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The Seward County Lady Saints took care of business today against Labette behind a season high 18 points from freshman Rachel Barnes and 13 from LaNell Taylor. The Lady Saints led the Lady Cardinals 37-19 at half and never looked back eventually defeating the team from the Jayhawk East 71-55. The win brings the Lady Saints to 10-2 on the year as they prepare for a short break before heading to San Diego after Christmas for the San Diego Classic.
The Seward County Men’s Team ran up against their best competition of the year in perennial national power College of Southern Idaho. The Golden Eagles took a big lead early before the Saints bounced back and took a lead of their own late in the 1st half. After building that lead to 10 midway through the 2nd half CSI came thundering back on a big run to take a 4 point lead with just over 6 minutes to go. The Saints closed the gap but weren’t able to overtake the #18 team in the country late and lost 84-79. The Saints struggled from the free-throw line in the loss going just 12-23 and couldn’t find the bucket from outside either going just 3-15 from the three-point line. Latiq Agard continued his strong play for the Saints scoring 24 and grabbing 6 rebounds, both team highs. Marcus James and Tony Smith both threw in 15 a piece while Thijin Moses scored 14. The loss was the Saints first team of the year and sets the team at 13-1 going into the Christmas break. The team will have three weeks off before they open conference play against rival Hutchinson on January 3rd on the road.
Some may have thought that Seward County’s draw for the 2008 Jayhawk Shootout in Coffeyville was going to be a breeze. Friday they were set to matchup with Division II Johnson County before squaring off with Labette on Saturday, a team that the Saints already drilled by 30 earlier in the season. The weekend proved to be anything but as the Cavaliers from Johnson County showed that their #14 Division II ranking was no fluke coming back from a 7 point halftime deficit to tie the Saints at the end of regulation before Seward County took control in overtime to win the game 71-66. Marcus James picked a good time to have the breakout game of his early career for the Saints, scoring 24 points on 9 of 14 shooting while ripping down a team high 8 rebounds. “I feel like everything is starting to click with Marcus” coach Bryan Zollinger said. Along with James, Latiq Agard was the only other Saint in double figures with 19 points to compliment 5 big offensive rebounds. Seward County shot just 1 for 18 from the three point line in the contest and converted on just 36% of their shots overall. As typical for a Bryan Zollinger coached team however, the Saints defensive prowess led them to the win, holding Johnson to just 5 of 20 shooting in the first half and 38% overall.
Saturday brought the Labette Cardinals the Saints way. After the wakeup call on Friday night, and an early morning wakeup call Saturday, literally for the 11:00 a.m. start, the Saints controlled the whole contest against their Eastern division foe, and moved to 12-0 with a 100-76 win against Labette. The Cards did not go away as easy as they had in the Saints earlier matchup with them, keeping the game to a single digit lead at halftime and creeping to within four early in the second half. The Saints ran away late however with 59 second half points to hit the century mark late in the win. Latiq Agard continued his strong play inside for Seward County notching a team high 28 points on 10 of 14 shooting and collecting 10 rebounds. Thijin Moses knocked down 6 of 7 free throw attempts to help him on his way to 11 points to go along with his 7 rebounds. Jason Payton gave the Saints a lift off the bench, scoring a season high 10 points and dishing out 4 assists while collecting 4 rebounds.
Although the wins took Seward County to 12-0, coach Bryan Zollinger still isn’t overly impressed with his team’s performance on the weekend or thus far on the season saying “we might be 12-0 but we still aren’t playing up to our capabilities. We need to stop having lapses on both ends of the court and start being more consistent. If we can do that we are going to be pretty good but if we can’t figure that out pretty soon we are going to be in trouble.” The Saints will face Haskell Indian Nations JV team Friday night before their marquee matchup with #11 College of Southern Idaho on Saturday at 8:00 in the Greenhouse in the Pizza Hut Classic. Free Tickets are available at both Liberal Pizza Hut locations and from the Seward County Athletic Department.
Going into Friday’s game against 2-5 Johnson County, the #14 Seward County Lady Saints seemed to be a decisive favorite. As the old saying goes, that’s why they play the game. The Lady Cavs came out on fire against the Lady Saints, hitting 14 of their 27 first half shots including 5 of 11 three point tries. Facing a 37-26 halftime deficit, Seward County fans still felt that their Lady Saints would make a run and get back into the game. Unfortunately that never happened and the Lady Cavs extended their lead throughout the second half to come away with a shocking 81-54 win against the top 15 Lady Saints. Megan Lassley and Rachel Barnes were the only two Lady Saints to score more than 5 points in the game as Lassley connected on 3 of 6 three point tries en route to 15 points while Barnes chipped in for 10 on 4 of 9 shooting from the field.
