The Seward County Saints hit the road to Dodge City Friday and Saturday for a pair of games in the 2010 Thanksgiving Classic in the Civic Center. After dropping their first contest to Cowley on day one, Seward rebounded for a 29 point win over New Creations prep to move to 6-2 overall on the season.
While they may not be titled an official rivalry just yet, the Seward County Saints and the Cowley Tigers have exchanged their fair share of punches over the past few years as the teams have traded ending each other’s seasons for the past three years. The two teams contest on Friday night in Dodge would be yet another neutral court matchup for the teams and would go down to the wire much like their past meetings had.
Seward went right after the Jayhawk East favorites early and got out to a 13-4 lead just moments into the game. However, the Tigers would fight back behind Iowa State signee Tyrus McGee and would carry all the momentum into the locker room, leading by nine 37-28. Cowley would shoot an even 50% in the first half while the Saints struggled after a hot start and would hit just 32% of their attempts in the first 20 minutes of action.
The Saints would turn up the defensive pressure in the second half and would get things rolling on the offensive side of the floor as well to work their way back into the game late but a barrage of late three’s from the Tigers would keep them in front as they went on to eventually win by six 80-74. Seward hit 46% of their second half shots and converted on 12 of 16 free throw chances while Cowley made just 3 of 14 two point attempts in the half. The difference came from beyond the arc and at the charity stripe where the Tigers outscored the Saints by a combined 19 points in the half on the way to the win.
Five Saints had 10 or more points in the loss led by Marky Nolen’s 17. Irvin Hollinger scored 13 and Rafriel Guthrie, Jeremy Jones, and Phil Hawkins had 10 apiece. Guthrie finished with a team high 9 rebounds and Markee Mazyck picked off 6 steals for the Saints but it wasn’t enough as they went down by six.
Saturday it was New Creations Prep Academy from Indiana on the slate for the guys in green. The Flyers were able to keep it close through much of the first half but the Saints would use a late burst to take a 12 point lead into the break 42-30. Seward was 17 of 34 from the field in the first half and knocked down 4 of 9 three point attempts but left 6 points at the line, going just 4 for 10 from the charity stripe in the first 20 minutes of action.
Whatever Coach Bryan Zollinger said during his halftime speech put a fire under his young Saints team as they came out of the break ready to go and promptly stuck it to New Creations, blowing the game wide open in the first few minutes of the half before cruising to a 90-61 win. The Saints would shoot 54% in the half and held New Creations to just 35% shooting.
In the game Seward would turn 30 Flyer turnovers into 36 points and would also put in 20 points on 20 second chance opportunities. All 14 Saints played in the game while six of those players reached double figures in scoring on the night. Guthrie led the way with 13 while Daveon Boardingham, Tyler Brashears, and Jones all scored 11 in the win. Hawkins chipped in 8 and had a team high 4 assists while Raphael Giaimo scored 6 and had a team high 7 rebounds for Seward.
The split brings the Saints to 6-2 overall on the 2010-2011 campaign as they ready themselves for this weekend’s Conestoga Classic in the Greenhouse. This first time event will be a men’s only classic with Garden City, Odessa, and Raleigh’s Finest Prep coming to town. The Saints will take on Raleigh’s Finest on Friday at 8:00 and will then matchup with the Odessa Wranglers Saturday night at 8:00. Free tickets to the classic are available courtesy to our buyout sponsor Conestoga Energy at the following locations: Conestoga offices at 300 N. Lincoln, Billy’s, Community Bank, and both Pizza Hut locations.
After filling themselves with Thanksgiving turkey on Thursday, the Seward County Lady Saints headed to Garden City on Friday and Saturday looking to get themselves back on track after dropping their first game of the season the previous weekend at home to South Plains. However, the schedule makers were going to make it tough on them as they had a pair of teams with a combined record of 16-0 in front of them if they wanted to get that done. Seward wouldn’t get it done Friday as they lost to Jayhawk East favorite Independence 74-53 and struggled in the second half Saturday against New Mexico JC and would eventually drop that contest by 10, 71-61 to fall to 5-3 on the season.
The Lady Saints didn’t have much time for their Thanksgiving dinner to settle before they were on the road to the Perryman Center in Garden City on Friday with a formidable foe in the 17th ranked Independence Lady Pirates on the slate. Seward started slow and would never be able to come out of their rut as they turned the ball over 15 times and were able to get to the free throw line just twice in the first half and found themselves down big at the break 34-18.
Seward would get their offense going in the second half but Indy began to heat up as well. The Lady Saints would hit 41% of their shots and turned the ball over just 5 times but a dreadful 5 of 19 half from the free throw line would in part sink the ship as they went down 74-53. On the other side of the ball the Lady Pirates seemingly couldn’t miss, they hit 52% of their second half shots including 3 of 6 from beyond the arc, and also knocked down all 11 of their second half free throw shots to come away with the blowout win.
Just one Lady Saints reached double figures in the loss as Kelsey Willson went 7 for 10 from the field and finished with 14 points and a team high 5 rebounds while Morgan Skomal and Mariah Lee each finished with 9 points.
Looking to rebound from their Friday afternoon loss, the Lady Saints would again face a tall task on Saturday as they stood opposite of the 9-0 New Mexico JC Lady Thunderbirds. Seward would come out of the gates strong and would take a 17-9 lead midway through the half but the two teams would play to a dead heat after the first 20 minutes of play as they were tied at 29 going into the locker room. Seward shot just 33% in the half but would knock down 4 of 10 three point attempts and 5 of 6 from the line to remain neck and neck with the undefeated T-Birds.
The Lady Saints would again look good during the start of the second half and would build another lead at 36-32 but the lead would diminish and New Mexico JC would gain a head of steam to the finish line as they went on to outscore Seward 42-32 in the second half on their way to a 71-61 victory. The Lady T-Birds would get to the free throw line 24 times in the second half and would bury 5 of 11 three pointers in the half to give themselves the late cushion against the Lady Saints. Seward shot 39% from the floor in the half but could connect on just 1 of 7 long range shots as they fell by 10.
On the offensive end of the floor the Lady Saints were led by Lee who scored a team high 18 points and had 7 rebounds as well Autumn Miller who dropped in 13 including a trio of three pointers in the loss. Skomal led the Lady Saints with 10 rebounds while Hanna Bognar scored 7 and had 5 rebounds in her 14 minutes of work.
The two losses to the undefeated drop Seward to 5-3 on the season and match their loss total from the entire 2009-2010 campaign. The road will not get any easier for the Lady Saints however as they head to Lamar this weekend to take on the 7-1 Otero Rattlers on Friday at 1:30 and the host Runnin Lopes on Saturday night at 5:30.
Seward County Saints lefthander Jose Gonzalez joined an ever growing list of Division 1 signees today as he inked his National Letter of Intent to head to Nacogdoches, Texas to play for former Saint Johnny Cardenas and the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks.
