Seneca's season ends in sectional round

Mar. 5—Seneca battled from behind for the majority of the game and its deficit was just a few points for most of the 32 minutes on Tuesday night at Seneca High School.

The Indians (20-9) ended up falling victim to Logan-Rogersville (26-3) in their Class 4 Sectional 6 matchup by a score of 64-51.

"They're a hard team to guard," Seneca head coach Cort Hardy said of Logan-Rogersville. "Point guard is really good. He's only a freshman, but he can play. He makes a lot of things happen. He's really smart. He sees the floor well, and I thought our guys did a pretty good job defensively. The ball just wasn't going in the hole very well.

"But they're a tough team to play against. They're long and athletic and kind of take you out of what you want to do."

The two teams were separated by 3-to-5 points for a good portion of the game. Every time Seneca tried to close the gap, Logan-Rogersville answered and held the advantage.

"We really just tried to focus on protecting the lane and trying to guard No. 2 (Zane Grotjohn) and No. 15 (Ethan Altic). Saying 'make the other guys take some shots,'" Logan-Rogersville head coach John Schaefer said. "We didn't rebound very well. Seneca kicked our tails on the boards."

Seneca did benefit from some key offensive rebounds to start the third quarter. The Indians trailed 31-25 coming out of halftime but got a 3-pointer from Grotjohn after an offensive rebound by the Indians kept the possession alive.

Scott Metz for the Wildcats made it 33-28. But Seneca again crashed the offensive glass and Blake Hurn went straight up and drew a foul. Both free throws went in to make it a 3-point difference again.

Stewart McDonald drew a foul on his drive for the Wildcats on the next possession and made good on his free shots to make it 35-30. Another missed shot and offensive rebound for the Indians resulted in a Gavyn Hoover basket to make it 35-32.

"They did a good job of taking away Zane (Grotjohn)," Hardy said. "He's a great shooter. When he's not able to stretch the floor for us we can struggle a little bit shooting-wise. They weren't letting us get to our low spots to score the ball."

The back-and-forth continued for two more possessions and after a Morgan Vaughn score on the interior, Schaefer took a timeout with 4:49 left in the period to talk things over with his bunch.

"I had five guys puking in the locker room before the game. I don't think we want to use that as an excuse but it did make a difference in the way we played," Schaefer said. "Our energy was pretty poor on defense."

After the timeout, the Wildcats got 5 quick points from freshman Chase Branham with a layup and a 3-pointer to make it 42-34.

It was 44-37 late in the quarter and Grotjohn fired up a triple from just beyond half court that nearly went in. As the ball rimmed out, Altic leaped up, caught the rebound above a Wildcat and put it back up and in before the buzzer sounded to make it 44-39 entering the fourth.

Logan-Rogersville scored the first 5 points and led 49-39 with 5:10 to play after Metz' two charities. Seneca got the next 5 as Vaughn scored on the interior and Grotjohn made a trey to make it 49-44 with four minutes left.

Hurn nearly intercepted a pass underneath the basket but wasn't able to corral it as the ball bounced off his hip and went out of bounds to stay with the Wildcats.

A lob on the inbounds play led to an easy score for Metz to make it 51-44 with 3:45 left to play. Logan-Rogersville outscored Seneca 13-7 the rest of the way.

Seneca did get it back down to 9 points with an old-fashioned 3-point play from Vaughn after he made a layup, got fouled and made the free throw.

At that point, the Indians had a chance to foul a young sophomore big man in Marcus Moore to try to send someone who hadn't scored much in the game on the free throw line. Moore caught a pass in the corner with less than two minutes left, but the Indians didn't get to him in time and instead fouled Branham. Branham made both to get the double-digit lead back.

"That's something we talked about. Who we wanted to foul in those situations when it got closer to that time," Hardy said. "We kind of lost focus at times and didn't realize we need to go foul those people. Ideally, that's what you like, but it didn't happen that way."

At that point of the game, Schaefer was potentially taking a risk by running two big men out there in Moore and Metz by sacrificing potential free throw shooters for rebounds, but it paid off as the Indians didn't get extra opportunities late in the game.

It looked like the Indians tried to foul Moore later in the game but didn't get the whistle and instead the Wildcats got a wide open layup to help seal the win.

Seneca was led by Vaughn's 20 points and Grotjohn added 11 behind the strength of his three triples.

Logan-Rogersville ended with three in double figures and was led by Branham's 19. Metz added 17 and Ross Lawrence chipped in 12 more.

The Wildcats have now won 14 straight games and haven't lost since Jan. 26.


The two teams were tied at 12 after Hurn buried a 3-point basket to tie the game for the Indians. But the Wildcats scored 8 of the game's next 10 points to make it 20-14.

Morgan Vaughn hit a 3-pointer to make it 20-17 and Seneca closed the quarter by stealing the ball away from Logan-Rogersville and missing a final heave at the buzzer.

The second quarter showed the Wildcats get up to an 8-point lead at 29-21. But late layups from Grotjohn and Hurn helped to only trail by 6 at halftime, 31-25.


Seneca finished with a 20-win campaign for the first time since the 2012-13 campaign. This was also the first back-to-back district championship seasons since the seasons ending in 2009 and 2010. The Indians also won the Big 8 conference this year — the first time in 12 years.

"This is a special group of kids," Hardy said. "They've been very successful in any sport they play. Football, basketball and track. 20 wins is hard to do. Especially at the Class 4 level and in the Big 8. These guys were challenged all year. ... Couldn't ask for a better group to coach and a better group to represent Seneca."