SEYMOUR — Down big against a team they have struggled against in recent years, Moulton-Udell could’ve let things ride out. Instead, the Lady Eagles marched back into the game and completed an 18-point comeback on the road to defeat Seymour 71-59 in both team’s season opener.
“We played a very tough game overall tonight,” Moulton-Udell head coach Jason Ogden said. “I felt after the first quarter we were able to settle down and play better defense the rest of the game.”
Seymour’s length was the difference in the early going as the Warriorettes were controlling the glass and making it tough for Moulton-Udell to shoot over them. The Lady Eagles were able to get to the free throw line but did not find much success there, going just 11-for-27 (40.7%) on the night.
Meanwhile on the other end, Seymour junior guard Natalee Watters was making the most of her first start as her speed and ability to finish at the rim gave the Warriorettes a 26-11 lead after the first quarter with Watters matching Moulton-Udell’s 11 points on her own.
“It was a wild first quarter with giving up 26 points. Seymour did a nice job of attacking us and caused problems early,” Ogden said.
The Lady Eagles’ comeback would slowly start to take shape as both teams ventured to the free throw line often in the second quarter as both were in the bonus. Chelsey Boettcher would lead the charge back with a career night with Moulton-Udell gaining some momentum at the half with Boettcher hitting a mid-range jumper at the buzzer to cut the deficit to 42-32.
Moulton-Udell ramped up their full-court pressure in the second half, forcing Seymour to rush their offense and create turnovers. Jessica King had a big night on both ends of the floor for the Lady Eagles, doing a little bit of everything with 11 points, six rebounds, seven assists and six steals.
By the end of the third quarter, Moulton-Udell had cut Seymour’s lead to one at 51-50.
Back-to-back buckets by Brason Bulechek would give Moulton-Udell the lead at 54-51 with seven minutes to play. The Lady Eagles would not take the foot off the gas as they continued to execute on both ends of the floor, outscoring the Warriorettes 39-17 in the second half to close out their first win against Seymour since 2015.
The win also snapped an incredible streak of 42 straight regular season wins by Seymour dating back to 2016.
“I’m proud that the kids never game up and we were able to complete the comeback,” Ogden said. “With six minutes to go in the first half we were down 32-14, it would have been easy for the kids to quit and just play it out. They did a great job of sticking to our game plan on the offensive end and we played better defense.”
Boettcher was on a mission all night for Moulton-Udell. She scored a career-high 33 points on 14-of-22 shooting from the floor with 10 rebounds to complete her double-double. She was doing it inside in the post and in the mid-range with her jumper. After Seymour had their way in the paint in the first quarter, Boettcher did a nice job of locking down the paint and making it tough for the Warriorette bigs.
For Seymour, Watters would finish with 17 points and would have to battle through a lower leg injury in the fourth quarter. Seymour also received double-digit scoring from Thayda Houser (14 points) and Kaitlyn Couchman (12 points).
Abbie and Malorie Probasco both dealt with foul trouble for the Lady Eagles. Abbie made a huge impact in the minutes she was on the floor, scoring 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting with five rebounds, two assists and one steal. Moulton-Udell received a huge lift from their bench with the Probasco’s in foul trouble as Lexi Smith, Hannah King and Karsyn Sebolt all played big minutes in helping the comeback.
“The bench played a huge role tonight as we had several players in foul trouble. It’s nice to get our first win of the season, now we focus on conference games for the next four contests,” Ogden said.
Moulton-Udell (1-0) have their home opener on Friday at 6 p.m. against Diagonal (1-3). Seymour hits the road on Friday at 6 p.m. to face Orient-Macksburg (1-1).