Gonzalez will join an SFA team that won 34 games a season ago and was 20-12 in Southland Conference play. A Seward County connection to the story is the Lumberjacks current Head Coach Johnny Cardenas who played for the Saints during the 1989 and 1990 seasons before signing at TCU and moving on to professional baseball. Cardenas and the Jacks staff will hope that Gonzalez can step in right away and fill the shoes of 2010 2nd Team All-Southland pick Tyler Herriage who finished last season as SFA’s top pitcher and is expected to be their Friday night starter again this season before graduating as a senior.
As a freshman in 2010 Gonzalez went 3-4 with a 5.78 ERA in 63 inning pitched for the Saints. He threw in 14 ballgames, starting 13 of those, and striking out 45 opposing hitters. Gonzalez was on the mound at the end of the regular season for Seward when they wrapped up the 2010 Jayhawk West Crown against Colby and threw 9 innings in a pair of games during the Region VI Tournament striking out 8.
Gonzalez will be looked upon to help lead a young Seward County pitching staff and team this season as they look to defend their conference title in 2011. Expected to be in the Saints weekend rotation when the season begins, Gonzalez and his Saints will be put to the test right away as they take on defending National Champion Iowa Western February 10th at Brent Gould Field to kick off the 2011 campaign.
Again this weekend the Seward County Saints high octane offense was on display as the guys in green went 2-0 in the Billy’s/Days Inn Classic with a 110-60 win over Oklahoma Panhandle State University JV on Friday night and a 95-53 win over the Jayhawk East’s Labette Cardinals on Saturday night to move to 5-1 overall on the young season.
Seward’s first matchup of the weekend was against the OPSU JV squad with a number of local names on the roster. Unfortunately for the undermanned and outmatched Aggies, the highlight of their night might have been keeping the Saints scoreless in their first offensive possession as Seward would score on 12 of their next 13 trips down the court en route to taking at 27-0 lead and keeping OPSU off the scoreboard for six and a half minutes to start the game. The Aggies would score five in a row once they did get one in the hoop but the Saints would then run off another 12 in a row capped by a Rafriel Guthrie three pointer to make it 39-5 in favor of the guys in green. Seward continued to pour it on OPSU in the first half, getting their lead up to 44 points before going into the half up 64-23. The Saints shot 63% in the first half and forced 21 Aggie turnovers to take the 41 point lead into the locker room. Leading the way offensively in the half for the Saints was Marquez Patterson who scored 13 points and Jeremy Jones who dished out 5 assists.
The Saints would show no mercy as the second half opened, taking their first 50 point lead of the ballgame after a bucket from Irvin Hollinger made it 79-29 with 13:18 to go. Their largest lead of the contest would come as Tyler Brashears connected with Chris Chaney for a layup to put Seward up 92-39 and the Saints would hit the century mark for the fourth time in five contests at the 6:00 mark when Marky Nolen grabbed a rebound and put one back inside. All 13 Saints available for the game would play during the second half and as the final horn sounded, Seward County would be ahead of a lopsided battle 110-60.
Six different Saints would reach double figures in the win including Patterson who finished with a team high 15. Hollinger would end the night with 13 points and 8 rebounds and Phil Hawkins would go for 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists in the win. Nolen would put up a rare stat line for him at least, scoring just 7 points and pulling down just 4 rebounds but picking of 8 steals and dishing out 5 assists for the Saints. Raphael Giaimo would put in 15 minutes of quality work inside for Coach Bryan Zollinger, scoring 10 points and ripping down 6 rebounds and Chaney would put up a career high 9 in the victory.
Saturday night the Saints would play opposite a Labette squad picked to finish last in the Jayhawk East by the conference coaches and with just six players on their active roster for the contest. With a short bench and not nearly the firepower of the Saints going into the matchup, the Cardinals objective was to try and make the game a low scoring affair and that was evident early as a slow start for Seward on the offensive end coupled with Labette using nearly every second of every shot clock had the game deadlocked at 8-8 over 10 minutes into the game. Outside of Nolen, the Saints shot just 1 for 13 before the media timeout while they were kept in the game with their defense that had allowed just nine Labette shots while forcing eight Cardinal turnovers. Seward would begin to push the tempo in the final 10 minutes of the half and reeled off a more characteristic 25 points in the final 9 minutes en route to taking a 33-22 lead into the break. If one were to not look to deeply at the halftime box score, they might have thought the Cardinals had the 11 point lead as Labette outshot Seward 45 to 36% while outrebounding the Saints 23-17 during the first 20 minutes of action. The difference came however in Labette’s 15 first half turnovers to just 3 for the guys in green.
The second half would be a completely different story for the visitors from Parsons as they would get forced into an up-tempo game by the relentless Saints defense and it wouldn’t fare well for them. Seward would come out of the gates on fire during the second half and quickly extinguished any thoughts of a comeback by the Cardinals. A thunderous poster-quality dunk by the 6’0 Hawkins and a trio of three pointers from Brashears would be the exclamation point on the night midway through the period as the Saints would go on to score 62 second half points on their way to a 95-53 win.
The Saints would have all 12 players in the scoring column at nights end including 17 from Guthrie and 18 from Nolen in a near triple-double. The Saints sophomore forward would come out of the night with the 18 points to go along with 9 rebounds and a team high 8 steals for the second straight night. Running the point for the Saints and hammering home the most electrifying play of the year thus far, Hawkins finished with 11 points and 7 assists while turning the ball over just once.
Next up for the 5-1 Saints will be a little more of a challenge than they saw this weekend as they will meet the Jayhawk East favorite Cowley Tigers in the Civic Center in Dodge City on Friday night at 5:30. They will follow that contest up with another 5:30 date, this time with the same prep school of former Saints Latiq Agard, New Creations Basketball Academy out of Richmond, Indiana.
After moving up to #6 in the latest NJCAA National Top 25 Poll, the Seward County Lady Saints will have a short lived stay there as they lost a rare home game in the Greenhouse to South Plains 75-63 Friday night but came back to down Frank Phillips 60-38 in the final game of the Billy’s/Days Inn Classic to move their overall record on the season to 5-1.
It was a much anticipated battle Friday night in the Greenhouse as the 4-0 Seward County Lady Saints hit the court against the tradition rich South Plains Lady Texans. South Plains came out of the gates hot and just two minutes into the game had the Seward faithful quieted up 8-0. The Lady Saints would fight back as they held the Lady Texans scoreless for a three minute stretch in which they went on a 7-0 run to bring the gap to just one at 8-7 with 15:23 to go in the half. The two would go back and forth until the 10:48 mark when Kelsey Willson would tie the game at 14 with a midrange jumper and Morgan Skomal would take it to the basket and score two possessions later to give the Lady Saints their first lead of the game 16-14. Willson would break another tie moments later to put Seward up 19-17 but South Plains would take control of the game after that, going on a 21-4 run in a stretch of just five minutes to take a 15 points lead at 38-23 with a little over three minutes to go in the half. Seward would chip into the lead before the break but would still go into their locker room down 41-32.
