- 8-8 is great!

Tiger eighth-grader Katelynn Smith (10), left, drives to the hoop in Seymour's narrow loss to Hartville.

Despite dropping three close contests in their its final four games, the Seymour Middle School “A” girls’ basketball team had a phenomenal season this fall, Tiger head coach Trent Copling emphasized.

“It was a great season,” he said Monday.

“The girls improved in so many different areas. The final record, our results, the way we played ... it was much more than I hoped for entering the season.”

The Tigers ended the 2019 campaign with an 8-8 record.

A year ago, the team won only one game.

Early last week, Seymour dropped a pair of close contests at the annual Summit Conference Tournament. The Tigers fell 26-18 to Hartville last Monday, Oct. 21, in the semifinals, then dropped a 24-19 decision to Fordland last Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the third-place game.

In the loss to Hartville, Seymour jumped out to an early lead, holding a 6-1 edge after the first quarter and 10-5 advantage at halftime.

However, the rival Eagles rallied in the third frame, outscoring the Tigers 12-2 to take a 17-12 lead entering the final stanza.

“In the third quarter, we went to a 1-3-1 zone, trying to show something different, and (Hartville) picked our zone apart and took the lead,” Copling said. “We weren’t able to get going again offensively in the second half. Hartville just packed it in defensively on us ... they didn’t let us get the ball inside.”

Addison Ridenour led the Tigers with 8 points.

Scoring 2 points each were Hannah Clark, Addie Kelley, Jadyn Johnson, Shae Peters and Makayla Rowland.

“We broke their full-court press, and I’m proud of the girls for that,” Copling noted. “We just didn’t get enough layups.”

The next night against Fordland, Seymour and the Eagles were tied at 4-4 after one quarter.

Then Fordland began pulling away, taking a 14-6 lead at the half and 20-10 advantage after three quarters.

“We were down by 10 (points) in the fourth quarter, then battled back, cutting (the deficit) to three points with only 30 seconds left to play,” Copling said. “The girls didn’t quit; they kept fighting. We just came up a bit short.”

Ridenour again was the Tigers’ leading scorer with 6, while Elisa Valbuena scored 4 points.

Peters had 3 points.

With 2 points each were Johnson, Rowland and Katelynn Smith. Ridenour had a team-high 13 rebounds for the Tigers.

Copling said his ballclub was a fun one to coach.

“It’s a great group of girls,” he explained. “We had a total of 12 eighth-graders on the team this year, and I’m optimistic that most of them, if not all of them, will play in high school

 year.

“Our defense was solid this season. Our passing got better. Our ball handling improved. In every aspect of the game, this group of girls got better. Above everything else, this is a great group of girls who represented our school well."

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