Last time the Seward County Lady Saints and the New Mexico JC Lady T-Birds hooked up it was a 25 point blowout win for the gals in green. Seward knew going into their 2009 Thanksgiving Classic in Garden City that this game against their opponents from Hobbs would be quite a bit different. The two teams played close in their first half with Seward opening a little bit of a cushion with 6 minutes left as Kendra Spresser picked off an errant T-Bird pass for a steal and score to put the Lady Saints up 7 at 26-19. Seward maintained the lead and took momentum into the half as they held a 39-29 lead and it looked as if maybe this game would resemble their opening weekend tilt the Lady Saints won 72-47. However, the halftime break served as a refresher for the Lady T-Birds and they came out in the 2nd half strong and midway through cut the Lady Saint lead to 55-52. That is when Seward decided that they had had enough of the close game and went on a 18-3 tear to go up 73-55 with a minute left before finishing the game off 73-60 at the final horn. All sounds well for Lady Saints fans until you look at the final numbers and find yourself scratching your head on how the final score ended up +13 in favor of Seward. New Mexico JC shot 62% from the field in the first half and 58% overall on the game compared to just 34% shooting from the victorious Lady Saints. Seward went 4-26 from the 3-point line, went just 4 for 14 in the second half shooting free-throws, and turned the ball over 21 times. They overcame those obstacles to get the win by outrebounding the Lady T-Birds 42-28 on the game including 24 offensive rebounds for Seward. In fact Seward made just 3 more field goals than the Lady T-Birds but took an astounding 36 more shot than New Mexico JC thanks to their work on the offensive glass. Another key stat was 34 New Mexico JC turnovers forced by the Lady Saints and 17 steals turning into a number of fast break opportunities for Seward.
Individually the Lady Saints were led by 12 points apiece for Kendra Spresser and Vaneza Junior while the duo also combined for 9 steals in the game. Rachel Barnes scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while Sheila Washington also picked up 10 rebounds to go along with her 6 points. Nadia Rosario put u p 10 points and 8 rebounds and Morgan Skomal went 3 for 5 in the contest good for 8 points and 3 offensive rebounds.
The stage was set for a much anticipated matchup between the Lady Saints and the 10th ranked Western Nebraska Lady Cougars on Saturday. Seward came into the matchup a perfect 7-0 while Western Nebraska entered 7-1 after having gone to 9 of the last 13 NJCAA National Tournaments. While the game matched two heavyweights in the Midwest, it also featured one of the biggest size discrepancies ever seen on the hardwood as 5’2 Megan Lassley of Seward would meet 6’7 Thais Pinto of Western Nebraska in the paint during the course of the game, a 17 inch height difference. The game tipped off and an aggressive Lady Saints defense would help them get out to a 19-12 early lead on the Cougars in the Perryman Center. Seward would build on their lead and take a 9 point, 40-31 lead into the locker room at half behind a team high 10 points from Vaneza Junior. The Lady Saints would keep their 9 point distance through the first 6 minutes of the 2nd half but felt that gap tighten in the next 6 minutes as Western Nebraska cut the lead to 3 at 50-47 with 8 minutes left in the half. Kendra Spresser would nail her 4th 3-pointer of the game to cap a mini Lady Saints run to put them up 7 at 56-49 but a bucket inside for Western later on would dice the lead to just one at 62-61 with 20 second left. After breaking the Western Nebraska press Seward was fouled and sent to the line where they missed the front end of a 1 and 1 to give the ball back to the Cougars. Western raced the ball up the court and got the ball down low to Pinto who shuffled her feet and was called for traveling as she set the ball into the basket which would have put Seward behind. On the inbounds the Lady Saints were again fouled and sent to the line with 8.9 second left, where for the second straight possession rimmed out a 1 and 1 where Western grabbed the rebound and pushed it up the court again. With 5 second on the clock, Western Nebraska’s leading scorer in the game, Amber Kistler, sized up an 18 footer but was rejected by a flying Nadia Rosario on her shot. As the ball hung in the air Seward players were unable to corral it and eventually it was tipped back out to Kistler who this time had a look from a few feet closer with no Lady Saint defenders in the area. As she put the ball up it was almost as if a Hollywood movie was being shot. The rambunctious crowd was silenced, everyone on the court was frozen, the ball hung in the air for what seemed like eternity before eventually coming down, touching every inch of the iron and rolling off to give the Lady Saints a 62-61 thrilling win over the Cougars.
Again the stat sheet seemed to favor Western Nebraska in nearly every category as they outshot (41/33%), outrebounded (52/38), piled up 22 offensive rebounds, and swatted away 13 Seward shots but the key element again for the Lady Saints was their pesky defense that forced 30 turnovers highlighted by 16 steals to help come away with the win. Seward was led offensively by Kendra Spresser who nailed 4 3-pointers and finished with a career high 19 points. Megan Lassley filled up the stat sheet in the win, flirting with a triple-double while scoring 9 points, grabbing 8 rebounds, and dishing out 7 assists in the game. Rachel Barnes struggled from the floor but still managed 8 points to go along with 11 rebounds and Vaneza Junior finished the game with 10 points and 3 steals. While her numbers in the box score might not draw your attention, Nadia Rosario came up big in this one for the Lady Saints when they needed her scoring 8 points, grabbing 5 rebounds, while also getting it done on the defensive side of the ball most of the game against Pinto, swatting away a career high 5 shots and also notched 4 steals in the win.
The victories push the Lady Saints up to 8-0 where they will sit when they take on their arch rivals and defending Region VI Champion Hutchinson Lady Blue Dragons who will also come into the Greenhouse undefeated at 8-0 Wednesday night. The game will start at 6:00 with free ticket available thanks to Wednesday’s buyout sponsor, The Bank of Beaver City. Those tickets can be picked up at any Bank of Beaver City location or on campus at SCCC/ATS in the Athletic Office, Wellness Center, Front Desk, or the Bookstore.

Seward County Lady Saints Basketball player Rachel Barnes has been named the NJCAA National Player of the Week for her performances in two Seward wins last week. The sophomore from Windsor, Connecticut averaged 21.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in Seward County wins over 7-2 Clarendon and 8-0 Frank Phillips. In Friday’s win over Clarendon, Barnes scored a career high 30 points and had 7 rebounds in just 23 minutes of play followed by a 23 point, 12 rebound, 6 assist effort against then undefeated Frank Phillips. Barnes will lead the Lady Saints into battle Wednesday against arch rival Hutchinson at 6:00 in the Greenhouse in Seward’s Jayhawk West Conference opener.
The Seward County Saints Basketball Team knew they were going to go up against some quality competition this weekend at the Western Texas Thanksgiving Classic but never did they think they would head back from the Lone Star State 0-2 on the weekend heading into this week’s Jayhawk West Conference opener.