Looking to make a comeback in the second half Seward would quickly cut the lead down to seven as the final 20 minutes of play opened up. Seven however, looked as if it was the Lady Saints un-lucky number for the night as they would cut the lead to seven three times in the next five minutes but wouldn’t be able to get any closer as they remained down 49-42 after a steal and score from Hannah Rotolo. Just as it looked as if the Lady Saints might be gearing up for a late game run, Seward was called for an offensive foul and South Plains’ Raely Parada banged home a three pointer from the wing to give the Lady Texans their largest second half lead at 63-49 and nearly all was said and done for Seward with just eight minutes to play in the game. Autumn Miller, Willson, and Rotolo would try to will the Lady Saints back into it with baskets but they would get no closer than eight during the final minutes of the game as they went down by the eventual score of 75-63.
Willson would lead the way for Seward with 29 points and 9 rebounds but it wasn’t enough as no other Lady Saint reached double figures in the loss. Rotolo and Miller finished with nearly identical stat lines with 9 points, 3 steals, and 2 assists each while Hanna Bognar was the only other Seward player to score more than 5 points in the game as she finished with 6. Seward was just 1 for 16 from the three-point line as a team in the defeat and committed 30 fouls, sending South Plains to the line 41 times compared to drawing just 17 themselves for a total of 24 free throws. The loss was a rare one indeed for the Lady Saints in front of their home crowd as it was just the 9th time in the past 18 seasons that Seward went down on the Greenhouse floor.
With 2-5 Frank Phillips opposite of them for Saturday night’s contest, it looked on paper at least, like the game was going to be a good chance for the Lady Saints to get their confidence back and things rolling in the right direction again. The problem was, someone forgot to tell the Lady Plainsmen that and as evident early, the Lady Saints were going to have a fight on their hands. Seward got off to a slow start and found themselves up just two 8-6 four minutes into the ballgame. After Ashlynn Knoll hit a shot at the top of the key to make it 10-6, the Seward offense would go cold outside of Mariah Lee as no Lady Saint other than Lee would scratch the scoreboard for a span of nearly eight minutes until Willson knocked home a three pointer to give Seward the lead back 17-15 with 7:34 to go in the half. Miller and Skomal would score on back to back possessions for the Lady Saints to put them up 21-17 moments later but Seward would not score again for the remainder of the half, finishing the first 20 minutes 0 for 8 from the floor as they went into the locker room up just one point at 21-20. The Lady Saints shot just 27% in the first half and turned the ball over 11 times but were saved by a strong defensive effort, allowing just 22% shooting from Frank Phillips and just a 2 for 7 half from the free throw line for the Lady Plainsmen.
As the second half started it was Lee vs. Frank Phillips as the Seward County forward put 5 points on the board and the Lady Plainsmen put 5 points up as a team in the first five minutes of action as Seward remained up by one 26-25. Erica Jones would hit a runner for Frank Phillips with 14:08 to go in the game to give the Lady Plainsmen a 27-26 lead but it might have just hit the wrong nerve for the Lady Saints as they would then go on a 12-2 run to take their largest lead of the game at 38-29 just past the halfway mark in the second half. A three pointer from Frank Phillips would draw them to within six but Seward would go on another burst, outscoring the Lady Plainsmen 9-0 to go up 15, 47-32. The Lady Saints kept control from there, hitting their free throws as the Lady Plainsmen tried to foul to get back into the game to no avail, as Seward went on to take the game 60-38 to move to 5-1 on the year.
Seward finished the game shooting 36% from the floor in the game including 45% in the second half while holding the Lady Plainsmen to just 25% overall in the contest and just 3 of 30 shooting from beyond the arc. The Lady Saints got a huge game from Lee who finished with 28 points and 8 rebounds while Knoll racked up a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
The Lady Saints are now 5-1 on the season after their split in the classic and will travel to Garden City next weekend for the Thanksgiving Classic in the Perryman Center. There Seward will take on a pair of quality opponents in the Jayhawk East favorite Independence Lady Pirates on Friday followed by New Mexico JC on Saturday. Both games will be played at 1:30.
The Seward County Saints Men’s Tennis Team has been tabbed the 8th best team in the country according to the recently released ITA National Rankings. The Saints start the season ranked just ahead of Jayhawk schools Cowley and Johnson County who come in at #9 and #10 respectively. Individually, all six of the Saints top players were ranked inside of the nation’s top 75. Seward’s #1 player Laericeo Lobo cracked the top 20 at #17 after going 3-3 against some of the top players in the country. Nathan Nelmes won 6 matches this fall and comes in ranked 23rd by the ITA while teammate Felipe Cruz was rewarded for an 8-5 fall with a #35 ranking. Raphael Machado was 8-3 for the Saints in the #4 hole this fall and will open the year ranked 51st. Cristiano Mendes went 4-1 this fall and is ranked 69th and Lucas Izkovitz who went 10-0 this fall in singles play is ranked 75th. In the doubles rankings the Saints were again well represented as Lobo and Nelmes checked in at #8 after going 5-4 as a team this fall and Cruz and Machado coming off of an 8-4 fall are ranked 22nd. Wrapping up the rankings for the Saints is Mendes and Izkovitz who were unbeaten in 9 tries this fall and will start the season ranked 38th. For a complete listing of the ITA fall rankings CLICK HERE.
The 9th ranked Seward County Lady Saints moved to 4-0 on the season this weekend with a pair of 35+ point wins in the Hutchinson Classic. Friday afternoon the Lady Saints dispatched of Moberly Area 84-46 before taking it to the Bethany JV squad 90-27 on Saturday afternoon in the Sports Arena.
In an anticipated matchup against Moberly Area on Friday the Lady Saints took control from the start and would never look back. Mariah Lee would finish inside on Seward’s first possession to put them up 2-0 and Hannah Rotolo would bang home a three-pointer on the Lady Saints next trip to quickly put them up 5-0. After the Lady Hounds scored 3 of their own, Seward went on a 10-0 run capped by back to back three-pointers from Kayla Thomas and Ashlynn Knoll with assists on both from Autumn Miller to put the gals in green in control and up 15-3 just four and a half minutes in. The Lady Saints would continue to put pressure on Moberly Area on both ends of the court, building their lead along the way and finished the half on a 16-4 run to take a 42-23 advantage into the break. Seward shot nearly 50% from the floor in the first half and hit on 5 of 11 three point attempts while holding the Greyhounds to just 22% shooting and 6 total field goals in the first 20 minutes.
The second half would start slow for both teams but Morgan Skomal would bury a three-pointer on a kickout from Hanna Bognar to give Seward their first 20+ point lead of the day at 45-23. The spread would remain at 22 moments later when Seward would blow things open. The Lady Saints went on an 18-0 run with baskets from six different players during a 5 minute stretch to push the lead to take their first 40 point lead of the game at 70-30 and drain any Greyhound hope of a comeback in the game. With everything but the final score determined, the two teams would play nearly even for the final 9 minutes of the game and when all was said and done the Lady Saints were the victors of an 84-46 decision to move to 3-0 on the year.
