Since 1995, the Seymour High School varsity boys’ basketball team has played Summit Conference rival Hartville a total of 31 times.
Hartville has won 29 of those games.
The 29th victory came last Tuesday, Dec. 14, when the host Eagles led from start to finish in a 60-38 victory over the visiting Tigers, as Seymour’s previously undefeated season was ended with the 22-point loss.
“We just got beat ... it’s that simple,” Tigers’ head coach Chris Hastings said. “We went two full quarters, the second and the third, where we scored a total of eight points.
“Adding to our lack of scoring was the fact we got out-rebounded 30 to 20, and we gave up 11 offensive rebounds, many of them leading to Hartville points under the basket.”
Seymour’s record fell to 6-1 with the loss, while Hartville’s record improved to 6-1.
“Give credit to (Hartville),” Hastings said. “They’re an extremely good team. They won a Class 3 state championship last season and didn’t lose a game playing a very difficult schedule. I know they lost five starters to graduation, but these kids we played (on Dec. 14) practiced every day against those kids, some of them for three years.
“Hartville’s a state-ranked team this year for a reason. They’re good. Really good. And we didn’t play well, so the end result was that we lost by 20-plus points.”
The first quarter was close.
In the first four minutes, there were four lead changes, before Hartville held a 16-13 edge at the end of the first frame.
Then Seymour’s offense stalled.
The Tigers were outscored 15-5 in the second frame and trailed 31-18 at the half.
In the third quarter, Hartville scored 10 points versus only three for Seymour, which gave the Eagles a 20-point edge at 41-21 entering the final frame.
“I think the boys were ready going into this game,” Hastings said. “We started off well. We scored some points in the first quarter and were very competitive on their floor.
“Then they punched us in the mouth in the second quarter, and we didn’t respond well.”
Hartville’s lead in the fourth quarter grew to as many as 26 points at 59-33 with 2:21 to play.
Seymour shot only 32.5 percent from the field (13 for 40) in the contest, including 2-for-15 accuracy from behind the three-point line.
The Tigers were outrebounded 30 to 20.
“When you shoot 15 three-pointers and only make two of them, it’s hard to win at Hartville,” Hastings said. “You have to be more efficient offensively and make shots. We didn’t do either of those things.”
Leading Seymour’s offensive attack was 5’8” senior guard Payton Bryant with 11 points, while 6’3” senior forward Bryson Benson scored 10 and grabbed 5 rebounds.
Junior guards Chade Noble and Eli Nunnally each scored 6 points. Noble added 3 rebounds and 2 steals.
Junior guard Kason Richards rounded out the Seymour scoring with 5 points.
Junior forward Dylan Henry was held scoreless but had 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
Hastings said his ballclub just has to move on.
“It’s a loss, but it’s one of 25 to 30 games that we’ll play this season,” he noted. “Very few teams end any season with an undefeated record. We’re still off to a great start, and we need to start a new winning streak, beginning (this week) in the first round of the Walnut Grove Holiday Classic.”
Seymour is the No. 2 seed in the 16-team tourney, which features a talented field of schools.
In first-round action, the Tigers take on No. 15 Fair Play at 4 p.m. today (Wednesday) in a game that will be played at Ash Grove High School.
All other games at the tournament will be played after Christmas and at Walnut Grove.
Second-round tourney play arrives next Monday.