SEYMOUR — Postseason basketball tipped off on Thursday with a pair of familiar Bluegrass Conference teams clashing in the first round. After splitting the first two meetings, Seymour took the tiebreaker, advancing to the regional quarterfinals after defeating Moulton-Udell 60-52.
“We just came up a little short in this one,” Moulton-Udell head coach Jason Ogden said. “Their size has always been a concern for me and they used it very well in getting the ball to their post players. We just couldn’t do anything about it. Our game plan going in was to slow their two guards down and try to make the others step up and they did that. I thought we executed our game plan as well as we have all season long, they just beat us.”
The Lady Eagles were executing their game plan from the start. A couple of long jumpers from Jessica King as well as back-to-back threes from Abbie Probasco forced a Seymour timeout with Moulton-Udell ahead 10-4 with 4:40 left in the first quarter.
Seymour would start to make their adjustments offensively and resulted to their huge size advantage inside. The Warriorettes started to dump it in to Paige Heesch, who was able to keep the ball high and finish over the Lady Eagles with 10 points in the second quarter alone to cut the deficit to 27-24 at the half.
The game started to turn for Seymour in the third quarter. The Warriorettes continued to find Heesch in the paint but also were able to kick it out and get threes from Natalee Watters and Kaitlyn Couchman.
Meanwhile, the outside shots were not falling at the same rate for the Lady Eagles as they were outscored 20-6 in the quarter. Probasco, who had the green light on the night, was held scoreless in the third after dropping 16 points in the first half.
Moulton-Udell leading scoring Chelsey Boettcher also picked up her fourth foul in the third quarter after getting into foul trouble early in the game.
The Lady Eagles would try to work their way back into the game. King’s three cut the deficit down to seven with 3:43 to go but that would be as close as they could get. King splashed home three triples in the fourth but Seymour’s free throw shooting down the stretch was key.
Thayda Houser made seven free throws in the quarter on her way to 15 points on the night as Seymour was able to hold off Moulton-Udell to advance.
Seymour had three other girls score in double figures on the night with Heesch’s 19 points leading the way while Couchman scored 12 points and Watters chipped in 10 points.
For Moulton-Udell, they were led by Abbie Probasco’s 18 points, seven rebounds, one assist and four steals. King finished with 15 points, three rebounds and one assist while Boettcher added six points, seven rebounds, one steal and three blocks.
The Lady Eagles’ willingness to shoot from outside also meant that they weren’t able to get it inside to Boettcher or to the free throw line. Boettcher, who averages 14.5 points, was held to six points while as a team Moulton-Udell were held to just two free throw attempts all night.
That being said, Moulton-Udell made a season-high eight threes on 20 attempts (40%) and made some nice strides in their best season in nearly 10 years.
“We did a great job hitting some big outside shots tonight, I am proud of the progress our team has made this year,” Ogden said. “We will miss our three seniors and they will be missed. We still have a good core coming back and we will just have to work harder in the off-season to address the void left by our senior class. These kids showed up and played hard almost every single game and I appreciate that. It is a very special team, the way they treat each other and how they get along on and off the court.”
Moulton-Udell finishes the year with a 9-12 record, their most wins in a season since 2011-12. They will lose three senior starters in Boettcher, Malorie Probasco and Brason Bulechek.
Seymour (16-6) advances to the regional quarterfinals where they will travel to Lamoni (19-2) for a rematch of the BGC Tournament championship on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m.