Seward’s defense was suffocating in the win, allowing just Moberly Area to shoot just 25% in the game while forcing 30 Greyhound turnovers. The Lady Saints on the other hand seemed locked in on the offensive end of the floor as they shot 47% from the field and 56% from the three point line after shooting just 36% from the field and 17% from the three-point line during their opening weekend of the season. All nine Lady Saints scored 4 or more points in the win and eight of the nine players had 3 or more rebounds as well. Leading the way offensively for the Lady Saints was Knoll who finished with a team high 17 points on 5 of 8 shooting while Lee finished with 14 points and 6 rebounds. Skomal and Thomas combined to go 5 for 6 from the three point line and finished with 23 points together. Kelsey Willson scored 7 points and had a team high 10 rebounds for the Lady Saints while Miller led the team in assists for the third straight game with 8.
With Bethany JV on the schedule for the Lady Saints on Saturday, it was expected that they would come out of it with a lopsided win, but how lopsided was yet to be determined. Let’s just say the Swedes could have multiplied their score by three and they still would have lost by nine. Seward started up 5-0 after a pair of baskets from Knoll and pushed the lead to 11-0 four minutes in after a pair of layups from Rotolo and a midrange jumper from Lee. The Lady Saints would hold a 21-0 lead before Bethany would score a point 9:30 into the game. With the score 21-3, Seward would go on another big run of 19-0 behind a raining of three-pointers from Skomal, Mattie Yanke, Miller, and Thomas as the Lady Saints took a 40-3 lead. At the half the Lady Saints led 47-8 after knocking home 8 of 17 three point attempts and holding the Swedes to just 2 first half field goals.
Rotolo would score the first 5 points of the second half for Seward and would give the Lady Saints a 52-10 lead after three successful free throws. Seward would continue to pour it on the hapless Swedes and would take their largest lead of the game at 68-19 after a three-pointer from Yanke on a dish from Bognar. Up 71-26 with 7:31 to go, Seward would close the game on a 29-1 run and as the smoke cleared and the final horn sounded the Lady Saints would come out with a 90-27 win. To close the game the Lady Saints kept Bethany without a field goal for the final 8:45 of the game, meaning that during the book ends of the game, the Swedes went without a made shot from the floor for 18 minutes and 15 seconds.
Again all nine Lady Saints contributed in the win as each scored 5 or more points and eight of nine had 4 or more rebounds. Leading the way for the gals in green was Yanke who splashed home 5 of 7 three point attempts and 8 of 13 overall to finish with a team high 21 points to go along with 7 rebounds. Rotolo filled up the stat sheet as usual with 17 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals for Seward and Lee had her second straight solid game inside with 11 points and 8 rebounds. Skomal, Knoll, and Miller all finished with 8 points apiece and Bognar ended the afternoon with a team high 11 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.
The two wins move the 9th ranked Lady Saints to 4-0 on the season as they look forward to this weekend’s Billy’s/Days Inn Classic in the Greenhouse. Seward will face their toughest test of the year on Friday night as 27th ranked South Plains College comes to town at 6:00 followed by a matchup Saturday night with Frank Phillips at the same time. Tickets for the Billy’s/Days Inn Classic will be available throughout the week at Billy’s Mexican Grill as well as the Days Inn and Holiday Inn hotels in Liberal.
If offense is what you were looking for, Garden City was the place to be this weekend as the potent offense of the Seward County Saints took on the explosive Clarendon Bulldogs and the upstart Highland Scotties in a pair of matchups at the Perryman Center. Friday afternoon the Saints outlasted the Bulldogs 120-113 in a back and forth game while Saturday the Jayhawk East’s Scotties got the best of the Saints 96-90 to hand them their first loss of the season.
With Seward County coming in averaging 110 points per game and Clarendon entering the contest putting up over 123 points per game, there was no secret what kind of game the Saints and Bulldogs matchup would be Friday afternoon in the Perryman Center in Garden City. It did not disappoint as the free shooting Clarendon club would knock down 11 of 29 first half three point attempts and the Saints would connect on 50% of their shots overall to take a 58-53 lead into the half.
Thinking that the second half couldn’t get any better for offensive aficionados, the two teams put up even more points in the final 20 minutes. After leading by as many as 11 in the first half, the Saints lulled somewhat as the first half came to a close and the second half started and found themselves in a hole as the midway point of the second half hit. Down by 7, Seward closed the half on a 35-20 run and after a late surge on both the offensive and defensive end, would come away with a 120-113 win.
Seward hit 61% of their second half shots and 54% of their shots overall in the contest while ‘holding’ the high-flying act of Clarendon to just 41% shooting. The Bulldogs did connect on 19 three point attempts overall in the game but hoisted up 54 long balls for a final connection rate of 35%. To put Clarendon’s shooting numbers into prospective, their 54 three point attempts in the game were just one less than the Saints had taken combined in their first three games of the season, including the win over the Bulldogs.
The Saints finished the game with six players in double figures including Jeremy Jones who led the team with 24 points and 8 assists. Marquez Patterson scored 23 points and picked up 3 steals while Rafriel Guthrie led the Saints late charge and finished with 22 points and 8 rebounds. Daveon Boardingham had the best game of his young Seward career with 15 points and 13 rebounds while Marky Nolen joined him in the double-double club with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
The Highland Scotties were next up on the Saints schedule and while on paper in the preseason the matchup didn’t look like more than another cakewalk for Seward against one of the bottom half teams in the Jayhawk East, this year’s version of the Scotties had surprised many with a 4-1 start and were locked in to surprise one more team as they stepped on the court Saturday against the Saints. Highland controlled the tempo of the game from the start and held a 15-11 lead midway through the first half after a 5-0 run. The Saints would come back and tie the game on buckets from Nolen and Jones to make it 19 all moments later but Highland would rebound with an old fashioned three point play from Jamar Gulley to take a 22-19 lead. Remaining up three after the teams traded baskets, the Saints would make their run. Seward would tie the game up after a free throw from Nolen and a long jumper from Jones to make it 22-22 and wouldn’t stop there. The Saints would finish a 10-0 run with a strong finish inside from Nolen and would look in control, now up 31-24. The Scotties however, just wouldn’t go away and went on a 12-2 spree of their own to retake the lead and used the momentum to take a three point, 47-44 lead into the half. Seward connected on 49% of their first half shots but allowed the Division II Scotties to make 54% of their attempts and get to the free throw line 17 times, to which they cashed in 14 points.
