Bailey McCoy

Seymour routs Carter 70-19 to earn berth in district championship game


STRAWBERRY PLAINS – Seymour went about the semifinal round of the district tournament the same way it did in 2022, with a rout of Carter to advance to the championship game. The Lady Eagles got off to a hot start, offensively and defensively, en route to a 70-19 win, earning a rematch with Northview in the final, which it has won six straight against.

Since the Lady Eagles had not played a game since last Friday, and will not play another until Monday, Seymour head coach Greg Hernandez said his goal was to make sure his team was in top form going into the potential championship against Northview on Monday. The Lady Cougars defeated Gibbs in the second semifinal game Thursday night.

Jaden Cummings

Jaden Cummings (15) goes up for a layup while Carter’s Lily Lampkin (12) contests. Photo by Brian Hamilton

“In the first half, we focused a lot on our full-court pressure and in the second and third quarters, with our older group, I kind of wanted to get some work in, since it’s the only game we’re playing this week,” Hernandez said after the game. “I wanted to focus on half-court defense (in the second half) and make sure that we were rotating in the gaps and they did what they were supposed to. I didn’t want us to get lazy or content (with a big lead).”

Seymour jumped on Carter early when Caiden Russell hit a three to put the Lady Eagles ahead 3-0. Another short jumper by Russell, followed by a Bailey McCoy basket would give Seymour a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.

Olivia Wolford gave the Lady Hornets their first points on a three-pointer, trimming the Seymour lead to 7-3. The basket by Wolford would be Carter’s only field goal in the first quarter, as Seymour took a 15-4 lead after one.

Kelsey Cruz opened the scoring for the Lady Eagles in the second quarter, hitting a three to give Seymour an 18-4 advantage. Cruz would score on a layup to extend the lead to 20-4, followed by a Russell three and a layup by Jaden Cummings, making the score 25-4.

Carter would finally end its drought when Lily Lampkin converted a pair of free throws to make the score 25-6 with under four minutes remaining in the second quarter.

Russell sank her third triple of the night with 30 seconds left in the first half, as Seymour used an 8-0 run to go into the locker room with a 33-6 halftime lead. The Lady Eagles held Carter to under 7-percent shooting in the first half, as the Lady Hornets went 1-for-15 from the field.

Cummings opened the third quarter with a pair of free throws, followed by a long two-pointer by Bailey McCoy to put Seymour ahead 37-6. Two free throws by McCoy would stretch he lead to 40-6 and a long two by Kaylen Schultz made the score 42-6, as the Lady Eagles extended their run to 16-0, dating back to the first half.

Bailey McCoy

Seymour’s Bailey McCoy (20) goes up for a jumper during the Lady Eagles’ semifinal win over Carter Thursday night. Photo by Brian Hamilton

Carter would end its field goal drought, dating back to early in the first quarter, when Lampkin grabbed a miss by Ivey Jones and scored on a putback to make the score 42-8 with under four minutes remaining in the third quarter.

A three pointer by Brielle Turner made the score 47-8 with 2:44 left in the quarter, followed by a Cummings three that extended Seymour’s lead to 50-8.

Olivia Craig hit a long two for Carter, which finally got the Lady Hornets to double-digits, at 50-10, but three consecutive baskets by Seymour, including a bucket by Alicia Cruz with six seconds left in the third, would make the score 56-10.

Carter’s Caleigh Wilson was fouled on a last second attempt with under one second left in the third quarter and sank both free throws, sending the Lady Hornets to the final quarter trailing 56-12.

Hernandez relied mostly on bench players in the fourth quarter, as Seymour had a continuously running clock in the final period. Freshman Makenna Sharpe hit a three early in the fourth, followed by a driving layup to give the Lady Eagles a 63-12 lead.

Another freshman, Savannah Marma, then hit a three to extend the Seymour lead to 66-15 with 3:12 remaining. Carter’s Olivia Craig would respond with a basket to make the score 66-17.

Freshman Kali Fisher nailed a midrange jumper to stretch the Seymour lead to 68-17 with under two minutes remaining. Carter’s Ava McSwain scored the last points of the contest with 16 seconds left, making the final score 70-19.

Seymour balanced offensively, as Jaden Cummings and Caiden Russell led the Lady Eagles with 11 points apiece, while Bailey McCoy finished with eight and Alicia Cruz added seven.

“I’m just happy with the way we executed defensively,” Hernandez said. “In the first half, we were able to put pressure on them and turn it over and we were able to turn defense into offense. We were very basic on offense, but I was happy with the way we moved (the ball) and shared it and we knocked down shots, especially there at the end with the younger kids. They were able to go in there in the end and play well and I was happy with what we did, collectively, as a group.”

Lily Lampkin and Olivia Craig led Carter with five points each.

The win advances Seymour to the district championship game on Monday night against Northview Academy, who defeated Gibbs 65-34 later on Thursday night. The Lady Eagles have won six straight against the Lady Cougars, dating back to the 2021-22 season, including a sweep of the two regular season games this year.

“Obviously, (the potential rematch with Northview) was in the back of our minds, but we didn’t want to look ahead too much,” Hernandez said. “I told the girls to use the third quarter as kind of a conditioning and defend the half-court and be sound. I told them, ‘Get what you need now, because they weren’t going to play much longer (in the game).'”

Monday night will be this year’s edition of Seymour vs. Northview Academy, part III. This will be only the second time in the last two years that the two teams have played on a neutral court, as the district tournament was at Seymour in 2022. The last time the two met on a neutral court, Seymour blasted the Lady Cougars 50-29 in the region championship at Halls. Needless to say, the Lady Eagles hope for a similar result in 2023. The game will tip at Carter gymnasium at 7:30 p.m.

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