Owls comeback falls short

Seymour boys basketball coach Tyler Phillips said it would have been very easy for his team just to play out the clock when the Owls fell behind 54-39 following a basket by Salem’s Jaelen Nice with 1:50 remaining in Saturday afternoon’s game.

The Owls had other ideas, as they went on a 10-0 run, but it was too little, too late as the Lions left the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium with a 58-51 win.

“I liked our resiliency. We got down 15 with less than two minutes to go,” Phillips said. “That’s a great excuse for an 18-year old kid to just roll over and quit and ‘let’s get this game over with and let’s go home,’ and they didn’t.”

Alan Perry started the rally with two free throws, and he completed the charge with a steal and layup to make it a 54-49 game with 18 seconds remaining.

Perry had three baskets and made all six of his free throws for 12 points in the fourth quarter.

The Owls had one of their best quarters of the season in the fourth, with 21 points. Jordan Miller had two baskets, two free throws and six rebounds, Tiller Cummings had five points, and Alex Hoffer came down with an offensive rebound and went up strong with the ball to score.

“These kids are starting to learn how to play with a sense of urgency, and how to play the game like you’re down one,” Phillips said.

Tyler Bloom made his first two 3-point shots of the afternoon to give the Owls an early 6-2 lead.

Seth Hobson scored on Salem’s next possession, giving him 1,000 points for his career. He is the fifth Salem player in school history to reach that total.

The Lions built their lead to 17-8 before Perry and Hofer scored in the final minute of the opening period to make it a 17-12 score going into the second period.

Ty McCory hit a 3-pointer and Cummings made two free throws to tie the game at 17 all with 3:50 remaining until half, and Salem held a 24-21 lead at the break.

The Owls (6-11) had problems on offense in the third period by making only one field goal and they had six turnovers and that allowed the Lions to take a 44-26 lead into the fourth period.

Phillips said Salem’s defense had a lot to do with the Owls subpar offense in the third period.

“We struggled to get good looks just from the standpoint that Salem puts you in position to do that,” he said. “They are a lot better half-court defensive team than advertised. Everybody knows about their full court pressure defense but they’re pretty dang good in their half-court.

“They knew to try to run Tyler off the line, and Alan and Jordan are going to attack the rim, and they tried to keep us out of position where we could score.”

Hunter Weedin scored nine points to lead the Lions (15-1) in the third period and he finished with a game-high 24 to go along with nine rebounds.

Perry topped the Owls with 18 points, and Miller scored 10 and had eight rebounds.

Phillips played 6-9 Hofer and 6-7 Cummings together for several minutes during the game.

“Some of that was by design but some of that was because we’ve got some bum knees and bum ankles,” Phillips said. “That was about half and half, half design and half because we had to.”

Bloom and Seth Ragon suffered injuries during the game, and Philips said his main concern is getting his team healthy for Saturday’s game at South Ripley.

“All in all, I’m extremely pleased with today,” Phillips said. “They’re a team that averages 73 and we held them to 58. You’ve got to be pleased with that.”

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Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.