The Saints would remain a step behind the Scotties most of the second half and could not seem to get that much needed defensive stop to gain momentum. But, after getting a steal and score from Jones, Seward found themselves on top 86-85 with just 1:55 to go and looked to have regained the confidence that their fans in green had seen from them all year. The lead would be short-lived however and Highland would continue to execute on their end of the floor at a staggering pace and after a corner fade away three pointer from DeAndre Upchurch, the little hope the Saints had left was dashed as they would go onto lose 96-90, dropping their first game of the season. Highland shot 67% from the field in the second half and 60% overall on the game, the highest opponents shooting percentage in Head Coach Bryan Zollinger’s tenure with the Saints.
For the first time all season the Saints had less than four players in double figures in a game. Nolen had arguably his best game of the season with 24 points and 10 rebounds, including connecting on all 11 free throw attempts in the game while Jones had his second straight 24 point effort for Seward in the loss. Guthrie again tried to will the Saints back late in the game and finished with 19 points on 7 of 12 shooting but it wasn’t enough in the 6 point defeat.
The Saints will look to bounce back this weekend in a pair of much easier contests as they square off with OPSU’s JV squad on Friday night at 8:00 in the Billy’s/Days Inn Classic and hit the court again at 8:00 on Saturday against Labette who has failed to beat an NJCAA opponent yet this season. Free tickets for this weekend’s classic are available at Billy’s Mexican Grill as well as the Days Inn and Holiday Inn hotels in Liberal.
Seward County Lady Saints hitters Sheina Fernandes and Daiane Souza have both been named Jayhawk West All-Conference in a release from the KJCCC this morning. Fernandes was named 1st Team All-Conference for the second straight season after a season in which she led the conference in hitting percentage and blocks per game as well as finishing second in kills per game. She led Seward in five different categories including kills (490), kills per game (3.16), hitting percentage (.354), blocks (147), and blocks per game (.95). Souza was a 2nd Team All-Conference selection in her freshman season for Seward after finishing second on the team to Fernandes in kills (348), kills per game (2.38), and hitting percentage (.202) while also finishing second on the stat sheet for the Lady Saints in aces (45), and aces per game (.31). The two also proved their worth in the Lady Saints run to the Region VI Tournament Championship match after the voting was completed as Souza recorded the two highest kill totals of her career with 18 against Pratt and 19 against Barton while Fernandes led the team with 80 kills and 25 blocks in the 5 matches.
After battling through injuries and hostile crowds throughout the weekend, the Seward County Lady Saints reached the Region VI Championship match Sunday afternoon in Wichita where they squared off against Barton for the third time in two days. After falling behind in all three games, the Lady Saints were swept by the Cougars to end their season at 23-18 while Barton is on to the NJCAA National Tournament in two weeks.
In their first match of the weekend they squared off with 2nd seeded Dodge City on the opening night of the Final Four. Game one was tight all the way through with neither team leading by more than 3 points at any point during the entire game. The Lady Saints would go up 10-7 with a kill from Sheina Fernandes, which was their largest margin of the game but Dodge would turn the tables and score six straight points to take a 13-10 lead for a three point margin of their own. Seward would remain in relative control the rest of the game with the Lady Conqs never having more than a one point lead until the final point of the game. With the Lady Saints ready to take the first game after a kill from Isabela Silva, Dodge got back to back kills to force a game point of their own in which they capitalized on to take the game 27-25. After scoring the first two points of game two, the Lady Saints were simply beaten to a pulp, or beat themselves into that state if you ask coach Bert Luallen. The Lady Saints committed 20, yes 20 errors in the game as they were blown out of the water 25-12 by the Conqs to put them down 2-0. In game three the Lady Saints scored the first point on a kill from Shelly Malouff and would never trail. They would control the game , opening up as large as a 10 point lead at 19-9 before eventually going onto win 25-23 on a kill from Silva. Game four would see much of the same as the Lady Saints held a 10-6 lead before Dodge City would come back and tie it at 10-10 and then take a lead of their own at 14-12. The Lady Saints would shake that off and storm back to take a five point lead late in the game at 21-16 before Dodge came back to make things interesting at 24-22. With game point on the line Fernandes recorded her 4th block of the match with a solo stuff to give Seward the game and force a deciding fifth game. In the fifth game the Lady Saints started slow and were down 5-3 when Silva went on the offensive. The Seward freshman outside hitter smashed four consecutive kills to put the Lady Saints up 7-5 and they would never look back. They would build the lead up to 11-5 after a kill from Jade Greene and then would salt the game away 15-10 to advance to the tournament semifinals.
Fernandes finished with 19 kills and 4 blocks while Silva notched her first career double-double with 12 kills and 11 digs. Daiane Souza reached double figures in kills as well with 10 to go along with a team high and career high 19 digs. Malouff nearly missed a triple double with 25 assists, 12 digs, and 7 kills and Maddy Taylor recorded 25 assists while Madison Winkelman notched 19 digs.
Next up for the Lady Saints was the Barton Cougars who like Seward, upset a higher seeded opponent in their first matchup when they knocked off the conference champion Pratt Beavers in four games. Seward played well in the first game against the Cougars after beating them in four games in their previous matchup in the Greenhouse. The Lady Saints would never trail in game one, starting the game with a 4-1 lead and extending it to 14-7 with a kill from Malouff midway through. Seward would extend upon their lead to 19-9 with a blast from Fernandes and would take a 12 point lead at 23-11. Barton made a late run to score nine of the next ten points to make it close on paper but the Lady Saints would get the winner and take game one 25-19. Game two was a flip of scripts as Barton led the whole way. They would get up early 4-1 and would lead 13-10 halfway home before Seward crawled back into it late at 23-22. On their heels, the Cougars would score the final two points of the game and even things up at 1-1 with a 25-22 game two win. It was looking like the Lady Saints might get themselves into a 2-1 hole as game three played out. Barton bolted out to a 10-2 lead and kept their distance from the Lady Saints for a while until Seward went on a mid game run to tighten things up and then another to take their first lead of the game at 19-18. Back to back kills moments later from Souza would put the Lady Saints up 23-20 and they would use the momentum to go on and win the game 25-23 after a kill from Fernandes to put them up 2-1. Just when it looked like Seward was going to find themselves in the driver’s seat for the tournament, the Cougars made them think twice with a blowout 25-13 win in game three to tie things up at 2-2. The Lady Saints had just 4 kills to their 6 hitting errors in the game and found themselves reeling as they headed to another deciding fifth game. In game five, the Lady Saints would get out to an early 3-1 and then 6-3 lead but Barton would dig in and score the next seven points to turn the tables and take a 10-6 lead of their own. Seward would then make their own 4-0 run to even things at 10-10 and the teams would literally trade points until the 30th point of the game to remain deadlocked at 15-15. A solo block for the Cougars would put them up 16-15 and then Barton would burst the Lady Saints bubble with another block to finish it 17-15.
Seward’s stat sheet was less than impressive in the loss as they hit just .074 as a team and had just Fernandes reach double figures in kills with 13 in the five game match. Taylor led the squad with 24 assists and Winkelman paced the defense with 27 digs while Fernandes recorded her 4th career 10+ block match with 4 solo’s and 6 assisted sendbacks. Stacie Carver finished the match with 6 kills to go along with 3 solo blocks.
