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A trio of home victories last week turned the tide for the Seymour Middle School “A” boys’ basketball team as the Tigers’ record improved from a sub-.500 mark to two games above .500 at 5-3.

Paced by balanced scoring and solid defense, the Tigers opened last week with a 41-26 win over Marion C. Early of Morrisville on Monday, Sept. 27, then easily defeated rival Fordland by a 41-21 count on Tuesday, Sept. 28. Last Thursday, Seymour made it three straight with a 49-19 victory over Springfield’s New Covenant Academy.

“We’re headed in the right direction,” Tiger head coach Chris Hastings said. “What’s best is that we saved our best for last as we played awesome against New Covenant on Thursday. It probably was our best team effort this season.”

Against the Warriors of New Covenant, Seymour was paced by the 21 points of Julius McDowell, who led all scorers.

Adding 11 points was point guard Braylon Johnson.

Truman Helms scored 6, while Owen Benson and Wyatt Henry each had 4 points.

Reece Hepko rounded out the team’s scoring with 3.

“Probably the thing that I liked the best about this game for us was our decision making,” Hastings said. “As a team, we made good decisions.

“We played solid defense without fouling. We passed the ball extremely well. Our flow was good.”

Seymour led from start to finish.

The Tigers were ahead 16-5 after one quarter and 26-11 at halftime.

Entering the third quarter, Seymour was up 37-17.

“I’m hoping this is an omen for the rest of our season,” Hastings said. “When we play like we did (against New Covenant), we’re hard to beat.”

To open the week, Seymour pulled away late to defeat Marion C. Early by 15 points.

In the first three frames, the score was close.

The Tigers led 13-8 after one quarter, 19-17 at the half and 31-25 after three.

“We were hindered by fouls,” Hastings said. “But our bench came through for us ... they played really well.”

Hepko was Seymour’s leading scorer with 14 points.

Henry added 13, while Benson and McDowell each had 6 points.

Helms rounded out the scoring with 2.

The Tigers hit only 6 of 14 free throws.

“We got the win, but we could’ve played a lot better,” Hastings noted. “The free-throw shooting has to improve, especially in really close games.”

The next night against Fordland, Seymour doubled the rival Eagles’ score, winning by 21 points.

The Tigers were ahead 11-0 after one quarter.

Seymour’s margin was 19-10 at the half and 24-13 after three frames.

McDowell paced the team offensively with 20 points.

Johnson added 11.

Henry scored 4 points, Hepko had 3, while Benson and Dakota Sawyers each had 2 points.

“It was sloppy, but we found a way to win,” Hastings said. “However, it sure was an ugly win.”

This week, the Tigers are competing in tournament action at Fordland.

Final-round action is set for Friday evening.

Next Monday, Seymour plays host to Springfield Greenwood.

Action starts at 5 p.m.

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