With the upset of the weekend behind them, coach Toby Wynn’s Lady Saints struggled in the first half against a solid Labette team that came into the weekend 5-2, but still managed to take a 1 point lead into the locker rooms at half. Whatever the halftime talk was seemed to work at Seward County connected on 54% of their second half shots and held the Lady Cardinals to just 8 second half buckets to run away with the win 76-58. In a major contrast to Friday’s loss, five Lady Saints found their way into double digit scoring led by Vannessa Simmons who had 19 points and 6 steals while Vaneza Junior had a career high 13 points in the win. Rachel Barnes dominated the glass for the Lady Saints ripping down a career high 12 rebounds to go along with her 12 points and 4 steals.
Seward County will take their 8-2 record into a must see Friday night matchup with #15 Northeastern at 6:00 in the Greenhouse before facing Labette for the second time in a week Saturday night in the Pizza Hut Classic. Free Tickets are available at both Liberal Pizza Hut locations and from the Seward County Athletic Department.
The National Junior College Athletic Association has named Seward County C.C. Outside Hitter Jelena Simic a 2nd Team All-American for her performance this season. Simic becomes the 12th Lady Saint to be named an All-American in the last 12 seasons. Simic led the Lady Saints to a 36-16 overall record in 2008 including a 10-2 record in Jayhawk West Conference play. Simic adds the All-American award to her resume after being named Jayhawk West Conference Most Valuable Player, NJCAA Region VI Most Valuable Player, Jayhawk West 1st Team All-Conference, 1st Team All-NJCAA Region VI, and two time NJCAA Region VI Player of the Week after being named a 3rd Team Preseason All-American. She was the only player in the nation to top the 700 kill mark in 2008, finished 8th in the NJCAA with 4.27 kills per game, had 63 aces which was 19th most nationally, and was 31st in the country with 479 digs. Simic is the first player in Seward County school history to record over 1,000 digs as well as 1,000 kills. She leaves the Lady Saints with 1,004 digs (3rd all-time), 138 aces (4th all-time), and 1,380 kills (1st all-time).
After an absence of either team making it into the NJCAA top 25 poll last week despite hot starts, both Seward County women’s and men’s team found their way snugly into the nation’s best this week. Thanks to a 7-1 start and a quality win over 8-1 Cowley College, the Lady Saints come in at #14 this week after falling from that same spot just two weeks ago after week off. The Lady Saints have been led by their fearsome defense which is allowing just 48 points a game and is holding their opponents to just 32% shooting on the season. LaNell Taylor who has of late been coming off of the bench for Coach Toby Wynn and the Lady Saints, is leading the team in scoring at 12.4 points a game and has connected on 43% of her shots from three point land. Amanda Pierson and Vanessa Simmons have led the Seward County inside out attack as both are putting up over 10 points and 7 rebounds a contest. Coach Bryan Zollinger’s men’s team is finally getting a little bit of respect after their 3rd place national finish last season and a 10-0 start this season. The Saints find their way into the rankings at #20 this week after quality wins over New Mexico JC and Frank Phillips last weekend, teams who both were receiving votes towards the rankings prior to the weekend. The Saints hot start can be attributed to both their offense and defense, both of which are leading the entire Jayhawk Conference to this point. Latiq Agard sits atop the Saints scoring and rebounding categories at the 1/3 mark of the season averaging 21 points and 7 rebounds a game while point guard Tony Smith has connected on 48% of his chances from beyond the arc to help him average 15 points a game to go along with a team high 3 steals a game and 7 assists per contest.
Both teams are back in action with early starts both Friday and Saturday in Coffeyville for the Jayhawk Shootout where they will run with Johnson County Friday at 11:00 and 1:00 and will match up with the Cardinals from Labette on Saturday at 9:00 and 11:00.
This weekend at the Garden City Thanksgiving Classic, both the Seward County Saints and Lady Saints Basketball teams proved that they are for real in a season that may have started with question marks from outsiders. The Lady Saints kicked things off on Friday afternoon with a 50 point blowout win against a much improved Lamar C.C. team. The men’s team followed the Lady Saints by taking control early and never looking back in a 79-62 win against 8-1 Frank Phillips. Many people had November 29th circled on their calendar as a day to find out what both teams were made of and any doubters were quieted as the Lady Saints squared off in a game with 8-1 Cowley, and had the led the majority of the game and held off a late rally from the scrappy Tigers to win the inter-conference matchup 63-60. The Seward County men’s team had New Mexico J.C. slated for the afternoon affairs in a matchup that closely resembled the biblical story of David and Goliath with a Thunderbird team that had a frontline of 7’1, 7’0, and 6’10 while the Saints play a much smaller, quicker lineup with Thiago Oliveira in the middle at just 6’5. As the story goes, the Saints came out on top after a hard fought battle with the T-Birds winning the game 91-83.