The loss to Barton in the semifinals would send the Lady Saints to the elimination bracket where they would play in their second straight semifinal against the Pratt Beavers. The Lady Saints would play their 3rd straight strong game one as they again never trailed in taking it 25-20. Pratt kept it close but the combination of Souza and Silva on the outside would lead the Seward attack proved too much as Seward went on to win by five. Game two would see the teams tied at 6-6 twelve points in but the Lady Saints would score 5 straight to take an 11-6 lead to keep the momentum on their side. They would keep the Beavers at bay through the remainder of the game, never leading by less than 3 and held a 21-17 advantage late in the game. Seward then stepped on the accelerator and picked up points from four different players with kills from Carver, Fernandes, Souza, and an ace by Winkelman to finish it and give the Lady Saints a 2-0 lead with the 25-17 win. As expected, the conference champion Beavers were not ready to roll over and concede to the Lady Saints and used an 8-1 run through the middle of the game to go up 17-9 after the teams were fighting for position with the score 9-8. Seward would slowly creep back into the game as they looked for the sweep and got to within 20-18 before Pratt again took a hold of the reigns and took home the game 25-21. Pratt kept things rolling right into game four and were up 15-5 before the Lady Saints knew what hit them. Seward would inch their way closer and after back to back combo blocks from Malouff and Fernandes had themselves to within five at 18-13. The Lady Saints would then go on a 5-2 run to cut the lead to 20-18 followed by scoring three of the next four points to even things up at 21. Pratt would score the next three points on Seward hitting errors to force a game point but kills from Souza, Fernandes, and an ace from Winkelman would deadlock the teams at 24 apiece. The teams would trade points to 25-25 but the Beavers would force a game five by scoring the final two points and taking the game 27-25. With the threat of being eliminated from the tournament at stake, both teams battled hard in game five. Neither was able to get its traction and neither would lead by more than two through the first 18 points. Tied 9-9 the Lady Saints picked up a solo block and then a kill from Fernandes to put them up 11-9 and they wouldn’t look back again. After a hitting error would make it 11-10, Seward would go on a 4-1 spree to finish the game and come away with yet another thrilling five game victory with the 15-11 win.
Souza would finish the match with a career high 18 kills to go along with a matching 18 digs while Fernandes and Silva combined for 25 kills and 4 blocks in the win. Malouff paced the Seward offense with 28 assists and also had 9 kills while Jordan Martin posted her career high with 21 assists to help send Seward on to the championship match. Winkelman continued to put up huge numbers in the dig compartment for the Lady Saints as the freshman notched 25 to lead the team while also topping the charts with 3 big aces in the match.
On to the finals the Lady Saints went as they now faced an uphill battle against the Barton Cougars in the championship round. Seward would need to beat the Cougars not just once but twice in back to back matches if they were to stake their claim to the Region VI Championship and a berth in the NJCAA National Tournament. Things got started well for Seward as they took an early 4-0 and then 6-2 lead on the Cougars who had a healthy backing in Fugate Gymnasium. Barton came back to even things up at 7 apiece but with Seward’s custom mid game run, they found themselves up 18-11 after back to back hitting errors from the Cougars. Barton would never get any closer as the Lady Saints continued their strong play down the stretch and finished things out with an ace from Silva to take home the game 25-17. Game two also saw the gals in green get off to a good start but after an early lead evaporated, their opponents from Great Bend would pick up a head of steam and hold control of the game with a lead through the middle part of the game until a Souza bullet got Seward to within one at 21-20 late. With a chance to tie things up, the Cougars would dig in and score the game’s final four points to win 25-20 and even things up at 1-1. It was another seesaw battle early in the pivotal game three. Tied at 11-11 Seward got a block from Souza and Fernandes and then yet another kill from Fernandes to give them a 13-11 lead. They would hold onto the lead and extend upon it to 18-15 until Barton scored three straight to again even things at 18-18. Seward would get the next two on attack errors from Barton but the Cougs would again push back and would go ahead 21-20 before a Lady Saints timeout. Barton would have game point on their side up 24-22 but a kill from Fernandes and then a block from Fernandes and Aislyn Karney on the outside would tie things up at 24 apiece. Barton would go up 25-24 on the next point but a service error on their third game point would again draw the two even at 25. Fernandes then took over, smashing home a kill to put Seward up 26-25 before making Barton pay for an overpass with another kill to take the game 27-25 and put the Lady Saints up 2-1. It was a familiar feeling for both teams as just one day earlier the Lady Saints and Lady Cougars were in the same place with Seward leading 2-1 before a comeback for Barton put them into the championship game with the 3-2 win. After jostling early to an 8-8 tie in game four, the Cougars would get a jolt and score six of the next seven points in the game to take a 14-9 lead and wouldn’t again have to worry about the Lady Saints. The Barton lead continued to swell until they finally ended things with the scoreboard reading 25-14 to send Seward to their 4th straight game five on the weekend. With the momentum and the crowd on their side, Barton was quickly put back on their heels early in game five as Fernandes’ hitting and blocking talents pushed the Lady Saints to a 3-0 lead. The Cougars would come back to take a 5-4 lead of their own but it was Seward County that had the 8-6 lead as the two teams braked to switch sides. The teams would go tit for tat to 12-10 when Barton would pick up a pair of kills to tie things up at 12 apiece. A kill from Silva was matched by Barton to make the score 13-13 but a lift call on the Cougars would put the Lady Saints ahead 14-13 and an errant attack would score the winner for the gals in green as they advance to a winner take all championship match against the Cougars with a 15-13 game five win.
Souza again put up matching numbers in the kill and dig compartment of the stat sheet and set new career highs with 19 of each. Fernandes finished with 13 kills and 8 digs while Silva ended the match with 13 kills, 11 digs, and 3 aces. Carver was the only other Lady Saint to pick up a kill in the match as she finished with 4. Malouff set a new career high in the win with 36 assists and also notched another double-double with 10 digs.
