CAYUGA, Ind. – It is early in the season, but the Seeger girls’ basketball team finds itself on top of the Wabash River Conference after defeating North Vermillion 34-27 on the Falcons’ home floor.
As expected when these two teams faced each other, defenses dominated throughout which helped keep the game as low scoring as it was.
Neither team could get on the board in the first four minutes of the contest, but finally Rylee Dowers hit a runner to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead at the 3:41 mark.
A half minute later, she made it 5-0 on a three-point play as she drove hard to the basket.
Seeger (5-1, 2-0 WRC) finally scored on a pair of free throws with over five minutes gone in the game and then the two teams traded three-pointers, one by Dowers off an assist from Ava Martin and one by Aubry Cole for the Patriots.
North Vermillion (3-2, 0-1 WRC) got the final basket of the period on a lay-up by Dowers after she caught a pass from Hannah Ellis.
“It was Dowers ten and Seeger five in the first quarter,” Patriot head coach Brent Rademacher said. “She is a load out there and can create anytime.”
The Falcons expanded their lead as the second period started, with Callie Naylor feeding Martin for a jumper for a seven-point lead.
Aubry Cole responded for Seeger with a free throw and a pair of baskets, one where she dribbled the length of the floor for a lay-up and one where she only had to take it half that length, to cut the Patriot deficit to only two points at 12-10.
After a Dowers basket, Aubry and her older sister Avery combined for three points to cut the margin to one, at which point Rademacher called a timeout.
Coming out of the break, Aubry hit a trey and Emily Shrader did the same to put Seeger up 19-14 at the half.
“Aubry hit some shots that really helped,” Rademacher said, “and then Emily hit that three right before the half, which was really big for us.”
Riley Shrader opened the second half scoring for the Patriots but the Falcons responded a basket by Martin and a lay-up by Cami Pearman.
The teams traded possessions for the next five minutes with the only points coming from a pair of free throws by Emily Shrader and a steal and lay-up by Kiley White for Seeger against a jumper by Ellis and a free throw by Dowers for a 25-22 Patriot lead going into the fourth quarter.
The basket by White was noteworthy as it gave her just her first two points of the game as the Falcons had focused their defense on her using a box-and-one.
The final quarter saw both teams miss opportunities early in the period.
Aubry Cole and White scored first for Seeger for a 29-22 lead, but Dowers and Brianna West made lay-ups in response to return the margin to the quarter-opening three at 29-26.
Defenses continued to command the action and neither team scored again for over three minutes with Pearman breaking the drought by hitting a free throw with 1:26 left in the game for a 29-27 score.
Seeger had been playing a delay game ever since the White basket and North Vermillion had no choice but to foul as they chased the ball.
White went to the line for the Patriots and made three of four and then another pair made the final score 34-27 in favor of the visitors.
“I thought we played a good game,” North Vermillion head coach Mark Switzer said. “We executed our game plan, but we just couldn’t hit shots and we had plenty of chances.”
North Vermillion played the game without guard McKenzie Crowder who was out with a foot injury, but Switzer said he liked the play of two young players who replaced her.
“Cami Pearman and Callie Naylor played a lot more minutes than usual,” he explained, “and I thought they did as well as I could expect. They need more experience, but they played hard.”