BY CHAD DARE email@example.com
---- — VEEDERSBURG, Ind. — The Seeger Lady Patriots have won 18 Bi-County Holiday Tournament titles, but a year ago, they lost in first round.
Seniors Cara Fowler and Miranda Synesael were not about to let that happen again this season for Seeger.
That duo combined for 11 steals in leading the Lady Patriots past the Fountain Central Mustangs 57-33 in an opening-round game at Fountain Central High School.
“This is my last chance and it feels good to be back in the title game,’’ said Fowler, as the Patriots had won back-to-back titles before last season’s 49-48 overtime loss to Attica in the first round.
Seeger (12-3) will not only get an opportunity to win a 19th title, but the Lady Patriots can get a little revenge as they will play the Red Ramblers in the championship contest.
Defense was the key to getting Seeger back into the title contest as Fountain Central didn’t score its first points until there was 5 minutes left in the first half. The Patriots had already built a 21-0 lead when Macee Williams got the first basket for the Mustangs (2-7).
“We talked to the girls about getting off to a good start,’’ said Seeger coach Brent Rademacher. “Our defense was good, forcing turnovers, and our offense executed well to get us going. We did a lot of good things.’’
The fast start for the Patriots was fueled by 12 consecutive turnovers to start the game by the Mustangs.
“That’s a defense that we just started playing,’’ Rademacher said. “Our kids have really caught on to it. When you have a new team like we do this year, you don’t know what their strengths are right away and it has taken us a little while to figure things out.’’
Seeger turned them in 17 points before Fountain Central even attempted its first shot of the contest. Fowler and Synesael combined for six steals during that run and Synesael scored 11 of her game-high 18 points during that stretch.
“That’s an amazing start,’’ said Fowler, who had just three points to go along with three assists and six steals.
Rademacher said that Fowler is basically the team’s “Energizer bunny.”
“She makes things happen out there,’’ he said. “She is quick and she anticipates well. We wouldn’t be where we are without her.’’
Fowler admitted that playing in last week’s Blue Devil Classic at Bismarck-Henning was good for the Patriots.
“It helped us a lot with the practice and learning about our team,’’ she said. “But there were so many games, that we were wore out.
“But overall, I feel like that experience helped us tonight. We knew what we had to do and we did it.’’
Synesael was the only Seeger player in double figures with 18 points, but the Patriots did get points from nine of its 11 players against the Mustangs.
“It was good to get the players, No. 8 through 11, some real quality minutes in a game like this,’’ Rademacher said. “That will not only help us this season, but it should help our program next year and the year after.’’
Williams, a freshman, recorded another double-double for Fountain Central with 13 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Williams scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half but the Mustangs never got closer than 18 points against the Patriots. Also scoring in double figures for the Mustangs was junior Morgan Grubb with 12.
Today’s action moves to Covington High School with the girls consolation game between Fountain Central and Covington tipping off at 12:30 p.m. (Eastern) and the championship game between Seeger and Attica is tentatively set to start at 3:30 p.m. The start times have been moved up two hours because of the impending Winter Storm Ion.