A lackluster start buried the Seymour girls basketball team against Class 3A No. 1 North Harrison on Saturday.
The Owls fell behind by double-digits early and couldn’t surmount a late comeback in a 69-43 loss.
In the first quarter, the Cougars (15-1) flexed their muscles on both ends of the court.
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The Cougars opened on an 11-5 run behind six points from six-foot-one sophomore Lilly Hatton by the 3:56-mark.
Seymour (11-5) would only score two more points in the quarter, basket from Kayla Griffin with 3:08 in the clock, as the Cougars strung together 15 unanswered points capped by a 3-pointer from Hallie Hinton.
The Owls turned the ball over nine times in the first eight minutes and amassed eight quick fouls.
Hatton piled-up 10 points for the Cougars in the first quarter.
Offensive woes continued for the Owls in the second quarter, as they would score just eight points before intermission.
In the final 3:50 of the half, the Owls’ only points came from a pair of free throws by Megan Ritz.
At half, trailing 40-15, the Owls were out-rebounded 17-7 while giving up 13 to the Cougars’ five turnovers.
“I thought it was our effort or lack there of; I thought the first 16 minutes was the worst effort we’ve played with all year,” Owls coach Jason Longmeier said. “We’re not at the time in the season where we can do that and get away with it. They were coming off a bad loss to Greenfield Central, and they came out and punched us in the mouth.”
Griffin scored six of the Owls’ first eight points of the third quarter as they trailed 53-23 at the 3:16-mark.
Back-to-back scores from Makenna Fee ended the third, as the Owls trailed 55-27.
Cali Nolot caught fire in the third quarter, scoring 11 of the Cougars’ 15 points.
While James scored nine points in the final eight minutes, the Owls were too far out of reach to pull within distance.
Longmeier said the team’s struggles were intrinsic.
“We hurt ourselves,” Longmeier said. “(The Cougars) did some good things defensively, but I think that 75 percent of our turnovers were self-imposed in the first half. They’re aggressive, but we should have done a better job with the guards that we have.”
Griffin topped the Owls with 16 points and James was next with 15. Hatton led the Cougars with 24 points and Nolot added 20.
Seymour will play a pair of games this week, starting with a homer against Austin tomorrow before Jennings County comes to town on Saturday.
“It’s gut-check time,” Longmeier said. “This is a big week for us. We’re going to come out and make a statement. I guarantee that.”