Perhaps it would be best if Seabury Academy quit printing rosters for its boys basketball games.
That way, at least the Seahawks players wouldn’t know the height disadvantage they faced until right before tipoff.
“I tried to get some people to calm down about the whole intimation thing in the locker room,” said Seabury’s leading scorer, Bill Gibbs, Tuesday night. “They see the roster heights, and everyone gets a little antsy.”
Seabury took the floor and dropped a 57-50 decision against University Academy on Tuesday at Seabury against a Gryphons team starting a frontcourt of players who stood 6-foot-8 and 6-4. University also brought a 6-6 forward off the bench.
Seabury, it should be noted, has just one player listed taller than 6-foot. That would be Reed Grabill, who stands 6-2.
Seabury coach Mike Harding tried countering with a 3-2 zone defensively to slow the Gryphons’ inside game. But that did little to keep University Academy out of the paint. Of the Gryphons’ 22 made field goals, 17 occurred just inches from the basket.
Those easy buckets did plenty to shake Seabury’s confidence offensively.
“The big thing is coming ready to play,” Harding said. “You can say you ready are until you’re blue in the face. But we looked like we were shell-shocked. Everybody. For some reason, we forgot the offense.”
Seabury (5-6) struggled, in part, because the Gryphons (14-5) blocked eight shots.
“It seemed like we were looking over our shoulder for that shot-blocker every time, and that threw a lot of shots off,” Harding said. “They really couldn’t come back after that.”
But the Seahawks did, in fact, stage a late charge after overcoming their initial anxiety.
Seabury stormed back from a 45-29 deficit with 46 seconds left in the third quarter, cutting the margin to 55-50 on two free throws from Seahawks forward Skyler Malone. Unfortunately for Seabury, that occurred with just 1:07 remaining in the contest, and Seabury never scored again.
Malone recorded his second consecutive double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Gibbs came off the bench for the first time Tuesday, the result of a missed practice earlier in the week. He responded by leading the Seahawks in scoring once again with 15 points on 7-for-16 shooting.
In his place, 5-8 freshman Kansas Fiori-Brown stepped in with the start, playing key minutes and causing defensive problems for the Gryphons’ ballhandlers. Both Fiori-Brown and Austin Barone, another freshman, helped bolster the Seahawks’ playing rotation to seven players.
“The reason they play so much as freshmen is because they hustle,” said Seabury guard Evan Sloan, who scored 14 points. “They just bring that spark that we need, and they brought it this game, too.”
Seabury will travel Thursday to take on Kansas School for the Deaf.