VEEDERSBURG — A third time was not the charm for Fountain Central against Seeger. The Mustangs dropped their Class 2A No. 38 IHSAA Sectional opener to the Patriots 52-38 in girls’ basketball on Wednesday night. The third loss for the Mustangs against the Patriots this season.
After an even first, Seeger (15-2) broke the game open by outscoring Fountain Central (13-7) 17-8 in the second quarter, including an 11-2 run to close the first half over the final 4:16. Sophomore Macy Kerr scored 10 of her team-high 18 points in the period.
“Our plan obviously was to do a better job guarding the Cole (Aubry) girl,” first-year Fountain Central coach Jason Good said. “And tried to do a decent job on the Shrader (Riley) girl. And something has to give. We took a chance and she (Kerr) made some free throws for them, and made some open shots.
Shrader added 11 points and Cole eight for the Patriots.
The tipping point came after Dakota Borman knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game at 14-14, before the ensuing Patriot’s run. Fountain Central guard Jerzi Hershberger tweaked her ankle and spent the majority of the remaining time in the first half on the bench.
“The biggest thing I think when Jerzi went down for that little stretch, we lost our composure and turned it over like four times in a row,” Good said. “In fairness to the girls, all season long we probably haven’t played five total minutes without Jerzi on the floor. And so when she’s not out there they get nervous, because she’s the one that handles the ball all the time. And that’s probably my fault for not putting them in position more often so they’re ready to make those plays.”
The Mustangs committed 10 of their 20 turnovers in the decisive second quarter. Seeger led 25-16 at the half.
Offensive struggles continued for Fountain Central in the third quarter. The Mustangs failed to make a field goal until Borman nailed a triple with 36 seconds left in the period. Borman did her best to keep Fountain Central in the game — scoring a game-high 27 points in her final game as a Mustang, including 21 in the second half — scoring 21 of the Mustangs 22 second half points. In the end though it wasn’t enough, Seeger grew its lead to as many as 17 in the third quarter and cruised to the sectional win with a 20-of-27 effort from the foul line.
“I felt like we struggled to pass and couldn’t quite get over the hump,” Good said. “To be honest I still felt like till the end we were just a couple made shots away from getting right in it, but while I thought we defended them well early on, in the end we just couldn’t get stops. Whether it was fouling them or making shots, we had some miss-communication that led to some easy shots.”
Seeger was 15-of-39 from the field for the game, while Fountain Central was just 11-of-30.
Finishing the season 13-7, the Mustangs improved their win total by eight from a season ago, but unfortunately came up short in the opening game of one of the most loaded sectionals in the state.
“I feel like we keep playing better and better, but they’re a good team, with good players, and a good coach and it’s hard to overcome that,” Good said. “You have to play really well to beat Seeger and I thought we played fairly well. We still have that one more level to get to to be with them, and I think we are getting closer, we just didn’t quite close the gap all the way and they made the plays they needed to make, but I couldn’t be more prouder of the growth of our seniors. Some of them it’s been tough at times, but they’ve all taken the things I’ve said and gotten better and better and they’ve been a great example for our underclassmen and I feel good about where our program is right now and I’m proud of what they did this year.”
Class 2A No. 4 Central Catholic defeated Rossville 64-27 in the opening game Tuesday, and will now play No. 7 Clinton Prairie in Friday’s first semifinal. Seeger will play Sheridan.
After an 0-2 start, Good was thrilled to see how his team responded after facing early adversity, especially seniors Borman, Marley Massey, and Gracie Foxworthy.
“I told the seniors early on in the season, ‘my dad use to always say that one of the most important things is leaving it better than you found it,’ and I felt like those three did that,” he said. “And they’ve struggled. They’ve been through a lot of difficulty and we started the season off 0-2 and there was a month between those two games. I think that would have been pretty easy to pack it in and we kind of slowly started to get better and better and I think we are better today than we were last week, we just happened to be playing a team that was better than we played previously.”