Southwest High School split a basketball doubleheader with Seneca on Jan. 14. Southwest's girl prevailed 55-24, while the boys came up short 61-56.
Southwest's girls got a peek inside the Big 8 Conference and Seneca got an eye-opener when the Lady Trojans laid a 55-24 score on the visiting Lady Indians.
Michaela Mitchell scored a game-high 16 points for Southwest, and freshman Jaime Shrum burried three treys in a four-minute span to turn the game in the first half.
After a tense first quarter of play in which the Lady Trojans snatched a 14-11 lead on Shrum's 3-pointer in the final minute, Southwest took control of the game with quarters of 18-7 and 14-4. The mercy clock came to life with over five minutes left in the game, as Nicole Ickes scored with an offensive board to create a 53-23 lead.
Seneca led by as many as 6 points in the early going, but Southwest finished the opening quarter with an 11-2 surge and never trailed again. The Lady Trojans led by 10 when Taylor Mettlach posted up and scored with a turnaround jumper over Mirana Heath midway through the second period.
Michaela Mitchell put on a clinic after halftime, scoring half of her 16 points in the third quarter.
The Lady Trojans were perfect at the free throw line, sinking all seven attempts.
The district seed meetings are still weeks away, but the Lady Trojans made a strong case for being no worse than the third seed in their Class 3 district tournament.
The Lady Trojans improved to 14-3 overall with the victory.
Scoring for Southwest: Michaela Mitchell, 16 points; Shrum, 9; Ickes, Shannon Mitchell, 8 each; Taylor Mettlach, 7; Montana Hendrix, 5; and Cady Swindle, 2.
Scoring for Seneca: Annie Howard, 8 points; Heath, 5; Bailey Skelton, Molli Cooper and Courtney Cook, 3 each; and Rachel Butterfield, 2.
Trailing by 10 points with 2:53 to play, the Southwest Trojans rallied to cut the Seneca lead to 4 twice in the closing seconds. However, with three players scoring in double digits, the Indians survived to take the 61-56 nailbiter.
The Trojans scored the first basket when James Pettit juked and drove the baseline for a layup. The Indians answered with a 13-0 run and held a 13-7 lead at the first break. That run turned out to be the difference in the game.
Southwest climbed back into contention in the second quarter. Austin Ross came off the bench to sink a trey halfway through the period, and then Pettit's long bomb cut the lead to 24-21.
Chance Smith snared an offensive rebound and scored with the clock running down to give Seneca a 26-21 halftime lead.
Seneca jumped to a 30-21 lead immediately after intermission. Smith and Kyler Ng scored to force a Southwest timeout. Jordan Epling rang up a trey for the Trojans after the break, and a Pettit three-ball cut the lead to 32-29 a minute later.
But that was as close as Southwest could get. The lead varied throughout the remainder of the game, tantalizingly close for the Trojans but still just out of grasp. The Indians hit 15 of 25 freebies in the game, including nine free throws in the final quarter to earn the 61-56 win.
"Offensive rebounds killed us," said Southwest's Jess Ross. "If you give someone 15 more attempts to score, they will normally beat you."
Scoring for Southwest: Pettit, 22 points; Epling, 19; Ross, 7; Josh Cutberth, 6; and Blake Barnes, 2.
Seneca scorers: Ng, 16 points; Smith, 12; Logan St. Clair, 10; Bradley Jumper and Seth Harris, 8 each; and Elias Roelfsema, 7.