During summer leagues and shootouts, high school basketball coaches count on their players to make a lot of improvement.
On Saturday and Sunday, Seymour and Brownstown Central were among 13 girls basketball teams competing in the second annual Seymour Shootout.
The varsity teams played both days at Seymour High School, while the junior varsity and freshman teams played Saturday at Seymour Middle School.
This was the first competition of the summer for both the Owls and Braves, and Seymour won for the second straight year, defeating Jennings County 38-30 in the finals Sunday for a 6-0 finish.
“I think you see a lot of toughness with our kids right now,” Seymour coach Jason Longmeier said.
“We had two really tough games (Sunday) where we had to battle against (Columbus) East, and then had to fight back against Brownstown. I’ve got a lot of respect for both of those programs.”
Seymour defeated Austin 53-43, Salem 56-39 and Bloomington North 54-25 in pool play on Saturday, and then topped Columbus East 45-41 in the tournament on Sunday before edging Brownstown 44-42 to reach the finals.
‘Room for improvement’
Seymour and Brownstown each led by double digits at different points in their semifinal game. With 20 seconds to go, Morgan Wehmiller scored for Brownstown to tie the game at 42. Then with 0.4 seconds remaining, Seymour’s Kayla Griffin made the game-winning layup.
“There’s lots of room for improvement,” Brownstown coach Karla Rieckers said. “We need to be able to play when we have that advantage and not keep teams in a game. We need to take advantage of those things, knowledge of the game, know game situations, know when to make good passes. When you’re playing against someone bigger than you, you can’t make an overhead pass. You’ve got to make a bounce pass.”
Seymour’s Maci Lubker and Brownstown’s Bailey Bonebright said they are working on all aspects of their game this summer.
“I’m working on my ball-handling especially, because I’m a point guard, and my AAU team (from Indianapolis) helps me stay in shape and helps my ball-handling improve,” Lubker said.
“I need to be more consistent with my shooting. I’m not that bad dribbling with my left hand. The summer actually helps me a lot more using my left hand since I’m right-handed.”
Bonebright said she is focusing on shooting and defense so she can help her team win games.
“We try to push the ball up the floor and try to get some transition baskets, and we usually set up our offense and run our plays,” she said. “We are big on pressing people and pressuring people on defense. We want to get steals.”
Bonebright said she likes playing the teams in the summer the Braves don’t face in the winter, such as Columbus East and Southport.
“It’s good to see good competition,” she said. “We see taller people, and we’re just trying to get better.”
Come together right now
Lubker said the summertime is when the team starts to come together.
“It gets us prepared playing as a team more, and especially with the incoming freshmen, it helps us get to know each other,” she said.
Longmeier said his team will play in shootouts at Hanover College, Indiana State University and East Central High School the next three weekends, and the Owls also are playing in a league at Southport. In all, he said the team will play about 30 games.
“We’re still a young team. We play a lot of sophomores and juniors,” Longmeier said. “We’re changing our offense a little bit to a little more dribble drive, so we need to continue and learn to play together in that system. Defensively, we’ve got to do a better job of rebounding. That’s going to be a big focus for us this summer.”
Rieckers said her team will play in a shootout at Covenant Christian High School this weekend. The Braves also are playing in a summer league, and they will play in a team camp at the end of the month.
“It’s a busy June,” she said. “We try to run the same offenses we’re going to run (in the winter), maybe incorporate a few new things that we want to put into the season and defenses, and then just work on our individual game.”
Rieckers said her players stay busy in the summer, as seven of the nine varsity girls are multisport athletes.
“I’m not talking two sports, I’m talking three sports, so you’re trying to fit in the other sports,” she said. “We have to share our athletes, and I think our coaching staff does a good job of that and trying to schedule so they can go to volleyball or go to softball or other sports, as well.”
Also, in Saturday’s action at Seymour Middle School, Seymour’s JV squad was 1-2, while the Brownstown freshman and JV teams both finished 2-1.
All content copyright ©2016 The Tribune, a publication of AIM Media Indiana unless otherwise noted.