For The Tribune

The Seymour girls got off to a great start in its Class 4A Sectional 15 matchup with Jeffersonville on Tuesday night when Maddie Roark hit a 3-pointer for a quick 3-0 lead.

The Owls, however, couldn’t make any of their other six field goal attempts of the first quarter and trailed 15-3 and went on to lose to the eighth-ranked Red Devils 40-27 in the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.

“That is a lot to overcome,” Owls coach Jason Longmeier said. “We didn’t shoot the ball very well, but defensively, I thought we were fantastic. I thought it was an ugly game all-around. I’m sure Jeff would say they didn’t play very well, either, and quite frankly, it wasn’t their best game. They were able to score just a few more baskets than we did.”

Jasmine Lilly hit two 3-pointers and Nan Garcia had a pair of 2-point baskets and a free throw to help the Red Devils to their 15-3 lead.

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Aidan Hiester hit a jump shot for the Owls at the 4:20 mark of the second quarter to make the score 16-5.

Hiester added a 3-pointer with 57 seconds left in the half, and she added a free throw at the end of the second quarter to set the score at 19-9 at the half.

While the Owls shot 3 for 21 in the first half, the Red Devils managed to make only 7 of 26.

Roark opened the third-quarter scoring with a layup, but the Owls then hit another dry spell that enabled the Red Devils to run off 11 straight points for a 30-11 lead.

Makenna Fee made a free throw with 1:42 left in the third quarter, and Roark hit a 3-pointer with 7:22 left in the game that made it a 30-15 game and marked the first time the Owls had scored back-to-back points.

After the Red Devils added free throws, the Owls played their best ball of the night when Grace Meyer and Hiester scored 2-pointers and Fee hit a 3 for a 31-22 score.

After Jeffersonville added a basket, Fee hit another 3 to close the gap to 33-25 with 2:56 remaining.

“I thought our kids fought the entire night,” Longmeier said. “We just found a way to keep battling them. We got down to the end, it was an eight-point game with 2:50 to go, and when you shoot the ball as poorly as we did, that’s about all you can ask for.”

Roark topped the Owls (11-12) in scoring with 10 points, Hiester added eight and Fee had seven.

Megan Ritz topped the Owls in rebounds with seven.

Garcia was high scorer for the Red Devils with 10 points.

“They’re strong and quick, and it’s amazing how much an inch can change shots,” Longmeier said of the Red Devils. “You look at Maddie’s step-backs, she had to put just a little more arch on her shots, and they were short just a little bit. I thought Ashton (Chase) got some really good shots tonight. I don’t know if she was thinking about their length. We just weren’t able to knock down shots.

“We were able to slow the game down the way we thought it needed to be slowed down. We knew we couldn’t let the score get in the 60s. If you would have told me this morning that they’d score 40 points, I’d have taken our chances.”

Tonight, North Harrison will face Bedford North Lawrence at 6 p.m., and Jennings County will battle New Albany in the second game.

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