Friday night the Saints had a date with the 10-1 Odessa Wranglers and for the first 32 minutes of the game the two teams were in a heated battle and the game up for grabs. Tied at 53 with just over 8 minutes remaining, the Saints were torched by the Wranglers to the tune of a 22-8 run to end the game and coincidentally dropped the contest 75-61. While outshooting Odessa in every facet of the game in the first half (49/40% FG, 80/39% 3pt, 56/43% FT), the Saints couldn’t buy a bucket in the game’s final 20 minutes going just 8 for 27 from the field and 1 for 8 from the 3-point line while being outscored by 13. With the offense sputtering, the Saints defense played relatively well in keeping them in the game until late, holding Odessa to just 33% shooting in the second half and 37% shooting for the game. If one glaring stat can be looked at as to where the game was won or lost, it has to point to a 55-28 rebounding advantage for Odessa including 23 offensive rebounds leading to 22 points compared to just 6 offensive rebounds and 5 second chance points for the Saints. Donte McCarter did his best to keep Seward in the game scoring a career high 33 points on 12 of 18 shooting while also pulling down a team high 7 rebounds in the defeat. Tony Smith was the only other Saint in double figures as he scored 12 and was second on the team with 6 rebounds. Outside of Smith, the other four Seward County starters in the game went just 3 for 20 (15%) in the contest scoring just 11 points after shooting 54% and scoring nearly 53 points a game in the Saints first seven games of the year.
The Saints wouldn’t have much time to lick their wounds as their road wouldn’t get any easier Saturday night as they ran up against a 9-1 Western Texas team on their home turf in Snyder. Seward again came out of the gates strong against the Westerner’s taking a 43-35 halftime lead behind a 45% shooting effort in the first half. The success wouldn’t continue in the 2nd 20 minutes of the game however as Seward lost their halftime lead with just over 7 minutes remaining and would never regain it again. The game would remain tight in the game’s final few minutes but the Saints were never able to get over the top of the hill after tying it several times. They would fall 77-73 in the contest after being outshot 50-32% in the second half to lose their halftime edge. Tony Smith led the Saints with 22 points and 9 rebounds in the loss while Marky Nolen played well scoring 17 and pulling down 8 rebounds.
The losses drop the Saints to 6-3 on the season as they look to right the ship in time for Wednesday’s Jayhawk West Conference opener against Hutchinson. The Saints will battle with the 9-0 10th ranked Blue Dragons at 8:00 Wednesday night as both look to grab an early hold on the top spot in the 2009-2010 race for the conference championship. Free tickets are available thanks to Wednesday’s buyout sponsor, The Bank of Beaver City. Those tickets can be picked up at any Bank of Beaver City location or on campus at SCCC/ATS in the Athletic Office, Wellness Center, Front Desk, or the Bookstore.

Two Seward County Lady Saints Tennis players found themselves ranked in the NJCAA’s top 40 this week as its annual ITA rankings were released. Fanny Benincasa was ranked the 10th best player in the country and the 2nd best player in the region after a stellar fall season while Ekaterina Gabashvili was ranked 37th in the nation and 5th in the region. The duo was also ranked as the 10th best doubles team in the nation and the top combo in Region VI. As a team the Lady Saints were tabbed 8th best and 2nd in the region coming off of yet another trip to the national tournament last season.
The Seward County Men’s team has been ranked 13th in the nation and 3rd in Region VI with a stable of solid players ready to get things going in the spring. Six Saints players found themselves ranked in the top 100 as Carlos Souza was Seward’s top ranked player at #40 while Fernando Soni followed shortly behind at #45. Christian Romanzini was tabbed 53rd best and Eduardo Munoz (75), Stefan Ignjatovic (79), and Levan Gabashvili (82) were also picked in the top 100. Two Seward doubles teams were voted in the top 40 as Soni and Souza were picked 32nd and Munoz and Romanzini were picked on their heels at 36th. Inside the region the Saints had six players picked in the top 20 with Souza, Soni, and Romanzini leading the pack at #7, #10, and #12 and Munoz, Ignjatovic, and Gabashvili filling in right behind them at #16, #17, and #18. The six were also noted in the region’s doubles rankings as Soni and Souza were picked 6th, Munoz and Romanzini 7th, and Ignjatovic and Gabashvili tabbed 9th.
The Seward County Men’s Basketball Teams high flying attack continued this weekend at the Greenhouse in the Billy’s/Days Inn Classic as the Saints put up 118 points Friday night in a blowout win over Clarendon followed by a 90-87 nail biter against Redlands to wrap up the tournament Saturday evening in front of their home crowd.
Friday night Seward County took on a Clarendon team that was averaging over 120 points a game on the early season and came into the weekend with a 6-2 record. But… this wasn’t another JV team on the Bulldogs schedule, it was a Saints team coming off of their only loss of the season and hungry for their 5th win. After trading three-pointers in the first minute of the game, Seward would open up a 13 point lead just five minutes in with a backdoor layup from Robert Sigala on a nice feed from Tony Smith to put the Saints up 20-7. Victor Martinez would drop home two three’s in just 17 seconds for the Bulldogs to get them back to within seven but a pair of strong moves inside from Latiq Agard would push the Seward lead back to 11 at 29-18. Marky Nolen would give the Saint their largest lead of the game at 15 on a score inside with 6:30 remaining in the first half but 7 straight points from Clarendon would slice the lead nearly in half as Seward found themselves up just eight with five minutes left in the first period. The Saints however would end the half on a 15-4 run and take a 19 point lead to the half at 62-43 behind a 19 point, 8 assist half from point guard Tony Smith. The second half was all Seward as the Saints shot 63% and held Clarendon to just 26% shooting as they opened up as large as a 41 point advantage midway through on the back end of a 16-0 Seward run. Kevin Livingston capped off a 118 point night for the Saints with an assist to Alex Sturanovic and then a bucket of his own from Nolen as the Saints went on to win 118-79 in front of an impressed home crowd in the Greenhouse. Seward would finish the night shooting 67% as a team compared to just 33% shooting from Clarendon. Another key to victory for the Saints was a 57-19 rebounding advantage over a much smaller Bulldog team.
Marky Nolen finished with a game high 27 points on 11 of 11 shooting as well as pulling down a game high 10 rebounds in the win. Tony Smith ended the night 8 of 11 shooting for 21 points as well as handing out a season high 13 assists in the contest. Latiq Agard had 20 points and 7 rebounds while Marcus James had 13 and 7 in the game. Jon Tassin had 7 points and 7 rebounds and Alex Sturanovic played his best game as a Saint with 11 points and 6 rebounds in the win.
Saturday night Seward had a date with a scrappy Redlands team that would turn out to be the Saints closest game of the year so far. Early on the two teams went tit for tat and five minutes in were tied at 8. A hi-lo feed from Latiq Agard to Marcus James would put Seward up 13-8 moments later but a 15-1 Redlands run in the next two minutes would put Seward in a 23-14 hole with 10 minutes left in the half. A pair of three-pointers from Robert Sigala and Donte McCarter followed by an old fashioned three-point play by Agard would knot the game up at 27 two minutes later as both teams looked to gain the upper hand. Seward would close the half on a 28-13 run to open up a 15 point lead behind strong play inside from Agard and Marky Nolen, as well as a slew of free throws knocked down by McCarter. The Saints 55-40 halftime lead could be linked to a 63% shooting half and just 3 missed free throws in 16 attempts by the guys in green, good for an 81% clip.
