Bowerman powers Tigers over Carey

ATTICA — The two events would seem to be mutually exclusive — Seneca East was shackled with 31 turnovers while winning its 10th game of the year.

The Tigers, in fact, won going away, downing Carey 56-39 in a Northern 10 Athletic Conference girls basketball game here Friday night.

The fact that the Blue Devils finished with 33 turnovers helped. Having Jessica Bowerman helped a lot more.

The Tiger junior scored 22 points and had 14 rebounds to go with four assists and six steals as Seneca East improved to 10-2 overall and 8-1 in conference play.

But even she started slowly.

The Tigers had 11 turnovers in the first period alone and though they overcame a 6-2 deficit in the first three-plus minutes, they struggled at the end of the quarter as well. So when Ellison Roark knocked down a 3-pointer and Emmy Wood scored inside, the Blue Devils took an 11-8 lead into the second period.

“We’ve been pretty clean most of the time this year,” Seneca East coach Don Vogt said with a shake of the head regarding the turnover count. “We started the year with a higher turnover rate, but we’ve settled in to something like 14 a game.

“You know the Carey girls are going to come in mentally ready to play and that means they’re going to play physically,” he said. “That’s something we need to be ready for, something you need to learn. So for us to experience this and win is a good thing.”

They did so with a monster second quarter.

For one thing, Seneca East reversed roles regarding turnovers by working the Blue Devils for 11. The miscues often came from the Tigers’ trapping press and the result was layups.

Five Tiger girls — Bowerman, Makenna Depinet, Alexis Hicks, Bailey Hamilton, Kierston Cook — scored in a 17-0 start to the period.

Things snowballed from there. In addition to the turnovers, starters Avarie Stewart and Sadie Arend, Carey’s top two scorers in this one, both each picked her third foul before the four-minute mark.

By quarter’s end, Seneca East had pushed the lead to 39-13.

“We started out the way we wanted to start out,” Carey coach Phil Vaughn said of the early lead. “We just stayed on 11 way too long. Mistakes started compounding and we couldn’t turn it around.

“That’s been a problem for us,” he said. “A couple bad things happen and we drop our heads. And when you drop your heads, something else bad is going to happen. We’re young and we only rotate seven kids, we’ve got to mature a little bit in that sense.”

Arend, who led Carey (5-5, 4-5) with 13 points and five rebounds, scored inside and Stewart, who was next with seven, hit a 3-pointer to trim the margin to 29-18 early in the third. But then Bowerman went to work.

After Hicks (10 points, seven rebounds) scored inside, Bowerman had a steal and assist for Hamilton and then followed with a putback three-point play. A couple minutes later, Bowerman scored on a drive and turned a steal into a layup for a 42-20 lead.

“She was player of the year in the conference last year as a sophomore for a reason,” Vaughn said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a boy or girl play harder than she does, start to finish.”

“She’s just an amazing player to watch and coach,” Vogt said. “I say this all the time, but the intensity you see on game night from her, you see every day in practice. Every drill, everything, she’s like that 100 percent of the time. It’s why she is what she is.”

The Tigers remained one game behind Buckeye Central in the N-10 race. BC turned back Wynford 37-25 Friday night to improve to 9-0 in conference play. Seneca East’s lone loss was a 42-40 decision Dec. 10 to Buckeye Central with another match coming.

“It’s out there, but honestly, we’ve got to make sure we stay in the here and now,” Vogt said. “We simply cannot get ahead of ourselves. It has to be the here and now for us.”