SEYMOUR — The Woodland Hawks and the Seymour Wildcats squared off Tuesday in a key Brass Division battle; the teams came in with identical 4-5 overall marks and were 3-1 in the division.
Seymour held the upper hand early on, dominating the play in the paint, as four of its first five buckets came by the way of the put-back.
Woodland secured the lead at the break but allowed the Cats to utilize a 35-20 edge in the second half to come away with a 55-44 win.
“They crashed the boards and put us on our heels,” Woodland head coach Tom Hunt said. “But I thought we made a nice adjustment and took the lead at the half. Seymour was 0-7 in the first half from the three-point line, and we talked about that at the break. We knew they were going to hit those shots sooner or later. They weren’t going to keep misfiring, not on their home court.”
Bryan Spickle (10 points, 13 rebounds) got the first bucket for the Hawks, and Shaine Thompson (18 points, six rebounds, four steals) connected on back-to-back possessions. But the game was tied at 6-6 because of the Cats’ ability to control the boards.
Kyle Moran (21 points, 10 rebounds) threw down put-backs on the first two Seymour possessions. Rich Adeniyi scored six in the period, as Seymour opened up a 16-11 advantage on the scoreboard.
The Hawks’ defense kicked in, as the Cats put up only six points in the second period. Rahmi Rountree came off the bench to put pressure on the ball, and Ryan Genua hit the passing lanes to create turnovers and slow down the Cats.
That opened up opportunities for Eric Brandien (10 points) to hit a pair of threes, as Woodland took over the lead. Ian Bures and Ryan Angeloszek began to assert themselves in the paint, and the rebounding edge started to swing in the Hawks’ favor.
With 1:12 left in the half, Rountree kicked out to Brandien in the corner for a trey, and Spickle finished the half with a put-back, as the Hawks took a 24-20 lead at the break.
“We had some opportunities to extend the lead but didn’t finish it off, and that’s just part of the growing pains we are going through,” Hunt said.
The momentum shifted quickly back to the Cats in the second half, when Woodland started to turn over the ball. Angeloszek buried a three for a 27-22 Woodland advantage before Seymour responded with a 10-0 run to take over the lead.
Moran finished the run at the free throw line, as the Cats forged a 32-27 advantage. Thompson made a couple of drives in the lane, but the Hawks couldn’t stop the relentless Seymour attack inside. Andeniyi (12 points) scored three put-backs to give the Cats a slim, 36-33 lead heading into the final period.
“I thought we did a good job shutting down their big scoring threat in Louis Krohelski,” Hunt said. “But they kept attacking inside, and we didn’t match that intensity. Moran got loose for 13 in the final period, and we didn’t do anything about it.”
Eric Parmerlee nailed a three to start the final period for Seymour. Chris Sheppard took it inside to open up a comfortable 41-33 advantage. Moran bagged a pair of threes, and the contest was starting to slip away, with Seymour holding a double-digit lead, up 51-41 with 2:52 to play. Woodland misfired down the stretch and couldn’t cut the gap, as Seymour slipped away with a 55-44 win.
“We didn’t make the adjustments we needed to in the fourth period, and it got away from us,” Hunt said. “We need to come back and play a strong game Friday and then the second half begins with a bunch of games in the division.
“We need to get that winning feeling back, and it starts with Friday’s game.”