Just when Saints fans got comfortable in their seats with the 15 point lead, the Cougars decided that they weren’t ready to travel back to El Reno just yet as they opened the half on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to just 6 and held Seward County without a basket for the first 5 minutes of the half. Later on Seward built their lead back up to 11 with consecutive three’s from Donte McCarter and Spencer Moore but the cushion didn’t last long and Redlands’ Bilal Kelley made it just a two point game with 8:46 left at 69-67. The game would remain tight through the next few minutes but McCarter and Marky Nolen would score on back to back trips down the court for the Saints to give them a 9 point lead with just four minutes left, a lead most felt would be safe with the Saints attacking defense. Wrong they were however as six Cougar made free throws inside two minutes would cut the lead to two at 89-87 and a foul would send Robert Sigala to the line for the Saints with just five seconds remaining with the ability to finish the game with a pair of makes. Sigala missed the first attempt but made the second to give Seward a three point lead but still in jeopardy as Redlands had a chance to tie the game as time ran out but a Kevin Rolland three rimmed out to give the Saints a 90-87 win in a thriller from the Greenhouse.
In the Saints win they were led by 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists off the bench from Donte McCarter and yet another strong game from Marky Nolen inside with 17 points and 10 rebounds on the night. Latiq Agard finished with 17 points and 6 rebounds and Robert Sigala finished with 8 points and 6 rebounds in the contest.
The two wins push Seward to a 6-1 mark on the season as they head into their Thanksgiving Tournament this weekend in Odessa. They will take on the 8-1 host Wranglers Friday night before matching up with 8-1 Western Texas Saturday afternoon.

Most teams would be satisfied with just being 4-0 in the early part of an NJCAA basketball season but not the Seward County Lady Saints. After not playing at the top of their game last week in a trip to Oklahoma, the Lady Saints were ready to show what they were truly made of this weekend at the Billy’s/Days Inn Classic against a pair of formidable foes in Clarendon and Frank Phillips. After a pair of blowout wins, Lady Saints fans should know just what they have, a team that is clicking on all cylinders offensively rolling into conference play in just a week and a half.
Friday the Lady Saints matched up with Clarendon, a 7-2 team coming into the classic averaging over 100 points per game. Knowing coming in of the Lady Bulldogs interesting substitution approach to the game, three groups of five players playing one minute each in rotations, the Lady Saints put together a game plan of giving the Clarendon squad a dose of their own medicine by playing at a frantic pace for 40 straight minutes. The strategy paid off as Seward would score the games first six points and never trail in the affair. Just seven minutes into the game the Lady Saints had already built a 20 point lead at 30-10 and later on in the first half pushed that lead all the way up to 38 with a layup from Vaneza Junior on a dish from Tameka Sanchez. Seward led 67-32 at the break thanks in part to 24 Clarendon turnovers and a 31-12 rebounding edge in the first 20 minutes of play. Rachel Barnes had 17 first half points to pace the Lady Saints attack that shot 54% in the half, most of which coming on transition layups in odd man rushes after Seward had broken the Clarendon press that didn’t cause much of a problem for the home team.
Barnes would come out in the second half as hot as she ended the first half scoring 8 points in the first minute and a half of the second, giving the Lady Saints a 40 point advantage at 76-36. A Morgan Skomal bucket with 11:46 left in the half increased the Seward lead to its largest of the game at 47, 94-47. Seward hit the century mark with over eight minutes remaining in the game on a free-throw by Barnes and later the Lady Saints sophomore star headed to the line for a pair of free-throws sitting tied with her career high of 29 points. After missing the first attempt and a sub waiting at the table for her, Barnes sunk the second of the two attempts to give her her first 30 point game of her career with the Lady Saints. Liz Ginther would give Seward a 50 point lead with a minute left in the game and her two free throws with 30 seconds left sealed the Bulldogs fate and gave the Lady Saints a 119-70 win as the final horn sounded.
Rachel Barnes finished the evening with those 30 points to go along with 7 rebounds which led a group of six Lady Saints that reached double figures in Seward’s highest offensive output of the year. Nadia Rosario scored her career high 17 points on 8 of 13 shooting and also pulled down 8 rebounds in the win. The third Lady Saint to record a career high in the ballgame was Sheila Washington who notched 12 points to compliment a team high 7 assists on the night. Vaneza Junior had a nice night scoring 15 points on 6 of 10 shooting and Kendra Spresser chipped in 13 points and a team high 11 rebounds in the game. Freshman Morgan Skomal and Sumr Robinett continue to put together solid effort for coach Wynn and the Lady Saints as the two combined for 19 points and 13 rebounds in the contest.
With their win over Clarendon and Frank Phillips easy win over Pratt, the showdown was set between the Lady Saints and Lady Plainsmen as both would enter Saturday nights primetime contest with undefeated records but there was only room for one to leave the Greenhouse with one after the night was done. The two teams went back and forth early in a less than cleanly played first half, and Seward found themselves up just 1 five minutes in after a three-pointer from Donmique Woods made it 10-9 Seward with 15 minutes left in the first half. A 7-0 run from Seward capped by a steal and score from Megan Lassley would put the gals in green up 17-9 but just moments later Frank Phillips would score three straight baskets to retake the lead at 23-21. With the score tied at 23, back to back three-pointers from Barnes and Lassley would give Seward a 29-23 lead and as the half came to an end the scoreboard would read 37-30 in favor of the Lady Saints as the teams headed to the locker room. The two teams would combined for 30 turnovers in the half that saw 4 tied and 6 lead changes.
The second half was a much different story as Seward would score 11 of the first 12 points of the half to open up a 17 point lead while not allowing a Frank Phillips field goal for nearly the first four minutes of the frame. The Lady Plainsmen would get to within 10 but would get no closer as Seward blew the game open late and went on to win by a final score of 80-56 in a game closed by the exact same thing as the Lady Saints Friday win, a pair of Liz Ginther free throws with under 30 seconds remaining. Seward shot 46% as a team in the second half and capitalized on 16 of 25 free throw attempts to set up the final 24 point winning margin.
Rachel Barnes had a game high 23 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists in the win for Seward while Megan Lassley turned in a nice game as well with 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists for the Lady Saints. Vaneza Junior had her second straight strong effort in the victory going 6 of 9 while racking up 17 points and 3 assists.
