In its home opener, there weren’t many tougher teams in Indiana the Seymour girls’ basketball team could have faced on its schedule.
The Owls were handed their first lost of the season Tuesday, falling to Class 4A No. 10 Heritage Christian 80-52 at the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.
The Eagles (2-0) got off to a hot start behind offensive production by 5-foot-10 Notre Dame commit Katlyn Gilbert.
Gilbert scored eight straight points, behind two 3-pointers, to help give the Eagles a 10-0 lead three minutes into the first quarter.
SHS (1-1) finally stopped the bleeding on a layup by Maddie Roark, as they trailed 12-2 at the 3:34-mark.
The Eagles answered with a 10-0 run, and would give up just one more basket before the buzzer, as they led 22-4 after eight minutes of play.
The Owls committed 10 turnovers in the opening quarter, struggling against the Eagles’ size and defensive press.
Makenna Fee got a jumper to fall and Roark hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 22-9 with 7:27 left in the half.
Following an 8-0 scoring streak for the Eagles, the Owls’ offense found some life.
Back-to-back baskets by Ashton Chase and scores from Aidan Hiester and Fee brought the score to 37-1 with 37 seconds on the clock.
Free throws by the Eagles’ Abby Ennis put the Eagles up 39-15 at intermission.
Out of the break, the Eagles caught fire from the floor scoring six straight points.
A 3-pointer by Chase and basket from Fee had the Owls down 48-20 three minutes into the second half.
Each time the Owls got a basket to go, the Eagles answered the rest of the third quarter.
The Eagles scored 26 points in the third quarter — despite SHS putting up 20 — to take a 65-35 lead into the final eight minutes.
While the Owls’ offense was able to produce in the fourth quarter, the team had dug itself too deep a hole,
Roark scored eight points before the final buzzer, and the Owls outscored the Eagles 17-15 before the final buzzer.
“I thought we competed,” Owls coach Jason Longmeier said. “I thought, for 32 minutes, we played hard. I thought we saw the game, but played the game too fast. Instead of seeing and processing, I felt like it was seeing and reacting — especially early on.”
Roark topped the Owls with 21 points, Chase had 14 and Fee added 12.
Gilbert led the Eagles and Sydney Watkins recorded 15 for the Eagles.
Rebounding, the Eagles beat the Owls 42-35.
“I told the girls in the locker room that the score doesn’t tell the whole story,” Longmeier said. “We didn’t play real smart at times tonight, but we played really hard. Even though it was a loss by a large deficit, as a coach you can still see at the things we did well.”
The Owls knew the Eagles would present a tough test going into the matchup.
One of the most impressive programs in the state over the past few years, the Eagles are playing up two classes for the size of their school.
After winning back-to-back state championship in Class 2A (2014, 15), the Eagles bumped up to 3A for 2015-16. The Eagles won the 3A championship that season, and advanced all the way to the semistate last year — moving them up 4A.
Seymour will next travel to Silver Creek on Friday for another non-conference game.
“This is exactly what we want (with the schedule),” Longmeier said. “A game like (Heritage Christian) gets us prepared for a Bedford. If you don’t play this game, Bedford is the first opponent you could play like that. I’m looking forward to seeing how we bounce back against a scrappy Silver Creek team.”