NORTH VERNON — Jennings County showed little sign of fatigue during the second game in as many nights, dispatching Seymour 82-34 Saturday in a Hoosier Hills Conference battle.
The neighbors from just a few miles down U.S. 50 received little hospitality from the Panthers, who opened with a 9-2 run in the opening minutes.
Chase Salmon and Landon Booth helped tighten the score in the first quarter. Salmon provided some strong inside play, and Booth hit from outside and avoided turning the ball over early. Cold Owls shooting contributed to the opening quarter ending with the Panthers holding an early 11-point lead.
“This team takes pride in working hard,” Jennings junior guard Adrian Kirchner said. “Tonight was a total team effort.”
Seymour (0-7, 0-3) closed the gap in the second quarter, sparked by a run led by point guard Booth’s four free throws, closing to within nine at about halfway through the quarter. But the Panthers’ Dan Leach unleashed a torrent of 3-point field goals, making all three of his attempts in the second quarter to dash any Owl comeback dreams.
Seymour couldn’t seem to find the basket most of the evening, hitting only 17 percent from the field. Their free throw percentage wasn’t much better at 11 of 26.
“We have an incredibly difficult time scoring points,” Seymour coach Scott Miller said. “Tonight was a capsule of our entire season. We have to be able to score, and right now, we can’t.”
The Owls lost eight seniors from their varsity squad from last season, and although this year’s team has plenty of juniors and seniors, many of the players are new to the roster.
The Panthers (5-2, 2-0) turned in a much better shooting night, hitting about 62 percent from the field and 67 percent from the stripe.
The third quarter continued the trend from the first half. Brad Hunt, Jennings’ 6-foot-9 junior center, blocked four consecutive shot attempts in a single Seymour possession. Hunt contributed 12 points and was a rebounding force for the Panthers.
“I was most pleased that our intensity stayed up the entire game,” Jennings coach Joe Hartwell said. “Nobody let down. Everybody scored.”
Everyone on both benches saw plenty of playing time, with the Panthers spreading out their scoring across the roster. They had five players in double figures, led by Caleb Eder with 14.
“Whoever’s open scores,” said Kirchner, who claimed he didn’t feel much fatigue from playing two games in as many nights. “The coaches do well conditioning us in practice.”
Booth led the Owls with nine points.