Hills Conference win.
Panther Josh Pettit made a free throw with 1:02 remaining to tie the game at 54.
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The Owls then ran 43 seconds off the clock until coach Tyler Phillips called timeout with 19 seconds remaining to set up a play.
Seymour continued to run the clock only to have a 3-second lane violation called with five seconds remaining.
The Panthers inbounded the ball, and Ken Jones drove the length of the floor and shot a layup but missed.
Pettit rebounded off the boards and was fouled.
After a lengthy discussion to determine how much time was on the clock (the officials put 1 second on the scoreboard), Pettit made the first free throw.
He missed the second and Tiller Cummings rebounded for the Owls with .06 remaining and called time.
The Owls (1-5, 0-2 HHC) had the ball in the backcourt and Tyler Bloom tried a desperation shot that fell short.
The game was close throughout, with six ties in the first half before the Owls charged to a 29-23 lead at the break.
Bloom had a hot hand in the first period with two 3-pointers, while Tyler Wilson scored seven points to help the Panthers to an 18-15 lead.
Tiller Cummings scored two baskets from close range, and Bloom and Dylan Wilson hit 3-pointers in the second period when the Owls outscored the Panthers 14-5 for the six-point lead at the break.
Bloom opened the second-half scoring with another 3-pointer to give the Owls their biggest lead of the night at 32-23.
The Panthers, sparked by a pair of 3-pointers by Nick AmRhein, went on a 10-2 run to close the difference to 34-33 before Alex Hofer made a free throw and Jordan Miller a basket near the end of the period to give the Owls a 37-33 lead entering the fourth period.
Phillips found a lot of things he was pleased with from the game.
“We challenged the kids this week in practice to answer the call and they did,” Phillips said. “They competed and you can’t ask for any more than that.”
Bloom topped the Owls with five 3-pointers for 15 points, Cummings made six baskets for 12 points, and Perry hit 8-for-9 from the line and had 13 points.
Cummings and Perry topped the Owls in rebounds with six apiece.
“We challenged Tiller, Tyler and Alan and we told them if we get 60 possessions you guys probably need to shoot the ball 50 of the 60, and the kids know that,” Phillips said. “They understand where our bread is buttered and offensively that is where it is going to have to be and I thought all three did a nice job tonight looking for their shots.
“Not only that, but their teammates looked to get them in position to shoot the basketball.” The Owls shot 19-for-46 from the floor with the Bloom, Cummings and Perry combining 13 for 27.
Jennings shot 17-for-42 from the field.
“We did a great job (on defense),” Phillips said. “We hold them to 55, we get them to take the shots that we want. I thought we rebounded well. I thought we beat them in every facet of the game except the scoreboard. There’s not one part of tonight that I’m disappointed with. My kids competed, they played hard, and they did everything they were asked to do.”
AmRhein and Tyler Vogel topped JC with 14 points each.
Seymour will host Switzerland County on Dec. 29.
“We’re not going to go away with what got us here tonight,” Phillips said. “We’re going to continue to put up a lot of shots. Our shooting percentage was way up from where it’s been. We’ll look to try to rebound the ball out of that zone a little better.”