SENECA — The Seneca Indians head into the winter break with a 6-1 record and they do not return to action until Jan. 2 against Nevada.
“We couldn’t ask for a better start,” Seneca head coach Will King said. “To be sitting at 6-1. What a tough stretch after Christmas and every game in our conference is tough. There will be some more battles like that, maybe not double overtime, but there will be some battles. Our kids are playing with great confidence. We talked in the locker room, you know, we struggled the last few years and had several close games like this that we didn’t come out in the winning end a lot. Right now, it’s a different mindset and I think our kids expect to win.”
King credited Seneca’s much-improved football team under head coach Ryan McFarland for helping with the early success of the hoops team. A few of Seneca’s key basketball players were on that 9-2 football team.
“That confidence,” King said. “We’ve had good battles to start the year. That Carthage tournament was tough. We had a good third place finish there and then winning our tournament last week. We had some close games to win in that one. This game will probably be talked about all year, just because of the good environment, the double overtime, and the battle back-and-forth. It’s nice to come out with that win.”
Five of Seneca’s six wins have come against larger schools than the Class 3 Indians: two against Class 5 Neosho, one against Arkansas Class 7 Rogers, one against Class 4 Monett, and one against Oklahoma Class 4 Miami. Seneca’s only loss came against Class 5 Joplin in the semifinals of the Carthage Invitational.
The Indians have been a balanced team early in the season.
In the 75-74 double overtime win Friday over Neosho, four Seneca players scored in double figures and all six players who reached the scoring column had at least seven points.
Gavin Dunnam led the way with 20 points, then Gavin Clouse added 15, Brett Reeves 14, Preston Armstrong 10, Isaiah Grotjohn nine, and Cameron Brattin seven.
“You mentioned Gavin Dunnam,” King said. “He’s such a competitor and he’s a kid that’s started since he was a freshman. This year, he’s one of our leaders, he plays with a lot of confidence, and he’s a tough guard because he can score in multiple ways as he proved tonight.
“We talk about him, but I think the big reason where we’re at is that we have a team that plays together. We’ve got different guys that lead us every night. I wouldn’t say that we have a star player, a standout, but we have a lot of guys that do a lot of different things, which makes us tough.
“The defense has been tremendous to start the year. I’m not going to say it was tonight against Wise, but he hit tough shots and he’s a great player. Overall, through our first seven games, we’ve been strong in our team defense. Defense allows you to win.”
Seneca finished 9-18 overall last season and the Indians were 3-4 after their first seven games in late November and December.
Seneca’s football team improved six wins from the previous season and it looks like the basketball team will make a similar improvement this season.