The pair of wins moves Seward County to 6-0 on the season as they head into this weekend’s Thanksgiving Classic in Garden City where they will take on New Mexico JC for the second time this season on Friday as well as Western Nebraska CC who is ranked 8th in the latest NJCAA polls on Saturday. Both games will be played at 1:30 in the Perryman Center and will be available on talk radio 1270 and online at

Wednesday two Seward County Baseball players continued a long standing tradition of signing at major Division 1 programs as shortstop Kelby Tomlinson and pitcher Hayden Holub signed their national letters of intent to play for Head Coach Dan Spencer and the Texas Tech Red Raiders next season. In a teleconference phone call with coach Spencer, the Red Raider skipper raved about the Seward County program and the type of players that Head Coach Galen McSpadden puts out. “We hope to continue this relationship with Seward County because they always put out quality young men and solid baseball players that are ready to play at this level when we get them” Spencer said. The Red Raiders coach then went on to talk about what he felt like he was getting with the two and said of Holub, “with Hayden we are getting a kid who has a plus breaking ball in his slider and is developing a cutter that can be very tough on both right and left-handed hitters. He is going to have a chance to come in here and pitch late in games for us and give us a look that we haven’t had in the past couple of years.” He then went on to talk about what caught his eye about Tomlinson in his visits to Liberal this fall. “I came up one day and watched batting practice, then in and out, and then 23 innings of a scrimmage and I don’t think I ever saw Kelby drop a ball or make a throw anywhere but right on line. He is exactly what we are looking for in a shortstop being a guy that is defense first and then gives you some other tools like his speed and ability to put the ball in play to help your team win ballgames” he said.
Tomlinson played in 40 games as a freshman for the Saints last season hitting .274 and driving in 15 runs. He finished the season making just 8 errors defensively and showed good plate discipline as one of only two Seward players to finish the season with more walks than strikeouts on the campaign. Holub threw in 13 ballgames for the Saints in 09 recording a 2-0 record in 17 innings of work. He struck out 16 hitters in those 17 innings and allowed just 18 hits. “Both of these guys are extremely hard workers and are going to do whatever it takes to get better” Seward County Head Coach Galen McSpadden said. “Kelby has improved quite a bit at the plate from last season and has a chance to be one of the better defensive shortstops that we have ever had here at Seward County before all is said and done” he continued. “Hayden has turned the corner on his development and should really help us out on the mound this season. His fastball command is a work in progress and improving on a daily basis and his slider continues to be a pro baseball quality pitch right now” McSpadden said about his right-hander.
Both players said that the small-town feel of Lubbock and the praise of the Texas Tech baseball program and school from former Saint and current Texas Tech pitcher Bobby Doran swayed their decision towards the Red Raiders. Holub said when asked what was the biggest thing that pushed him to deciding on Tech, “it just felt like the right place for me to be. Their workout programs, their baseball program, the school, everything just pointed me to being a Red Raider.” He chose Tech over Saint Louis University and the University of Dayton. Tomlinson said “growing up in the Midwest all see on TV and all you hear about is the Big 12. To have a chance to play in one of the best baseball conferences in the country for a team that I have grown up watching is really fulfilling for me.” The Saints shortstop decided on Texas Tech over fellow Big 12 school Kansas State.
Tomlinson and Holub will lead their Saints onto the field less than 3 months from now when they host Northeastern JC at Brent Gould Field on opening weekend February 13-14 for a four game set with the Plainsmen.
Seward County Lady Saints middle hitter LaKendra Sanders has made her college choice and Southwestern Oklahoma State University will get the services of the 6’0 sophomore next season as she signed her National Letter of Intent today to join the Bulldogs. Sanders played two solid seasons for the Lady Saints, being named 2nd Team All-Region in both campaigns. She leaves Seward County as one of the top blockers in school history, registering 289 blocks in her two seasons, good for 5th all-time. Her 620 career kills put her in the top 15 and a 69 point jump in her hitting percentage from her freshman to her sophomore year is one of the finest improvements in school history. “LaKendra will be missed in the middle next season” Seward Head Coach Bert Luallen said. “She came in right away as a freshman last season and made an impact and was one of the more dominating players in the conference this season when she was at the top of her game” he continued. Sanders was the kind of player that stepped up for the Lady Saints in big situations registering her 5 highest kill totals of her career in matches against the NJCAA top 20 or in the Region VI Tournament. When asked why she chose SWOSU Sanders said, “I really like their Pharmaceutical program and if I play well then I should get the chance to see a lot of time on the court in the next two seasons.” Sanders will hope to start her SWOSU career next fall how she ended her Seward County career as the sophomore pounded out back to back 15 kill matches for the Lady Saints in the Region VI Tournament.
Offense was in the air for the 2009 College of Southern Idaho Invitational in Twin Falls this weekend and the Seward County Saints offense was right in the middle of the action. On Thursday against the Pro Look All-Stars the Saints scorched the nets for a season high 119 points on 53% shooting from the floor, followed by a 109 point performance against Westchester (NY), and finished the weekend with a 92 point effort against perennial power CSI on their home court.
Seward found themselves in a barn-burner of sorts Thursday against the Pro Look All-Stars as 21 first half buckets would give them a 54-40 lead at the break. In the second half both teams remained hot and again put up unbelievable numbers as the two combined for 114 second half points, 65 of those going the Saints way in the 119-89 victory. Seward had six players score in double figures on the night but 15 three-pointers kept Pro Look hanging around throughout. Latiq Agard was on fire for Seward in the win going 14 of 17 from the field good for 28 points while also finishing the game with 8 rebounds and 4 steals. Marcus James also played big for the Saints inside scoring 20 points and pulling down a team high 10 rebounds, 7 of them on the offensive glass. Donte McCarter had 15 points and 6 assists and Tony Smith put up 14 and 5 in the Seward victory.
Friday night pitted the Saints against Westchester College from New York in another high scoring battle that would go Seward’s way. The Saints would come out of the gates hot in the Friday evening matinee as they shot nearly 60% on their way to 61 first half points and a 20 point 61-41 lead at the break. They wouldn’t cool off in the locker room at half unfortunately for the Vikings as they would come out in the second half to shoot 57% and stretching their lead out to 27 points at game’s end. Tony Smith’s triple-double would pace the Saints 109-82 win as the sophomore scored a team high 20 points, dished out a team high 10 assists, and pulled down a team high 10 rebounds in the victory. Latiq Agard matched Smith’s 20 points on 8 of 12 shooting and also grabbed 7 rebounds while Donte McCarter scored 18 behind a quartet of triples to help the Saints charge. Marcus James and Jon Tassin had 15 and 14 points respectively and Robert Sigala and Alex Sturanovic were able to chip in on the glass with 6 rebounds apiece.
With both teams 2-0 the showdown was set. The Saints and the Golden Eagles of CSI were set to do battle on center stage in front of a packed house in the marquee Saturday night matchup. Robert Sigala would score the games first basket to put Seward up 2-0 and after a three-pointer from CSI’s Charles Odom the game would be delayed nearly 5 minutes after fans showered the court with toilet paper as part of their “whiteout” festivities. Once the action returned Sigala would continue his strong play putting Seward up 4 shortly after and then up 8 with a pair of free-throws two minutes in. Seward would hold the lead for the first 7 minutes of the game but CSI chipped away at that 8 point lead and erased it with 12:42 remaining in the first half on an old fashioned three-point play by the Golden Eagles’ Carrick Felix to put them up 21-19. The Saints would go back up one 27-26 with 9:30 left in half number one but a rash of fouls would put CSI to the line 23 times in the first half on 20 Seward County fouls to put them behind by three at halftime 48-45. At half the Saints would find themselves in major foul trouble with 5 players with 2 fouls and 3 players with 3 causing Seward to play a little more leniently on the defensive end when the second half whistle would blow.
