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The Seymour High School varsity girls’ basketball team made the best of a bad situation Saturday in the first round of the Mountain Grove Holiday Tournament, falling 73-46 to top-seeded Salem in the opener of the 16-team tourney.

Seymour, which drew the 16th seed, gave an unexpected battle against the rival “Blue Tigers” of Dent County as the local Tigers shot nearly 50 percent from the field.

Turnovers were Seymour’s undoing.

The Tigers had 24 of them, resulting in 24 points off turnovers for Salem.

“That’s the difference in the game,” Seymour head coach Derrick Jessen said. “We didn’t play very well in the first half and committed several turnovers against (Salem’s) diamond press. And Salem took advantage of those turnovers, scoring a lot of easy points from them.”

Seymour out-rebounded Salem 40 to 29.

The Tigers shot 47.6 percent (20 for 42) from the field; however, Salem connected at a 56-percent rate (22 for 39).

The Blue Tigers shot better than 70 percent in the first quarter, courtesy of several layups scored on Seymour miscues.

Salem also hit seven three-point shots, while Seymour only connected on a single three-pointer in 11 attempts.

The loss dropped Seymour’s record to 3-6.

Salem improved to 7-3.

“Salem is very fast, very athletic,” Jessen said. “You can see why they’re a No. 1 seed.”

Seymour trailed 22-12 after one quarter and by a 44-25 count at halftime.

After three quarters, Salem led 61-39.

“We played much better in the second half,” Jessen noted.

“We were down by 19 at halftime, but (Salem) only outscored us by eight points in the final two quarters.”

Leading the Tigers offensively was 5’9” senior forward Karli Henry with 18 points and 8 rebounds. It was her second straight game to lead Seymour in scoring.

Junior Hailey Felton, a 5’10” forward, added 12 points and 9 rebounds.

With 9 points, a team-high 10 rebounds and 2 steals was sophomore guard Lillie Rasmussen.

Senior Crystal Misemer had 5 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.

Freshman Katelynn Smith scored 2 points.

Jessen said that despite the defeat, he wasn’t discouraged by his ballclub’s effort.

“The bottom line is that we allowed turnovers to put us in an early double-digit deficit, then we just couldn’t recover,” he concluded. “We knew that they would press us, and we knew how they were going to press us.

“But we still turned the ball over. There was some panic. We handled the same type of a press against Chadwick. In the future, we’ve just got to take care of the basketball. If we do that, we can play with any opponent on our schedule.”

In the consolation side of the tourney, Seymour met Plato in early action Monday.

Plato is the event’s No. 8 seed.

A story on that game appears elsewhere in this week’s newspaper.

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