La’Nell Taylor caught fire for the Lady Saints quickly after coming off the bench Friday afternoon and hit all six of her shots, including four three point baskets en route to a 16 point afternoon. Seward County had their best game inside the paint against Lamar with Nadia Rosario and Amanda Pierson combining to go 10 of 14 shooting for 23 points. Megan Lassley tied a career high with seven assists and connected on 50% of her shots for 11 points. Every Lady Saint played double digit minutes for coach Toby Wynn as they shot 53% while holding the ‘Lopes to 33% shooting from the field. The win took Seward County to 6-1 and into a much anticipated matchup against 8-1 Cowley College Saturday night. The two teams played a much slower game than the Lady Saints are used to with Cowley preferring to play a half court game and took away many of Seward County’s fast break opportunities. Seward took a 26-21 lead into the half against the beasts from the east and stretched the lead to as much as 11 with just over three minutes remaining in the 2nd half when the Tigers staged a furious comeback attempt. Thanks to the Lady Saints knocking down a season high 71% of their free-throws on the contest, they held a three point lead with seven seconds remaining when Cowley went the length of the court and handed the ball to their leading scorer Elena Yankova, who scored 20 points in last year’s Seward/Cowley Region VI Quarterfinal matchup, but Yankova was not able to connect on the buzzer beater and the Lady Saints moved to 7-1 with the 63-60 victory.
Next up for Coach Toby Wynn and his Lady Saints is this weekend’s Jayhawk Shootout in Coffeyville where the Lady Saints will have to rise and shine early for an 11:00 game Friday morning against Johnson County and a 9:00 a.m. game with Labette on Saturday.
The Saints men’s team was also primed for a weekend of tough competition. On the slate for Coach Bryan Zollinger’s Saints squad was the 8-1 Frank Phillips Plainsmen and the 10-1 New Mexico JC Thunderbirds. Seward County’s stifling defense once again rose to the occasion against a high flying, NBA style Frank Phillips offense and took a big 18-4 lead to start the game. The Plainsmen wouldn’t roll over on the reigning 3rd place national finishers however as they battled the Saints to a 46-31 Seward County lead into the locker rooms at half. Marcus James had his best game as a Saint Friday scoring 14 points and helped preserve the Saints double digit lead in the second half on way to a 79-62 victory. Latiq Agard had another strong game for the Saints scoring 18 points and pulling down eight rebounds. Jon Tassin hit two of three field goal attempts and knocked down six of eight free throws to register 11 points while Tony Smith led the Saints with five assists to go along with 13 points of his own. The win took the Saints into a battle with a New Mexico JC team who was hungry off of their first loss of the season Friday night. The Thunderbirds used an inside out attack and smooth shooting from 6’10 Brazilian Fabio Ribero to take an early lead. After a Seward County timeout, the Saints looked like a different team, moving the ball around and executing possessions on both ends of the court to take a 43-36 lead into halftime. The Saints pulled ahead and took a comfortable lead into the last few minutes of the game when New Mexico JC got hot again and poured in some late three pointers but Seward County capitalized on their late free-throw attempts, going 17 of 18 from the line in the 2nd half to come away with the 91-83 win. Six Saints scored in double figures in the contest including: Marcus James who set a new career high with 16, Latiq Agard who had 15, Marquez Patterson 14, Tony Smith 13, Thijin Moses 12, and Drew Jones 10. Thiago Oliveira played a key role in the Saints knocking off the much bigger T-Bird team snatching a team high eight rebounds.
The Saints will travel Eastward this weekend to play in the Jayhawk Shootout held in Coffeyville where they will play in a couple of matinee games starting with a 1:00 tilt with Johnson County on Friday followed by a 11:00 tip against Labette on Saturday.
The storied Seward County baseball team had added another name to their Division 1 transfer list. Sophomore lefthander Austin Terhune has signed on the dotted line to play at the University of New Mexico for the 2009-2010 baseball season. Terhune will join the Lobos next season after winning 6 games as a freshman in 08’ and slated to be one of the Saints top pitchers this season. Terhune finished the 08’ season for the Saints by winning 6 straight decisions and wound-up the teams ace at season’s end. Overall on the year Terhune recorded a 6-2 record including a save while posting a 2.70 ERA. He won both playoff starts he had for the Saints in 2008 and threw two complete game shutouts on the 2007-08 campaign. Terhune was an Honorable Mention All-Jayhawk West performer a year ago and was named the NJCAA Pitcher of the Week for the week of April 21-27 last season. Prior to joining the Saints in the fall of 2007 Terhune played for coach Bill Merrell at Perryton High School in Texas where he recorded a 38-10 career record and was twice a First Team All-District selection for the Rangers.
“I’m excited to play for coach Birmingham and UNM” Terhune said. “They do things the right way down there just like the way that we do them here. We are going to have a chance to win the Mountain West every year which would give us the chance to go to an NCAA Regional.” Terhune’s Head Coach at Seward County, Galen McSpadden, said of Austin, “He is a good kid and will be a good fit for Coach Birmingham and the University of New Mexico. Austin is a hard worker and is one of those guys that will go out there and throw you a ton of ground ball outs and will never stop competing.”

Terhune and the Saints will open their season February 13th in a home double-header with Western Nebraska Community College.