The teams would go back and forth to start the second half and Seward would regain the lead with just under 17 minutes remaining on a steal and score from guard Robert Sigala. The Saints would stretch the lead to 4 on a jumper by Latiq Agard and after trading the lead with the Eagles would go up 3 with just 11 minutes remaining on a 10 footer by Marcus James to make it 67-64. CSI retook the lead and would lead by 2 as back to back whistles would give the Saints point guard Tony Smith his 3rd and 4th and then a phantom 5th foul call that nobody at the scorer’s table was able to explain, except for it was in the book that way, to disqualify him from the game. A review of the game tape clearly showed that Smith had only been whistled for four fouls but nevertheless he had to sit for the game’s final 9 minutes and the Saints were never able to regain their footing after that. Agard was able to cut the lead to one at 76-75 with 6 minutes left but it was all CSI from there as the Golden Eagles would stretch the lead up to as many as 10 before eventually salting the game away late by 7 99-92.
Three Saints starters fouled out of the contest as Tony Smith would leave with a very nice game going scoring 17 points and grabbing 7 rebounds while Marcus James would exit with 9 points and 7 rebounds and Robert Sigala with 13 and 5. Latiq Agard paced the way for the Saints scoring 23 points on 8 of 15 shooting despite battling foul trouble throughout the game. Jon Tassin led the Saints in rebounding with 9 as well as scoring 14 points on the night. CSI capitalized on 49 free-throw attempts, making 36 of them to outscore Seward by 7 at the line, the eventual margin in the contest. At the conclusion of the tournament Latiq Agard and Tony Smith were named to the All-Tournament Team while CSI’s Romario Souza was named the MVP.
The Saints will return to action Friday in The Dock @ Billy’s/Days Inn Classic where they will host Clarendon Friday night before matching up with Redlands on Saturday night at 8:00. Free tickets for the tournament are available at Billy’s BBQ, Days Inn, Hutch’s, Jeff Harding State Farm Insurance, Pizza Hut, and KSCB.
The Seward County Lady Saints Basketball team moved to 4-0 on the season this weekend with a pair of wins against University JV teams in Oklahoma. Thursday Seward easily handled NAIA powerhouse Oklahoma Baptist University’s JV squad 74-31 behind a career high 14 points from Liz Ginther. Seward jumped out to a 35-13 halftime lead on the Bison by going 14 for 32 from the field and holding OBU to just 4 first half field goals. The second half was much of the same as the Lady Saints hit 44% of their shots including 7 three-point baskets and allowed just 5 Bison shots to find the bottom of the net to sail to the 74-31 win. In the victory Megan Lassley went 6 for 12 from the floor, good for 13 points to go along with a team high 4 assists and 5 steals while Kendra Spresser also found her way into double digit scoring with 11. Although she didn’t score in the game Morgan Skomal gave Toby Wynn 25 solid minutes of work grabbing a career high 10 rebounds and Nadia Rosario chipped in 7 points and had a team high 11 rebounds on the night. Sumr Robinett went 3 for 4 from the field to score 9 points in the contest and matched those 9 points with a season high 9 rebounds for the game.
Friday night the Lady Saints traveled to Oklahoma City where they had a date with OCU’s JV squad at 6:00. Seward received their first test of the year against the Stars as OCU handled the Lady Saints in the first half and the gals in green found themselves down 37-34 at halftime, the first time they had trailed all year. Seward was lucky to be down just three however as they shot 29% from the field while OCU hit 14 of 33, good for 42% on the half. A stingier ‘d’ allowed just 11 2nd half field goals to the Stars while Seward knocked down 17 and hit 10 of 12 free throws down the stretch to come away with a four point win 80-76 when the final horn sounded. Four Lady Saints reached double figures in the ball game including a team high 15 from Vaneza Junior, 14 from Morgan Skomal and Rachel Barnes, and 13 from Megan Lassley for the second straight night. Lassley didn’t shoot extremely well from the floor in the game going just 1 for 8 but made 10 of 12 free throw attempts and dished out a team high 6 assists to help Seward to the win. One key to victory for Seward was a 45-34 rebounding margin including 17 on the offensive end led by Skomal’s 8 total boards and 7 each from Barnes and Sheila Washington.
The Lady Saints are now 4-0 on the season and should get tested a little bit more this weekend in the Billy’s/Days Inn Classic in the Greenhouse where they will take on high flying Clarendon Friday night at 6:00 followed by a matchup with Frank Phillips Saturday night at the same time. Free tickets for all games this weekend are available at Billy’s BBQ and the Dock, Jerry Harding’s State Farm Insurance, KSCB/The Legend, Pizza Hut, Days Inn, and Hutch’s.
The Seward County Lady Saints Basketball team opened their season this weekend in front of a packed house in the Greenhouse on hand to watch the 2009 Pepsi Classic and didn’t disappoint the home folks cheering them on to start another successful season. In their first matchup of the weekend the Lady Saints knocked off fellow Jayhawk member Hesston 72-38 before taking down New Mexico JC 72-47 Saturday night to finish up their perfect 2-0 weekend.
Seward pounced all over the visiting Larks and got out to a 10-0 lead on Rachel Barnes third bucket of the games first three minutes. Hesston finally found the bottom of the net 3 and a half minutes in but their glory was short lived as Seward jumped out to a 27-3 advantage after consecutive field goals from Vaneza Junior, Rachel Barnes, and Megan Lassley. Hesston would inch closer as the first half came to a close but the scoreboard still read 41-19 in favor of the Lady Saints as the horn sounded and the teams went into the locker room. The second half was more of the same as the Lady Saints would open the period on a 26-9 run to take their largest lead of the night at 67-28 and would eventually hold the 72-38 advantage as time expired.
Rachel Barnes led the Lady Saints with 21 points while Megan Lassley chipped in with 12. Freshman Kendra Spresser and Morgan Skomal started their Seward County careers with nice nights as Spresser scored 7 to go along with 4 rebounds and 4 assists while Skomal scored 7 and pulled down 5 rebounds. Vaneza Junior led a Seward County defensive attack that forced 39 Lark turnovers as she notched 5 steals and Nadia Rosario and Sumr Robinett led the Lady Saints with 6 rebounds apiece.
On paper, Saturday night’s contest with 3-1 New Mexico JC should have been a little more of a contest but the Lady Saints showed early that they weren’t going to let that happen. The first play of the game would have insight on how the whole night would go for both teams as Rachel Barnes drove through the lane, scored the bucket, and was fouled where she went to the line to finish her three-point play to give Seward an early 3-0 advantage. The rest of the half would belong to Barnes. The Seward County sophomore nearly outscored the entire Lady T-Bird team herself in the first 20 minutes as the gals in green led 43-28 at the break behind 21 from Barnes. Sumr Robinett would give the Lady Saints their first 20 point lead of the evening after sinking a free-throw 2 minutes into the second frame and Vaneza Junior would later help extend that lead up to 28 on a dish from point guard Megan Lassley. Seward would slow down their assault after taking a 30 point lead with 5 minutes remaining in the half and would eventually win 72-47 to move to 2-0.
