Going into his sixth year of heading the program, Seymour High School girls basketball coach Jason Longmeier said he hasn’t gone into the summer with so many question marks than this one.
He’s OK with that.
This past weekend, the Owls hosted their annual two-day shootout in the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.
They finished 5-1 in play, as 11 teams ventured to the area.
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In past tournaments, Seymour hosted pool play Friday and followed with a single-elimination bracket Saturday.
This summer, they moved away from that format and played as many games as possible.
“I did it for two reasons,” Longmeier said. “One, we had 11 teams coming in with three who didn’t come back (Saturday). Two, I saw our kids and I didn’t think a tournament would do us a lot of good. I didn’t want to coach this weekend trying to figure out how to win a tournament. I wanted to try to figure out who we can play, who we can’t and what we need to do to be successful. It’s just too early in the season to think about a tournament.”
Teams in attendance included Charlestown, Bloomington South, Providence, South Ripley, Columbus East, Connersville, Silver Creek, Batesville, Madison and Jeffersonville (junior varsity only).
High school teams played in the main and auxiliary gyms, while the JV teams played their games Friday at the middle school.
The varsity Owls defeated Providence 55-32, Gibson Southern 53-25, Charlestown 54-45, Batesville 53-39 and Connersville 53-25.
The JV team finished 1-3 on Friday.
This year’s varsity team returns just three players who played heavy varsity minutes in the 2016-17 season — Ashton Chase, Makenna Fee and Megan Ritz.
For what the Owls lack in size, they gain in speed.
“We’re trying to play fast,” Longmeier said. “We’re a small team. You can look across the board and see what we are. We’re not going to be a team that just plays a half-court game. We need to scramble and trap a little bit to create opportunities in the open floor.”
Ritz said she thought the team played much better Saturday compared to Friday.
“We did a lot better of talking the last day,” she said. “We got the ball where it needed to go in the full court. The first day, we struggled trying to get the ball up the court and keeping in front of our man.”
Averaging more than 50 points per game, which was broken into two 20-minute halves with a running clock, the Owls know they will be able to put up points.
“We wanted to figure out what we need to do defensively to be successful,” Longmeier said. “I think we’re going to be able to score the basketball. Right now, we’re calling a lot of things and there’s a lot of ‘Oh no’ faces from the kids.
“There are kids that aren’t sure what their roles are right now. We’re trying to figure out roles. This group has done a great job early on figuring out who needs to score, rebound, etc. More than anything, we’ve been experimenting with defenses.”
The Owls’ lone loss was 62-50 to a senior-heavy South Ripley team that advanced to last year’s regional.
“We played mostly in a 2-3 zone (defense) against South Ripley, and that was a complete train wreck,” Longmeier said. “We found out that we’re still going to hang our hat on our man (defense) and still do some trapping and pressing out of it.”
Longmeier said sophomore guard Aidan Hiester — who started along with senior Maddie Roark, Chase, Ritz and Fee — and freshman Grace Meyer impressed him over the weekend.
“I thought Aidan did a lot of really good things for us this weekend. She controlled the ball well,” he said. “We have a freshman in Grace Meyer that came in and played fearless. I couldn’t have been more impressed with the way she played. We’re creating depth.”
Fee, who was named Hoosier Hills Conference honorable mention last winter, said she thinks the team is coming along well.
“I think we’re doing a really good job of playing together,” she said. “It is a big difference this year. There are only three returning varsity starters right now. I think we’re doing well considering we’ve been playing two weeks together.”
On Tuesday, Seymour will host East Central and Whiteland for more summer hoops action.