As un-probable as it was after a 1-7 stretch midseason and then another 1-5 cold spell to bring them back to .500 after a 10-1 start later in the year, the Seward County Lady Saints were within one win of the NJCAA National Tournament Sunday afternoon at Newman University. They seemed to have the momentum on their side after a win less than an hour earlier against the Cougars and a newfound confidence, unseen through most of the later part of the season to boot. Barton would storm out of the gates to score the first three points of game one of the winner take all title game, but the Lady Saints would push back and score the next four to take a 4-3 lead. That was the last time that Seward would be in a good spot for the remainder of the day. The Cougars would use the backing of their deafening crowd to go on a 9-2 run and would then build upon their lead all the way to 18-8 before eventually closing out game one 25-15. While still not sharp in game two, Seward was down just 8-6, but Barton would go on another midgame run to take a five point 15-10 lead to force a Seward timeout. The Lady Saints showed some grit as they fought back to within two at 18-16 but would stumble down the stretch as Barton closed game two on a 7-2 burst to take a 2-0 lead on the Lady Saints with the 25-18 win. Down but not out was the feeling for the Lady Saints who made a living this season coming from behind in big matches. However, this was not going to be a match that could be added to that list as they fell behind 6-0 in game three and it wouldn’t get any prettier from there. Like sharks smelling blood in the water, Barton continued to attack the Lady Saints who looked like a totally different team than the one that was celebrating on the same court one hour prior. The Cougs built on their lead to 13-4 and then threw it in overdrive, to which the Lady Saints had no answer, as Barton went on to pop Seward’s bubble with a 25-7 game three win to complete the sweep and send themselves to the NJCAA National Tournament as Region VI Champions and end the Lady Saints season in second place.
Fernandes ended her Seward career much like she had throughout, on top of the Lady Saint stat sheet with 9 kills and a block while the player she might just pass the torch to, Souza finished with 8 and 13 digs in the defeat. Malouff connected on 28% of her sets and finished with 26 assists while Winkelman continued to climb up the all-time digs chart with a team high 14.
The Lady Saints finish the 2010 season with a 23-18 record and in 2nd place in the Region VI Tournament. After starting the season 10-1 and struggling throughout the middle portion of their slate, the Lady Saints again found their footing at the end amidst some obstacles as they took care of business in 8 of their final 11 matches of the season.
A trio of Lady Saints etched their names in the record books forever as Madison Winkelman finishes the 2010 season with the second most digs in a season in school history with 676, Maddy Taylor finishes her Seward career with 1,348 helpers, good for 9th all-time, and Sheina Fernandes finishes her two time 1st Team All-Conference career with 287 blocks which puts her 6th all time and 767 kills which is 8th on the all-time list.
In front of a packed house both nights of the Pepsi Classic this weekend in the Greenhouse, the Seward County Saints put on an offensive exhibition in a pair of wins over the Colorado Kings and the Neosho County Panthers, winning 119-101 over the Kings Friday and 102-59 over Neosho on Saturday night to start the 2010-2011 season 2-0.
Seward’s first points of the season came off of the smooth stroke of Jeremy Jones who stepped to the line on the Saints first possession and knocked down a pair of free throws to put the guys in green up 2-0. The Kings would play the Saints close early and held a one point advantage until Daveon Boardingham got loose inside for a bucket to put Seward up 9-8. That set off a 12-0 run for Seward that was capped by a three pointer from Phil Hawkins to put the Saints on top 19-8. The Saints would keep their distance from the Kings through most of the half as they saw their lead swell to 14 at 36-22 with 11 minutes to go in the half after a give and go finish from Jones with an assist from Marky Nolen. Moments later the Saints would see their largest lead of the half at 15 when Marquez Patterson buried a jumped on Hawkin’s 5th assist of the first 13 minutes. Still up a dozen with 3:45 to go in the half, the Kings would outscore Seward 7-2 in the next two minutes to reduce the Saints lead to 55-48 and looked to take momentum into the half until the Saints scored 7 of their 62 first half points in the half’s final 1:20 to take a 62-50 lead into the locker room. The Saints shot 56% and forced 13 turnovers in the first 20 minutes but Colorado banged home 10 threes to minimize their deficit to just 12 at the break.
The Saints would come out of the locker room as hot as they finished the first half as they outscored the Kings 10-3 in the first 2:30 to take their largest lead of the game at 72-53. Seward’s offensive onslaught continued through the middle of the half but the combination of the Colorado offense and the lack of Seward defense wouldn’t allow them to pull too far away until an offensive rebound and putback from Tyler Brashears gave them their first 20+ point lead of the night at 103-83. With the century mark behind them, Seward wasn’t done as they continued to pile up the points to 119 with a last minute jumper from Rafriel Guthrie to conclude the scoring. When all was said and done the Saints had themselves a 119-101 victory and proved their depth as six players reached double figures on the night.
Jones led the Saints in scoring with 19 while Guthrie was second on the team with 17 to go along with 5 rebounds. Nolen led the team with 8 rebounds and also scored 16 points and had 3 steals in the win. Patterson had 14 on 6 of 9 shooting in his return to the court for the Saints and Markee Mazyck and Irvin Hollinger each chipped in 11 in their first contest in the green and white. Hawkins led the Saints with 9 assists to just one turnover and also scored 5 points and had 5 rebounds.
The win for Seward was more than just another opening night victory as Friday’s victory marked the 700th win in school history.
A good early season matchup on paper, the Saints Saturday date saw the Neosho County Panthers opposite of them. Neosho had beaten Pratt by 11 on Friday to set up the cross conference battle between Seward from the West and the Panthers from the East side of the Jayhawk Conference. As soon as the game started it was all Seward. The Saints scored the first five points of the game and Neosho failed to scratch the scoreboard until over 2:30 into the contest as Seward had a 5-2 lead. The Saints would then go on a 12-0 run and a 15-2 run without allowing a Neosho field goal in over four minutes. Leading 20-4, Seward continued to put the pressure on the Panthers on both sides of the court. They pushed their lead to 19 at 27-8 and then to 40-15 thanks to a slew of Neosho turnovers and quick offense off of the fast break opportunities. The Panthers would cut the lead to under 20 for just seconds until a Marky Nolen finish inside would again give the Saints a 21 point advantage at 47-26 as the half came to a close. Seward shot 47% in the first half and forced 17 Neosho turnovers while allowing just one Panther three pointer to fall in 14 attempts.
As the second half got underway, the Saints offense started right where it left off, scoring 7 of the first 8 points of the half to go up 27 as they were doubling up the Panthers 54-27. The Lead would hit 30 after Jeremy Jones connected on both the front and back ends of a trip to the line to make it 66-36 and moments later a three ball from Rafriel Guthrie on a dish from Phil Hawkins would push the lead to 73-42 in favor of Seward. While the Saints starters began to take a rest on the bench, the Seward depth began to show itself as they put the Panthers further and further in the hole. A jumper from Marquez Patterson would give the Saints their first 40 point lead of the night and back to back makes less than a minute later from Raphael Giaimo and Tyler Brashears would give Seward their largest lead of the game at 90-45. The Saints pinnacle lead of the night came when they were again doubling up Neosho 94-47 with 4:33 to go and the only left to do was see if the Saints were going to get to 100 for the second straight night. They did just that when Chris Chaney knocked down a pair of shots from the charity stripe and went on to come away with the 102-59 win.
Nolen led all scorers with 22 points while Jones put up 17 to go along with a game high 6 assists. Brashears and Patterson combined for 21 points off the bench for the Saints and Giaimo showed flashes of what could be to come in the paint for Seward this season with 9 points and 5 rebounds in 9 minutes of work. Seward forced 33 Panther turnovers and held them to under 30% shooting on the night.