Rachel Barnes was again the story for the Lady Saints scoring 28 and pulling down 13 rebounds, while guards Vaneza Junior and Kendra Spresser both reached double-digits with 10 points each. Sheila Washington finished 2nd on the team with 8 rebounds and Megan Lassley dished out 4 assists in the game.
The wins push Seward out to a 2-0 start to the 2009-2010 season as they go into a pair of games this week against JV teams from the Sooner State on Thursday and Friday. The Lady Saints will face Oklahoma Baptist University JV Thursday in a game that was originally scheduled for Saturday in Shawnee and will take on Oklahoma City University JV Friday night at 7:00. The Lady Saints return to the Greenhouse November 20th and 21st for the 1st annual Billy’s BBQ/Day’s Inn Classic where they will take on Clarendon and Frank Phillips.
A bit of good news came to the Seward County Volleyball Team Sunday evening as the Jayhawk West All-Conference Teams were announced. Four Lady Saints were named to the list including Freshman of the Year Sheina Fernandes, as well as Head Coach Bert Luallen receiving Coach of the Year honors.
Diana Castrillon and Sheina Fernandes were named to the 1st Team All-KJCCC list and LaKendra Sanders and Lindsey Miller were named 2nd Team All-Conference. Castrillon, a sophomore from Segovia, Colombia led the Lady Saints with 310 kills and 63 aces on the season while finishing 3rd on the team in digs with 359 and blocks with 51. Fernandes earned Jayhawk West Freshman of the Year honors after leading the Lady Saints with a .326 hitting percentage on the season and leading the gals in green with 140 blocks on the year. Sanders finds her way onto the 2nd Team All-Conference list for the second straight season after finishing third on the team behind Castrillon and Fernandes with 265 kills and finishing 2nd on the squad with a .309 hitting percentage and 108 blocks on the campaign. Miller is also a repeat member of the group after a solid all-around season for the Lady Saints. She was second on the team with 416 digs and finished in the top four in kills (248), aces (33), and passing % (.924). Luallen receives the Coach of the Year award for the first time in his Seward County career after leading the Lady Saints to an 11-1 conference record this season and climbing them to as high as #9 at one point in the NJCAA polls.

Coach of the Year: Bert Luallen (Seward County)
Player of the Year: Debbie Ohl (Hutchinson)
Freshman of the Year: Sheina Fernandes (Seward County)
1st Team
Debbie Ohl (Hutchinson), Diana Castrillon (Seward County), Mengya Wang (Barton County), Katerin Trejos (Pratt), Sheina Fernandes (Seward County), Karol Marins (Hutchinson)
2nd Team
Kate Morrell (Hutchinson), LaKendra Sanders (Seward County), Kalie Mader (Pratt), Xuemei Zhang (Barton County), Tatiana Gonzalez (Pratt), Bailea Phelan (Hutchinson), Laura Macek (Barton County), Lindsey Miller (Seward County)
Coming into the 2009-2010 season the Seward County Saints Basketball team has a lot of expectations. This weekend at the Greenhouse, Saints fans found out why with two high flying wins over solid competition at the 2009 Pepsi Classic over the Colorado Kings and Hesston.
Not many knew what to expect when a team with a name that looked more like a hockey teams name came up on the 2009-2010 Seward County Men’s Basketball schedule. But, the Colorado Kings showed that they were no joke at all giving the Seward County Saints team, ranked as high as #5 in some national publications, all they could handle Friday night in the Greenhouse. The two teams went back and forth early and Seward led by just two 3 and a half minutes in after a finish down low from Latiq Agard to put the Saints up 10-8. A quick 6-0 run for the Kings gave them a four point cushion but Marcus James would erase that a short time later with a bucket to tie the game at 19 with 12 minutes to go in the first half. Later on in the first half Seward would be held without a field goal for nearly 5 minutes in which time the Kings decided to go on a 13-2 run and open up their biggest lead of the half at 36-28 with just under two minutes remaining. Tony Smith was able to roll one home with just under a minute left in the first but as the first half buzzer sounded the Saints found themselves in a 36-30 hole at home in the Greenhouse.
Seward opened the first three minutes of the second half by outscoring the Kings 14-6 to take a two point lead that they would never give back on the night. After stretching the lead to 6 Shaun Green was able to score on back to back possessions for the Kings to cut the lead to 2 but five points from Marky Nolen in the next two minutes would stretch the Saints advantage back out to 7 at 60-53. A short time later the Saints would extend the lead up to 13 on buckets from Robert Sigala, Donte McCarter, and Marcus James and the teams would play even through the game’s final 7 minutes as two Jon Tassin scores in the final minute would put the cap on a 86-73 win for the Saints.
Five Saints reached double figures on the night including 20 each from Marcus James and Tony Smith and 14 from wingman Jon Tassin. Smith’s night didn’t only include scoring however as the pre-season All-American pick dialed up 10 assists and 7 rebounds to go along with those 20 points in the win. Latiq Agard and Marky Nolen hooked up for a solid night down low for the Saints as the pair combined for 23 points, 14 rebounds, and 8 steals in the Saints victory.
The Saints knew they couldn’t overlook a pesky Hesston team in their Saturday night matchup in the Greenhouse as the Larks played defending Jayhawk West Champions Barton to just eight points a night earlier. Unfortunately for the Larks, Seward came out to play, and play they did stacking up a double digit lead halfway through the first half and never looking back. Hesston kept it close early on but a 6-0 Seward run would push the lead to 16-7 six minutes into the game. The Saints would hit that 10 point lead as Donte McCarter slashed to the rim for two and would go up 16 a short time later on a Latiq Agard finish off the hands of Robert Sigala. Both teams would end the half shooting 50% from the floor but sadly for the Larks, the Saints got up 32 shots to their 18 as Seward lead 44-30 at the break. In the second half Tony Smith would splash down a three-pointer to but Seward up 20 with 11 minutes to go and later on Jon Tassin would score to put the home team up 24 at 76-52 with just under 6 minutes left to play. The Saints would give up a couple of buckets late to lose their 20 point lead but another mid 80’s offensive performance would give Seward the 85-67 win as time expired in the second half.
Coach Bryan Zollinger’s squad showed their depth in this one as 6 Saints reached double figures, not including Friday nights star Tony Smith. Latiq Agard quieted some spectators skeptical about his repaired right knee with a typical Agard night scoring 25 points on 11 of 19 shooting to go along with 5 rebounds on the night. Donte McCarter scored 12 points and Jon Tassin scored 11 while Marcus James, Robert Sigala, and Marky Nolen scored 10 each. Nolen led the Saints with 7 rebounds while James pulled down 6 and Sigala and Smith led the team with 5 assists apiece.
After the 2-0 weekend the Saints will quickly have to refocus as their schedule this week will see them head to the College of Southern Idaho for a three game tournament Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Twin, Falls. Seward returns home November 20th and 21st in the Billy’s BBQ/Day’s Inn Classic where they will welcome Clarendon and Redlands to the Greenhouse.
The Seward County Lady Saints Volleyball team dominated their Jayhawk West competition this season en route to an 11-1 record and an outright conference championship. They lost just 7 sets all season to conference opponents and yet Saturday, going into the tournament as the #1 seed, they lost 6 and went home in 4th place.
