COAL CITY – Top-seeded Seneca salvaged third place in the Interstate Eight Conference boys basketball tournament Friday night with a 53-30 blowout of No. 3 Herscher.
The difference between Friday’s game and an earlier meeting between the teams – won 53-47 by Seneca – wasn’t as much as a what but more of a who.
“Their best two shooters and two best ballhandlers were not here, and that makes it kind of difficult,” Seneca coach Russell Witte said.
Seneca broke open what had been a 26-20 game during the third quarter, building a 44-25 lead by its conclusion. Seneca went 7 for 10 from the field while Herscher was just 2 for 5 during the quarter, and off Herscher’s 20 turnovers, seven came in the third.
Six different players scored for Seneca during the third quarter, with Carter Gallick’s five points leading the way.
“Our kids were playing hard, and they just hit some shots, and we couldn’t get the ball to go in,” Herscher coach Todd Schwarzkopf said.
Seneca continued to control the game in the fourth quarter, holding Herscher to one field goal. The Tigers were 8 for 31 from the field for the game.
“Our energy was much, much better in the second half than it was in the first half, and that comes with getting stops and getting in transition,” Witte said. “I thought the first half, we weren’t playing horrible, we were trying to be very efficient in the first half by not settling for the three ball as much against the zone.”
The balance Seneca (16-4) showed in the third was abundant throughout the game. Conlan Callahan led the Fighting Irish with 15 points and five steals, but they also received 11 points from Gallick, 10 points, two assists and three steals from Alex Bott and eight points and eight rebounds from Alex Applebee.
Herscher (8-9) was led by Blake Patchett’s 10 points.