In close high school basketball games, the team that makes the best plays usually comes out on the winning side.
That was the case for the Seymour and Monroe Central girls basketball teams Friday in the Skyline Chili Haag Ford East Central Holiday Tournament.
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The Owls weren’t getting the results coach Jason Longmeier was looking for, holding a 29-28 lead going into the fourth period.
“We had to get an adjustment offensively because we weren’t getting any movement, so we went to a little bit more spread offense (at the start of the fourth quarter) and tried to get downhill a little more to get some easy layup opportunities, and Grace Meyer had a huge fourth quarter for us,” he said.
Meyer continually flashed across the lane, and after receiving a pass from a teammate, turned and banked the ball off the glass. She scored five baskets and made two of three free throws for 12 points in the period and took game scoring honors for the Owls with a career-high 21 points.
The Owls’ biggest lead was 48-39 with 2:39 remaining before the Bears closed to 48-45 with one minute remaining.
Ashton Chase hit two free throws in the final 23 seconds to seal the win for the Owls.
“I liked that were able to hang in and pull out a tough game at a different time frame (10:30 a.m. start) than the girls were used to playing in,” Longmeier said. “Any time you get those smaller schools that get an opportunity to play bigger schools, they come out and they really throw some haymakers.
“I thought their kids played awful hard. I tip my cap to the effort that Monroe Central played with. When we got the 22-12 lead and had a chance to put it away a little bit, they just battled their tails off to keep it close, and it was close from that point on.”
Megan Ritz helped get the Owls’ offense rolling with three baskets for seven points in the first quarter to help Seymour take a 15-10 lead.
Meyer made a pair of layups and Ritz hit a 3-pointer at 6:05 of the second period put the Owls on top 22-12. The Golden Bears outscored the Owls 7-0 the remainder of the half for a 22-19 score at the break.
Ritz scored 10 points in the first half.
“(Ritz) was playing with a lot of confidence at that point,” Longmeier said. “She got those first two layups right off the bat, and a lot of times, when you get those first two easy looks, it kind of allows you to relax, and I think that’s what her set was.
“She had a tough defensive assignment. She was on (Brooke) Bolton all night when she was in there. Bolton stays active. She moves, and she’s a tough guard.”
Ritz had a season-high 11 points, and Chase also scored 11.
Chase had eight rebounds as the Owls outrebounded the Bears 27-20.
The Bears (9-4) were led by the 1-2 punch of Bolton and Jordyn Barga with 21 and 16 points, respectively.
The Owls (8-6) will play East Central (11-5) at 10:30 a.m. today.
Longmeier said he looks forward to the challenge.
“We wanted to play East Central. They’re a good basketball team,” he said.