Here is was in front of them, the Seward County Lady Saints entered the Region VI Tournament as the top seeded team, the only team that didn’t have to play on Friday due to a first round bye and a second round Barton opponent that the Lady Saints had handled twice relatively easily during the season. To say the least, Saturday was a different story. The first Barton serve of the game found its way between two Lady Saints players and a communication problem ended in the ball sailing 20 feet past the end line off of the gals in green. This would set the stage for the day as Seward quickly found themselves in a 5-0 hole and would later trail 14-9 after the teams went back and forth. Pulling away late, Barton went up 23-14 before finishing off game one with the last two points to shock the first seeded Lady Saints 25-14. Game two would be a little more Lady Saint like as they pulled ahead midway through on kills from Lindsey Miller and LaKendra Sanders to go up 16-10. Finishing up the game two win in style was Diana Castrillon with an ace to give Seward the 25-16 win and even the match at one.
Seward started game three as they finished game two on fire as LaKendra Sanders continued to turn up the heat and put the Lady Saints up 7-3 early. Just when it looked as if things were rolling in the right direction for the Lady Saints they hit a roadblock. Barton County would score 15 of the games next 16 points including a 10-0 run to go up 18-8 and bury the Lady Saints who put up a late run to cut the lead to 24-19 but eventually fell 25-20. Seward jumped out of the gates in game four and took a 2-0 lead but for the second straight set would give up a run of 10 straight points and fell behind an insurmountable 12-2 lead from the Cougars and were never able to get closer than four the rest of the set as they lost 25-19 in a match that shocked the entire tournament.
In the match the Lady Saints got a solid performance from LaKendra Sanders who had 15 kills and just 2 errors while Diana Castrillon had 10 kills but 8 errors to go along with it. Lindsey Miller led the team with 17 digs followed closely by Amanda Savage’s 16. Maddy Taylor racked up 31 assists playing in a 5-1 the last set and a half and Sheina Fernandes led the Lady Saints with 4 blocks on the match.
In a spot that they never guessed they would be in, Seward County came out in their eliminated match with Pratt and took it to the Beavers early as they flew out to a 10-2 lead in game one. The Lady Saints would maintain the 8 point cushion up 17-9 but Pratt would storm back scoring 8 of 10 points to cut the Seward lead to 19-17. Lindsey Miller would put give Seward County the game one win 25-19 with a kill down the line to close things out as Seward looked to get back on the right track. A sloppy game two would go the Beavers way 25-19 but wasn’t nearly as close as the score would indicate as Pratt had 5 service errors to let the Lady Saints back into the game but Seward could never do anything with them as they let the Beavers even the match at 1-1.
Both teams jostled for the lead early in an ever important game three and Seward found themselves down just two at 9-7 after Diana Castrillon found a hole with a tip early on. After a 9-0 Pratt run and less than 10 minutes later Seward was on the wrong end of a 25-12 blowout on the scoreboard and their season was on the line with a game four that they had to win. Seward came out strong in game four and a couple of early blocks from Kelen Ricardo and Sheina Fernandes gave them a 10-4 lead. At the back end of a 9-0 Seward run, the Lady Saints found themselves up 14-4 and looked to be cruising towards a 5th set but just moments later after yet another Pratt run, the scoreboard read 18 apiece as the Seward lead was gone. Diana Castrillon gave Seward a 22-21 lead and LaKendra Sanders would later give the Lady Saints the 25-23 win with a kill to force the match into a deciding fifth game in Dodge. Game five, as expected was intense as both teams traded points and neither was able to take a decisive advantage until Castrillon put Seward up 14-12 to give the Lady Saints two match points to stay alive in the tournament. Pratt was not to be denied though as the pesky Beavers tied the game back up at 14 and then the two traded points to tie 15-15 and then 16-16. After Pratt scored to go up 17-16, the Lady Saints hit a ball into the net to end their season losing 18-16 in game five.
LaKendra Sanders again led the Lady Saints with 15 kills while Diana Castrillon’s 10 was second. As a group Seward County hit just .152 on the match including 29 hitting errors which didn’t help their cause. Maddy Taylor recorded a career high 50 assists in the loss and both outside hitters Lindsey Miller, and Diana Castrillon went over 20 digs with 21 and 20 respectively. Kelen Ricardo had career highs in both blocks (6) and digs (14) but it wasn’t enough to overcome 55 errors from the Lady Saints in the match (29 hitting, 11 service, 1 ball handling, 6 blocking, and 8 serve/receive).
The loss ends the Lady Saints season at 26-11 as the Pratt team that handed them their first loss of the season in August, hands them their last loss of the season in November. Six Lady Saints saw their last action in green and white this action while six will return to play for them next year looking to defend their Jayhawk West Championship.
Friday the Seward County Lady Saints Basketball team will open their 2009-2010 season at home in the Greenhouse in the Pepsi Classic. The Lady Saints were picked by their Jayhawk West foes to finish second behind defending Region VI champions Hutchinson who Seward lost to by two points in the Region VI final a season ago.
The Lady Saints return six players off last season’s 28-6 squad including Rachel Barnes, Megan Lassley, Vaneza Junior, Nadia Rosario, Sheila Washington, and Liz Ginther. Rachel Barnes comes back as one of the best players in the conference this season after averaging 13.1 points 7.6 rebounds, and 3.5 steals per game as a freshman while Megan Lassley returns as one of the West’s top point guard following a freshman season in which she scored 9.3 points and dished out 4.4 assists per contest. Vaneza Junior returns to Liberal much improved from a season ago in which she put up over 7 points per game while shooting 47% from the field. Nadia Rosario is back on the court this season after losing the second half of the 2008-09 campaign due to a knee injury. She will look to build on a season in which she shot 54% while scoring nearly 7 points and grabbing over 4 rebounds per game. Sheila Washington will help stabilize the backcourt this season after freshman year in which she played in all 34 games averaging 3.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per contest. Liz Ginther comes back for the Lady Saints as one of the better 3-point shooters on the team and will be looked upon to knock down shots from beyond the arc throughout the season.
Four Seward County freshman will join the fold this season including guards Kendra Spresser, Morgan Skomal, and Tameka Sanchez and forward Sumr Robinett. All four freshman will be looked upon to play quality minutes this season, possibly none more than Kendra Spresser who will be looked upon to make an immediate impact for the Lady Saints. Spresser, a guard from Hoxie High School brings versatility at the guard position and has a knack for finding the bottom of the net with consistency. Morgan Skomal will give Head Coach Toby Wynn some options being able to play on the inside as well as step out on the wing. The Haven High School graduate averaged 11.5 points and 7 rebounds last season as a senior and will be looked upon to translate some of her high school success into success on the court for the Lady Saints this year as a freshman. Tameka Sanchez stays at home in Liberal to play for the Lady Saints this season after playing for coach Shane Stout and the Lady ‘Skins of Liberal High a season ago. Sanchez is a solid defender who will look to continue the Lady Saints tradition of playing lock down defense after a season in which they gave up just 54 points per contest. Sumr Robinett comes to Seward after playing her prep career at Sublette High School. Robinett will be looked upon to help fill some of the void of departed center Amanda Pierson who will play for the University of Arizona this season.
