Seymour girls basketball team focuses on finishing

Dec. 10, 2013 @ 04:33 PM

 Seymour's girls basketball team has been in both of its district games this season entering the fourth quarter.

That’s where it seems to have gone wrong in back-to-back losses.

“What’s been so tough, we’ve played hard the entire game — both games — and the outcome’s not been what we wanted it to be,” said Eagles coach Brandi Stallings. “It comes back to us just making mental mistakes, making turnovers at crucial times or being down two points and having to foul.”

Seymour has shown it can win games in the fourth. In the team’s last game before Thanksgiving the Eagles exploded to outscore Anderson County 16-6 in a 43-35 victory. Since the holiday, the final eight minutes have been a struggle in consecutive district losses to Jefferson County and Morristown West.

The Eagles (4-5, 0-2 2-AAA) were down just two after three quarters to the Patriots before giving up 21 points in the final period. They were in the same position against the Trojans, but gave up 17 points in the fourth quarter of a 54-49 loss.

“Turnovers really hurt us down the stretch,” said senior Mariah Flynn. “We could’ve pulled out the West game had we not had as many turnovers as we had early on. ... That’s frustrating when you can’t pull off a two-point win because you turned the ball over or something bad happened against your favor that just let the game go.”

The Eagles are focusing on communication, particularly on defense, in practice. Seymour has given up close to 20 points in each of its last two fourth quarters. Opponents are averaging less than 14 in the other six quarters.

Victoria Nelson said Stallings reminds the Eagles they can be “chatterboxes” in the locker room but then go silent on the court. Staying loud may just help Seymour get the stops the Eagles need late.

“We just have to be talking more because we’re getting confused who has who,” Nelson said. “... We get caught up in the moment if we’re playing defense good. Then we stop talking.”

Stallings said it’s all part of a process and she’s seeing progress. Big deficits haven’t been early knockout punches and Seymour has stayed in games until the end. It’s just a matter of making a couple plays down the stretch that lead to wins.

“You’ve got to have players that make plays, and they will eventually,” Stallings said. “We’re getting the plays. We’re getting the opportunities. They’re just not going in. That’s fine. I told the girls Friday night, it’s a long season, tournament sport. We’ll take our bumps now and hopefully it’ll all fall into place later in the season.”