Seward will sit on their 2-0 record for a week before heading back to game action Friday and Saturday when they travel up Highway 83 to take on Clarendon and Highland in the Garden City Classic. The Saints will play both days at 3:30 in the Perryman Center.
With eight of nine players suiting up in the green and white for the first time in their careers, Seward County Lady Saints fans might not have known what to expect when their team opened up their 2010-2011 season in the Greenhouse during the Pepsi Classic this weekend. The new look Lady Saints gave the home crowd high hopes on Friday night with a blowout 81-36 win over Neosho and nearly gave them a heart attack before eventually coming back to win 60-57 Saturday night against Ranger College.
With the buzz of a new season in the air the Lady Saints were introduced to a packed Greenhouse and gave them something to cheer about right away. Ashlynn Knoll scored Seward’s first points of the 2010-2011 campaign on a mid range jumper set up by Mattie Yanke and the Lady Saints allowed just 2 points in the first 5 minutes to take a 10-2 lead after a 10 footer from Kayla Thomas found the bottom of the net. Baskets from Mariah Lee and Knoll on back to back possessions before the media timeout would give Seward a 10 point lead at 17-7 and Hannah Rotolo would tack onto the advantage with a steal and score to put the Lady Saints up a dozen. Leading 20-9 with 7:16 to go in the half, the Lady Saints would go on a 21-0 run to blow the game wide open as seven different Seward players would score in the stretch and even after Neosho would end their draught with a hoop before the half, the Lady Saints led 41-11 as the teams went to the locker room. Seward’s defense was so suffocating that Neosho went without a field goal from the 12:28 mark of the half to the :25 while they forced 13 turnovers in the span. The Lady Saints ended the half forcing 19 Neosho turnovers while holding them to just 18% shooting from the field and 0 for 7 from the three point line. Seward was so balanced that no player played more than 13 minutes in the half while all 9 scored and 8 of 9 recorded at least 1 rebound.
While the Lady Panthers scored the first hoop of the second half, it didn’t get much better for former Oklahoma Sooner Kelley Newton and his gals from Chanute. Seward quickly pushed their lead to 40 just six minutes into the half when Lee grabbed a rebound and scored and wrapped up a 9-0 run with a basket from Yanke to stretch the lead to 46 at 66-20. The Lady Saints continued to pour it on Neosho and gained their largest lead of the game in the final minute when Thomas scored on an assist from Autumn Miller to put the home team up 55 points at 86-31 which would hold as the final score in the Seward win.
Six Lady Saints would score in double figures in the win led by Hanna Bognar’s 13 and Knoll’s 12. Miller finished with 11 and Lee, Rotolo, and Kelsey Willson all ended the night with 10. Both Bognar and Lee finished with double-doubles in the win as Bognar grabbed a team high 12 rebounds and Lee 10. Miller had a team high 7 assists compared to just 1 turnover while Rotolo’s return to Liberal saw her fill up all columns of the stat sheet as she finished with 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals to go along her 10 points.
It looked like the Lady Saints were starting off Saturday night’s game with Ranger the same way they had played throughout the night on Friday after Mattie Yanke banged home a three pointer on Seward’s first possession and Kayla Thomas knocked down a triple moments later to put the gals in green up 8-2 five minutes in. Seward would continue to launch the three ball from the outside but it simply wasn’t falling and after holding the lead for the first 10:30 of the first half, a defensive breakdown and layup inside by Ranger’s Chelsea Chimney, the Lady Rangers took their first lead of the night 16-15. Back to back baskets from Ashlynn Knoll and Kelsey Willson, both on assists from Autumn Miller, would put Seward back up by three 19-16. After a free throw from Mariah Lee made it 20-16 in favor of Seward, the Lady Rangers went on a 4-0 run to tie things up at 20 with 5:32 to go in the half. Seward would score 5 straight points and looked as if they would take a lead into the half but Ranger would outscore the Lady Saints 7-2 in the final 3:20 of the half and went into the locker room with a 30-29 lead to the bewilderment of the Greenhouse crowd. Despite turning the ball over 13 times, Ranger held the lead thanks in part to just 31% shooting from the Lady Saints. The lone bright spot for the Seward offense was Knoll who finished the half with 10 points and 5 rebounds on 4 of 9 shooting.
After a stern halftime talk with Coach Toby Wynn, the Lady Saints looked to come out of the locker room ready to go. Lee would score on Seward’s opening possession to put the Lady Saints back on top 31-30 and Knoll would continue her hot shooting on Seward’s next trip to extend the lead to 33-30. Hannah Rotolo would hit a three pointer to answer a bucket from Ranger and Seward was up four 36-32. The Lady Saints would then go cold for the next 4:30 and would be held without a point as their lead evaporated and the Lady Rangers took a three point lead of their own at 39-36. Seward’s offense would remain dormant and it seemed as if each time they did find a way to score on the offensive end, they couldn’t get that much needed stop on the other end as Ranger actually extended their lead to five points and then six with 6:20 to go. The Lady Saints would step up their defense and hold Ranger without a point for the next three minutes and although still shooting at a basket with a lid on it, found their way to the free throw line four times, capitalizing on each of their opportunities to cut their deficit to just two at 53-51. A couple of easy looks for the Lady Rangers would allow them to take their lead back to five with just 2:23 to go and it looked as if the Lady Saints were in danger of dropping just their 10th game in the Greenhouse in the past 20 seasons. That’s when Kelsey Willson stepped out from her usual spot in the post to drill a much needed three pointer and get the Lady Saints back rolling in the right direction. After a defensive stop, Knoll knocked down a free throw to cut the lead to 57-56 and on Seward’s next possession then would get a mid range jumper with 1:04 to go from Knoll to give them their first lead since the 18:26 mark. Rotolo and Miller would each make one of two free throw attempts on separate trips to put the Lady Saints up three with 4 seconds to go and a desperation three from the Lady Rangers would go long as the horn sounded and Seward escaped with a 60-57 win at home. Seward would hold Ranger scoreless for the last 2:23 of the game to come away with the win in front of an again thrilled home crowd.
The Lady Saints come away with the win despite shooting just 29% from the field and turning the ball over an uncharacteristic 19 times. The big difference on the stat sheet came at the free throw line where the Lady Saints outscored the Lady Rangers 18-3 on the night as well as in the rebounding compartment where Seward grabbed 17 offensive boards to just 6 for Ranger. Leading the way for Seward offensively was Knoll who finished with a game high 20 points and a team high 7 rebounds. Seward’s depth was again a strength as eight of nine Lady Saints scored in the game with their top scorer from Friday night being the only player not to get on the board. Willson finished the night with 14 points and 6 rebounds and Rotolo scored 8 and had 4 rebounds.
The Lady Saints will now hit the road on Friday and Saturday when they head to the Sports Arena in Hutchinson to take on Moberly Area College and Bethany JV at 1:30 on both days.