Big shots power Seymour to sweep
There are few moments in a basketball game more packed with pressure.
Seymour’s Gunner Gibson stood at the line on Tuesday with three seconds left and the Eagles’ game with Anderson County tied. He had already missed one shot and Seymour coach Tony Buell had one message for him in the timeout that followed.
“I said, ‘You’re going to make the free throw,’ ” Buell said. “I said, ‘I’ve got confidence in you. You’re going to knock it down. Go knock it down.’ ”
Gibson took those words to heart, hitting his second to deliver a 42-41 victory for the Eagles. Gibson finished with 17 points, including a 9-for-11 night at the line. Nick Sexton added 10 points.
“I was nervous,” Gibson said. “You’ve just got to knock one down. I had to put it on my back and find a way to win.”
The free throw helped preserve the victory after it looked like Seymour would run away with the win earlier in the half. The Eagles led by as many as 12 in the third quarter before the Mavericks came storming back.
Caleb Hayes finished with 18 points, including two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. It was a 3 from Grant Holt (11 points), though, that tied the game at 41-41 with under a minute to play.
After Buell took a timeout with 40 seconds to go, the Eagles milked the clock. Gibson took the ball in the paint and drew the foul in traffic. Buell had said before the season he hoped Gibson could draw some fouls this winter and the plan worked to perfection on Tuesday.
“That was key,” Buell said. “The way that they were playing, they were getting after our guards pretty good. We felt like, Gunner was sliding across and he could either, A., he could do a buddy feed to Nick (Sexton) or Gunner could take it to the rim. He did, made his free throw and took care of business.”
Seymour 43, Anderson County 35
SEYMOUR — It took until the fourth quarter but it finally came together for the Eagles.
Victoria Nelson had two huge buckets on putbacks and Cheyenne King knocked down a go-ahead 3-pointer to power Seymour. Nelson had 17 points while Mariah Flynn added eight. King had just six, but that 3 was the only shot the Eagles made from beyond the arc all night long.
“The kids just continued to believe in themselves and believe they could knock down the shots,” said Seymour coach Brandi Stallings. “Something we talked about all year long is being ready to shoot and never knowing when the next one’s going to go down so you’ve got to have confidence in yourself. Cheyenne showed that she had the confidence.”
Nelson provided the boost inside, getting those two offensive boards that started a 15-2 run. It turned a three-point Maverick lead into a 10-point advantage for the Eagles.
Part of Seymour’s struggles for the better part of three quarters was an active zone from Anderson County. Nearly every entry pass the Eagles attempted was chopped up by stabbing hands.
“We have to get the ball inside more,” Nelson said. “Insides were hitting it, outsides were having trouble shooting it. It comes to the fourth quarter and we were hitting everything.”
No shot was bigger than King’s dagger of a 3 that put Seymour up for good.
“It kind of got my confidence up for the game to get us going and get us pumped up,” King said.