The Lady Saints will open up their season Friday at 6:00 in the Pepsi Classic where they will take on Hesston College before squaring off with New Mexico Junior College Saturday night at 6:00. Free tickets for this weekend’s tournament can be found at both Liberal Pizza Hut locations, both Hutch’s, both Express Lanes, and at First National Bank courtesy of Pepsi. If you can’t make it to the Greenhouse this weekend you can check the Lady Saints homepage at for box scores, stats, twitter updates and more.
Expectations weren’t high at all in 2007-08 when the Seward County Men’s Basketball team finished third at the NJCAA National Tournament and weren’t a whole lot higher last season when the Saints started play. This season the same cannot be said however. The Saints open the season ranked as high as 5th in some publications and are picked to win the conference by their peers as released at the Jayhawk Conference Basketball Media Day.
Seward is led by arguably the best returning group of sophomores in the country as the Saints bring back over 70% of their scoring on a team who finished 2nd in the region a season ago putting up over 85 points per contest on the scoreboard. Latiq Agard, Tony Smith, Marcus James, Jon Tassin, and Robert Sigala lead a Seward bunch that finished 23-9 last season. Latiq Agard returns from a season ending knee injury as a preseason 2nd Team All-American following a year in which he led the conference in scoring at 21.5 points a game as well as ripping down 7.1 rebounds and shooting 66% from the floor in 14 games. Tony Smith, a 5th Team preseason All-American pick from Sporting News Magazine, comes back to run the point after dazzling onlookers last season with 14 points, 6 assists, and 3 steals per contest as a freshman. Marcus James high wire act will be on main stage in the Greenhouse again this season following an All-Conference freshman year in which he averaged 12.3 points and 5.4 rebounds a game including a 29 point 14 rebound affair against Dodge City midway through the season. Jon Tassin has grown in size and grown in ability in the offseason and gives Seward Head Coach Bryan Zollinger a dynamic wing player on the outside. Last season Tassin put up 7.8 points and 4.2 rebounds a game and impressed as an on-ball defender at 6’8 with over 2 steals per game. A fan favorite, Robert Sigala will hope to build on a solid end of the 2008-09 season in which he started the final 5 games for the Saints including both Region VI Tournament games. He averaged just 3.1 points and 1.8 assists as a freshman but fans can expect that number to vault this season as a sophomore.
Seven newcomers will see their first action in the green and white this season including sophomore transfer Donte McCarter and freshman Isaiah Thaw, Spencer Moore, Marky Nolen, Alex Sturanovic, Chris Chaney, and Kevin Livingston. Donte McCarter transfers to Seward County from Pitt CC in North Carolina where he averaged 18.6 points, 4.9 assists, and 4.1 rebounds as a freshman. Isaiah Thaw from Newton High School brings an athletic player to the Saints who should be able to cause havoc on opposing offenses throughout the course of the year. Spencer Moore out of Highland Park High School in Topeka brings a wealth of success at the prep level to Seward County after winning a pair of state championships that hopefully translates into success at the college level here as a Saint. Marky Nolen heads out West from Wichita South High School where he was a dual sport athlete staring in both basketball and football. Nolen is regarded by Head Coach Bryan Zollinger as one of the fiercest competitors he has ever coached and will be looked upon early to contribute quality minutes when the ball is dropped this weekend. Alex Sturanovic is the tallest player on the Saints roster at 6’11 and should help take some of the load of big man Latiq Agard this season. While almost seven foot, Sturanovic has the ability to step outside and knock down a jump shot as well as score in the paint which gives the Saints another versatile look on their roster. Chris Chaney will join the Saints backcourt this season after redshirting a season ago. Chaney gives the Saints some all important depth at the guard position and should get a chance to earn some minutes early in the season. Kevin Livingston remains in Liberal to play for the Saints after being named the WAC Most Valuable Player last season as a senior at Liberal High. Livingston brings an athletic body and some quickness to go along with his size at the guard position and will look to win playing time in a crowded backcourt this season.
The Saints open up their season Friday at 8:00 in the Pepsi Classic against the Colorado Kings before squaring off with Hesston College Saturday night at 8:00. Free tickets for this weekend’s tournament can be found at both Liberal Pizza Hut locations, both Hutch’s, both Express Lanes, and at First National Bank courtesy of Pepsi. If you can’t make it to the Greenhouse this weekend you can check the Saints homepage at for box scores, stats, twitter updates and more.
For the first time since 2003 the Sewa rd County Lady Saints Vo lleyball Team has been crowned Jayhawk West Conference Champions. Although it was rather anticlimactic against a 2-10 Dodge City squad, Seward took care of the Conqs in straight sets on Sophomore Night to claim the conference title as well as the #1 seed heading into this weekend’s Region VI Tournament with a bid to the National Tournament on the line.

The evening started with a packed Greenhouse recognizing six Seward sophomores playing their final game at home Monday night. Lindsey Miller, Diana Castrillon, Taryn Westerman, LaKendra Sanders, Adriann D’Amico, and Amanda Savage were all escorted by their parents onto the court and received a warm final ovation from the Greenhouse crowd. Seward didn’t waste much time in jumping all over the Conqs, leading 6-3 after a combo block from Kelen Ricardo and LaKendra Sanders and stretching the lead to 10 shortly after with an ace from Amanda Savage to put the Lady Saints up 15-5. Seward went up 20-12 and traded points the rest of the way with Dodge to win 25-17 with a bullet down the line from Lindsey Miller to sew up the game one win.

Game two was never a contest as Seward raced out to leads of 6-2, 13-4, and 22-9 before eventually putting the game away 25-10 but Dodge would show a little bit of fight in game three trying to avoid the sweep. With just a three point lead at 11-8, Taryn Westerman smashed a Dodge overpass to the hardwood to put the Lady Saints up 12-8 which would spark a Seward County run in which they would score 10 of the next 13 points to go up 22-11. After Dodge fought back to 24-19, the Lady Saints finished the set in style with all five Lady Saint sophomores active for the match on the court to celebrate a win and a conference title after they scored point #25 to win game three 25-19.

Seward was led offensively and defensively by their sophomores in the clinching win as LaKendra Sanders (9), Lindsey Miller (8), and Taryn Westerman (6) topped the Lady Saints in kills while Amanda Savage’s 12 digs led the gals in green on the night. Sophomore Adriann D’Amico had a nice match pulling up 5 digs while the sixth Lady Saint sophomore Diana Castrillon sat out the match in preparation for this weekend’s Region VI Tournament. Maddy Taylor led the Lady Saints with 17 assists c losely followed by Westerman with 16.

The Lady Saints now set their sights on the Region VI Tournament where they look to return to the National Tournament for the first time in six seasons. Their opening match will be Saturday at either 11:00 or 1:00 against the winner of Friday’s Barton County/Colby match. Check back to throughout the rest of the week and the weekend for updates on the tournament and the Lady Saints quest for the National Tournament.