CAYUGA, Ind. – The girls’ basketball game between North Vermillion and Seeger was tied at 40-all with over five minutes left in the game. The visiting Patriots then scored eight points in a row before a late Falcon basket made the final score 48-40.
Shawnacee Bowman of North Vermillion made a lay-up with 5:21 that tied the game then neither team would score for almost three minutes until Emily Brushaber hit a jumper that put Seeger in the lead for good.
“Emily isn’t one who shoots a lot,” said Seeger head coach Brent Rademacher, “but that was a big one.”
The Patriots added to their advantage when Kiley Swisher stole the ball and went the length of the court for a basket. Miranda Synesael hit a lay-up then Hannah Gustus added two free throws before Bowman made the final basket of the night.
“We struggled in the fourth quarter,” said Falcon head coach Terry Naylor. “We didn’t execute down the stretch. We had more turnovers in the fourth quarter, maybe because we didn’t have our point guard.”
Sierra Grube was the player he was missing as she had fouled out with about seven minutes left in the game, but she was not the only one that battled foul trouble.
Several players on both teams found themselves either on the bench or having to be very careful as there were 18 fouls on the Falcons and fifteen on the Patriots.
“We really wanted to press them the entire game," said Rademacher, “but we couldn't with all the fouls. I think fouls hurt both teams tonight.”
Seeger opened the game by hitting three of the five treys they would make on the night in the first quarter. That enabled them to take a 19-8 lead going into the second.
North Vermillion became a bit more active on defense in the second quarter – especially defending Synesael, who had hit two of the Patriot three-pointers according to Naylor.
They also started to attack the basket, getting back into the game on a three-point play by Brittney Lewis and a pair of free throws by Rhiannon Grubbs.
Seeger stopped the run with a three by Haley Briles but Lewis countered it with a three-point play. When the half ended, the Falcons had trimmed their deficit to five at 27-22.
After intermission, North Vermillion continued to score as they went on a 7-2 run capped by a trey from Grubbs that tied the game at 29-all with less than two minutes gone.
Synesael hit a jumper to give the Patriots a two-point lead, but consecutive baskets by Gretchen Vicars, Taylen Balding and Bowman gave the Falcons their biggest lead at 35-31.
Seeger scored the last four points of the quarter to tie the contest at 35-all, but Bowman opened the fourth with a trey to put her team in the lead.
The Patriots then ran off five points followed by the Bowman lay-up that tied the score at 40-all and set up the final few minutes.
“U-G-L-Y - this was a pretty ugly game,” is how Rademacher described the contest. “We got up ten or eleven points and then seemed to quit playing and quit rebounding. When we did, they came back and tied it.”
He continued, saying, “We made plays late to get the ’W’ and that’s what matters – we got the win.”
Naylor said that his team struggled without Grube, noting that she is his only true point guard, but said that there were positives.
“This is easily the best game we’ve played this year, win or lose. We did some good things out there, but we just couldn’t get the basket we needed when we were tied or trying to add to our lead.”
Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at email@example.com