Don’t mind the records: Sevier County stuns Seymour girls
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (email@example.com)
SEYMOUR — Lexi Justus’ 3-point try at the buzzer bounced off the rim Friday night, as once more it was time to throw the record book out the window between county and district rivals Seymour and Sevier County.
The Bearettes (9-11, 4-4 District 2-AAA) rode 22 points from Brittany Tarr and kept Seymour frustrated in the second half to take a 39-38 victory in the tri-county crossroads.
“It’s a great rivalry, a great atmosphere, and that’s what happens when you get teams like this in the same county and 10 miles apart getting together,” Seymour coach Brandi Stallings told The Daily Times outside a gym packed to near standing room.
Kelsey Wypych’s free throw with 3.3 seconds remaining proved the final difference maker in the back-and-forth affair. Seymour (13-8, 6-2) broke out of a near 10-minute scoring slumber, with its only trey coming off the hands of Kasey Norman to tie it with 38 seconds left. Wypych dribbled the clock down to five seconds at halfcourt before breaking for the basket and drawing the foul that sent her to the line.
The Lady Eagles had built the largest lead of the night at 31-24 with 3:51 left in the third quarter of the defensive struggle but found a lid over the rim the rest of the way, recording a turnaround jumper from Victoria Nelson and Norman’s bomb as the only field goals over the final 11:51.
“I thought we rushed a few possessions. We had the momentum going and just rushed things rather than extending that lead,” Stallings said. “Give Sevier County credit though, they were very patient, and then we bailed them out a few times with fouls. They’re a good foul-shooting team, and they took advantage of that.”
Nelson and Norman combined to carry Seymour to the lead out of the half before the lid slammed shut. Nelse finished with a team high 18 while Norman added 9.
“They both kind of stole the show,” Stallings said of the score-for-score battle that developed between Tarr and Nelson, who were constantly matched up with each other. “It was good to see Victoria improve as the game went along. Her defense got better, and we need that from her as she gets back into the form she had last year.”
The Bearettes rallied in the second quarter to take things to the break tied at 21. Tarr found a comfortable place inside in the Sevier County motion movement and put up 11 consecutive for the Purple in a 13-point quarter. Wypych started the Bearettes off with the first of her 11 to cut into the 14-8 Seymour lead posting inside as the Lady Eagles struggled to find their touch going 0-for-5 to start the quarter.
Tarr twice gave Sevier County the lead, the last of the half on a 3 from deep in visiting fan corner that kissed the side of the glass to drop in for a 21-18 edge. Nelson was Seymour’s answer, scoring 6 in the final four minutes before the break to tie the game back into a Blackjack knot at 21.
The Lady Eagles pushed Sevier out of its press, running around and throwing over it to take off on a quick 6-point lead.
Sevier 63, Eagles 57
Seymour’s DJ Griffin managed to get back to Seymour from the National Guard Border Battle practice in time to put in eight for the Eagles Friday, but it wasn’t enough against the Smoky Bears. Despite the absence of their own football/basketball star Logan McCarter for today’s game in the Blue Grass, Sevier County (18-2, 7-1) pulled away in the second half for the IMAC victory.
The Eagles (13-7, 3-5) got 15 from Gunner Gibson and 10 from Peyton Lee as they cut the margin to 52-50 with 2:59 to play on a pair of Lee free throws but could get no closer.
Jacob Whaley paced Sevier County with a game-high 25, and Devin Schmidt added 7 of his 18 in the final three minutes, including a emphatic basket and foul for the 3-point play to answer Seymour’s charge.