- District heartbreak!

Bryson Benson

A heartbreaking loss.

An understatement, according to Seymour High School varsity boys’ basketball coach Chris Hastings regarding his ballclub’s 54-53 home loss last Monday, Feb. 22, against Summersville in Class 2 District 10 Tournament action.

With 3:52 left in the first-round district game, Seymour led by 13 points.

When the final buzzer sounded, the host Tigers’ season had ended with a one-point loss.

“Turnovers are what cost us the game,” Hastings deadpanned.

“Over the game’s final four minutes, panic set in.

Had we just kept control of the ball, drawn fouls and shot free throws, we win the game.”

With two minutes remaining, Seymour led by nine.

“We had nine turnovers in the fourth quarter, a majority of them coming in that final half (of the quarter),” Hastings explained. “It’s just unfortunate that our Achilles’ heel all season, which is turnovers, came back to bite us in this game, which ended our season.”

The loss closed the Tigers’ campaign with a 9-15 record.

After a 1-6 start, Seymour evened its record after 16 games at 8-8 after winning seven of nine. To close the campaign, the Tigers dropped seven of eight.

“This was a tough loss ... a very tough loss,” Hastings noted. “It’s certainly not the way you want for your three seniors to go out.

“I know our underclassmen wanted for our seniors to get to play at least one more game. This game was under control, as we were up by 13 (points) with four minutes left to play. Then the wheels just came off.”

The wheels fell off in the form of turnovers.

Seymour had 24 in the game.

But the final nine were devastating.

The Tigers trailed 12-10 after the opening quarter of play, then the score was tied 20-20 at halftime.

Seymour came out strong in the second half, taking a 37-31 lead after three frames. That lead grew to 13 points at 49-36 with less than four minutes to go.

“We started the second half playing some of the best basketball we’ve played all season,” Hastings said.

“And this continued through the first half of the fourth quarter. We had the game under control.”

Summersville closed the contest on an 18-4 run.

“I just hate it for the kids,” Hastings concluded. “This is not the way we wanted our season to end.”

The Tigers shot 54 percent from two-point range in the contest, connecting on 22 of 41 attempts.

However, Seymour didn’t hit a single three-point shot, going 0 for 10 from long range.

The team was 9 for 16 from the free-throw line.

The loss spoiled a stellar effort in the post from 6’3” junior forward Bryson Benson, who posted team-high totals of 17 points and 13 rebounds. Benson shot 8 for 10 from the field and scored 10 points in the third quarter.

“Bryson had a really good game,” Hastings said. “Both he and Brock (Pearce) gave us a strong effort inside.”

Pearce, a 6’1” senior forward, chipped in with totals of 8 points, 7 steals and 6 rebounds in his final game.

Adding 13 points and 3 rebounds was 5’8” junior guard Payton Bryant, while 5’10” sophomore guard Bill Daily had 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists.

Senior Evan Crump rounded out the team’s offensive attack with 5 points and 3 rebounds.

At the conclusion of the district tourney, Bryant earned a spot on the all-district second team, Hastings said.

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