A pair of comebacks came up just short as the Skyview boys and Seward girls escaped with Southcentral Conference wins in Friday hoops action at Skyview.
The Skyview boys, led by 17 points from Kaleb Henderson, survived a late string of 3-pointers to win 48-46 and improve to 3-4 in conference and 5-11 overall. Seward fell to 4-1 in the league.
The Seward girls won 25-24 in a defensive struggle to improve to 4-1 in the league, while Skyview fell to 0-7 in conference play.
The boys game was close until the end of the first half. After the second quarter saw four ties, Skyview ended the half on an 8-0 run, taking a 26-20 advantage into the locker room.
The Seahawks played zone in the first half, and the Panthers took advantage of a classic weakness of the zone — offensive rebounds — in getting three putbacks in the final 2:08 of the half. Skyview coach Jesse Settlemyer said big men Sage Hill and Henderson led the effort on the glass.
But just as costly to the Seahawks was shooting. They were 2-of-13 in the second quarter and 1-of-11 in the third quarter.
"We were down in the 22nd percentile," Seward coach Curtis Berry said. "It's hard to win games when you are shooting like that."
Berry credited Skyview with playing tenacious defense — a brand of ball that Settlemyer is happy to claim.
"We take a lot of pride in our defense," Settlemyer said. "That's an identity we want. That's what drives the team. It's defense first in practice."
Settlemyer said the Skyview defense was keying on Seward senior captain Jeff Buchanan, who led his squad with 16 points. The coach said Jacob Carlson did a good job containing Buchanan.
"We knew he wanted to break us down, get in the lane and get a lot of assists," Settlemyer said. "I told Carlson to keep him out of the lane and make him take contested 3s. Unfortunately, he made a few of those at the end."
Henderson hit a layup to give the Panthers a 35-22 lead with 7:09 left in the game, but after that Skyview's five fourth-quarter turnovers and 9-of-18 shooting from the charity stripe began to eat into the Panthers lead.
With 22 seconds left, Buchanan hit a 3 for a 45-40 game, but three seconds later Carlson hit a pair of foul shots for a 47-40 lead. Buchanan came right back with a 3 for a 47-43 game with 14 seconds left, and this time Carlson hit 1-of-2 with 12 seconds left.
Seward's Ronnie Jackson made things interesting with a 3 for a 48-46 game with four seconds left, and Carlson missed two free throws with 1.8 seconds remaining, but Seward did not have enough time for a legitimate shot at the basket.
Berry asked the team in the locker room if 40 more seconds would have been enough to win. When the Seahawks said they thought so, Berry pointed out the team did have 31 minutes before that final minute of the game.
"Hopefully, this will give us a reality check," he said. "In high school basketball, anybody can beat anybody on any given night."
Settlemyer gave credit to senior DJ Collier for showing composure in the final minute.
"We have been a good free-throw shooting team in practice," he said. "It's something we have to work on under pressure."
Seward girls 25, Skyview 24
The Panthers went toe-to-toe with one of the conference's best teams before coming up short in the final seconds when Samantha Reynolds' game-winning 3-pointer bounced off the front of the rim.
"I'm extremely proud of the effort," Skyview girls coach Kyle McFall said. "I told them in the locker room to be proud of the effort, but not satisfied."
The Seahawks led 9-4 five minutes into the game when Ashley Von Borstel drained a 3, but Skyview would take a 14-13 lead on a steal and layup by Makinna Halverson with 30 seconds left in the first half.
"It was a defensive struggle," Seward coach Mark Clemens said. "We had good movement in the first three minutes, but we slowed after that.
"We did not execute on offense."
The game stayed tight in the third quarter, ending with Seward holding an 18-17 edge. The Seahawks then hit three of their first eight shots from the floor in taking a 25-20 edge with 2:34 to play.
Skyview fought back with a rebound layup by Dallas Derflinger with 1:55 to play. Seward called timeout with 1:36 left and Clemens ordered a stall. Skyview was able to force a turnover with 55 seconds left, and Meghan Powers capitalized with a layup for a 25-24 game with 50 seconds left.
The problem for the Panthers then became that Skyview had to foul three times before the Seahawks would be forced to take a bonus free throw. That free throw finally came with 9.2 seconds left, and Tessa Adelmann missed to give the Panthers life.
Skyview called timeout with 3.3 seconds left and set up the play that resulted in the missed 3-pointer.
Clemens said the win wasn't pretty, and credited bench players like Laura Kromery, playing in her first varsity game in a month due to a bruised tailbone, for giving the team life.
"The ultimate goal is a win, and we ended the game with a win," Clemens said. "That makes a difference in region seeding."
McFall said Skyview, which has won two games all year, has made great strides on defense — a defense led by the four steals of Nicole Tromblee and the boxing out of Derflinger. He also said the Panthers are attacking lanes better on offense, giving shooters Reynolds and Powers better looks at the basket.
"We haven't been in situations like the one we were in at the end," he said. "We'll learn, and next time we'll foul quicker."
Seahawks 25, Panthers 24
SEWARD (25) — Brockman 0 1-2 1, Von Borstel 5 0-0 12, Whiteshield 0 1-2 1, Jackson 2 0-0 4, Kromery 1 0-0 2, Clemens 0 0-0 0, Perea 0 1-2 1, Adelmann 1 2-5 4. Totals — 9 5-11 25.
SKYVIEW (24) — Halverson 2 0-0 4, Powers 2 0-0 5, Link 0 0-0 0, Derflinger 3 0-1 6, Ramsell 1 2-4 4, Reynolds 2 0-0 5, Tromblee 0 0-0 0. Totals — 10 2-5 24.
3-point goals — Seward 2 (Von Borstel 2); Skyview 2 (Powers, Reynolds). Team fouls — Seward 11, Skyview 11. Fouled out — none.
Panthers 48, Seahawks 46
SEWARD (46) — Buchanan 5 4-4 16, Marshall 2 2-2 6, Pahno 0 0-0 0, Thomassen 2 1-4 5, Berry 1 0-0 2, Wolfe 0 0-0 0, Ivy 0 0-0 0, Moore 3 3-4 9, Broughton 0 0-0 0, Jackson 3 0-0 8. Totals — 16 10-14 46.
SKYVIEW (48) — Collier 0 1-3 1, Rice 3 1-3 7, Hill 4 0-0 8, Jones 0 0-0 0, Duke 2 1-4 6, Carlson 1 7-11 9, Magnuson 0 0-0 0, Henderson 7 3-5 17. Totals — 17 13-26 48.
3-point goals — Seward 4 (Buchanan 2, Jackson 2); Skyview 1 (Duke 1). Team fouls — Seward 23, Skyview 13. Fouled out — Marshall, Moore.