By Travis Mounts
The Garden Plain Owls opened the season with a 37-27 home loss last Friday, falling to the Trinity Academy Knights.
The Knights put the game away in the final couple of minutes, as their defense held the Owls to just 3 points. Trinity led 16-11 at halftime, and were up by just 2 points, 26-24, at the end of the third quarter.
The Owls were still within striking distance late. Down 3 points, they missed a layup. Trinity came back the other way and made a 3-pointer to go up by 6. That then forced the Owls to foul.
Garden Plaine starting this year with little varsity experience, so their low score was not a surprise. But the defense did well holding the Knights – ranked No. 7 in the preseason Class 3A poll – to fewer than 40 points.
“I thought we played well defensively,” said head coach Antwan Seymore. “Offensively, we struggled to make shots. Overall, we played well and did what we set out to do. It was definitely something we can build on.”
Seymore said the Owls are not worried about wins right now. Instead, the coach wants to see the Owls execute in games the things they are working on in practice. Over time, the wins will come, he said.
Garden Plain is playing early season tournament games this week, and the schedule is challenging.
“I call this week ‘The Gauntlet,’” Seymore said.
On Tuesday, the Owls hosted the Rose Hill Rockets, the No. 4 team in Class 4A in the preseason poll from the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association. This Thursday, the Owls will go on the road to Hesston to play the Swathers, who are ranked No. 1 in 3A. On Saturday, Garden Plain returns to Hesston to face the Nickerson Panthers.
Next week, the Owls will play at Independent on Tuesday. On Friday, the boys will play at Moundridge in the CPL-HOA Challenge, where teams from the Central Plains League play against members of the Heart of America League.