With 986 career wins, 13 Jayhawk West Championships, 5 Jayhawk West Coach of the Year Awards, an NJCAA Hall of Fame induction, and many other awards to his credit, Seward County Community College Head Baseball Coach Galen McSpadden doesn’t have a whole lot of room left in his trophy case for another award but this January he will gladly make some space as it was announced Monday that he would be inducted into the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame.
McSpadden joins the likes of Major League Baseball Hall of Famers Walter Johnson and Fred Clarke in the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame which is located in Wichita. McSpadden’s Kansas baseball roots were planted in 1972 when he came to Liberal to play for the Liberal Bee Jays where he spent parts of three seasons with the club. After pitching opening night for the Bee Jays in 1974 McSpadden was drafted by the San Diego Padres spent the next five seasons in the organization. After an arm injury derailed his pitching career, McSpadden came back to Liberal where he joined the Bee Jays as a pitching coach. In 1981 he took over the Seward County Community College baseball program and has been re-writing the record books ever since. Now in his 30th season with the Saints, McSpadden’s list of accomplishments are a mile long. Some of the more notable accomplishments include his 986 wins entering this season, which currently ranks him 23rd all time and 8th in active coaching wins, 12 Jayhawk West titles in the past 17 seasons, 71 Division 1 signees in the past 10 years, and 18 players named All-American’s under his guidance at Seward County among others.
He will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame on January 22, 2011 at Hillside Christian Church in Wichita where he will be enshrined along with Virgil Barnes, Gayle Bryant, Les Davis, and Rod Kanehl.
After putting together a huge 16 point, 14 rebound game Friday night in Seward County’s 67-66 win over previously undefeated Northeastern and hitting a game winning shot with 1.5 seconds remaining on the clock Saturday night in the Lady Saints 58-56 win over Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Seward freshman Ashlynn Knoll has been named the KJCCC Player of the Week. Knoll led Seward to the 2-0 sweep of the Pepsi Classic by averaging 12 points and 12.5 rebounds per game in the pair of wins. Her 14 rebounds against the Plainswomen Friday were a career high and following that up with the 11 rebound performance against NEO marked the first time this season that she recorded double digit rebounds in back to back games. As the Lady Saints hit the break at 9-3 against one of the most difficult schedules in the country thus far, Knoll currently leads the team in rebounding at 6.8 per game and is 3rd on the club in scoring at 9.4 per game.

The Seward County Lady Saints played a total of 80 minutes of basketball this weekend in the Pizza Hut Classic. 79 minutes and 53 seconds of those 80 minutes weren’t enough to settle anything but 4.9 seconds in their first game and 1.5 seconds in their second game were enough to write a storybook as they squeaked out a pair of wins against perennial national powers in the Pizza Hut Classic to hit the Holiday Break at 9-3 overall.
Seward’s first test was a tall one as Friday night they took on 9-0 Northeastern Junior College, however NJC is a team that the Lady Saints had handled well over the past decade, so well in fact that they were unbeaten in their last nine tries against the Plainswomen. Northeastern came out of the blocks ready to turn that history around as they put together an 11-3 lead before Seward knew what hit them. The Lady Saints would slowly chip away though and after three consecutive old fashioned three point plays, Seward had the lead by one 14-13. After NJC scored to go up 15-14 the Lady Saints would go on a 9-3 dash capped by a layup inside and then a three pointer from Kelsey Willson to give Seward a 23-16 lead with 9:23 to go in the half. The teams would go back and forth until the 5:25 mark when the spread would remain the same at 29-22 before the Lady Saints would get five quick ones, including a three pointer from Mattie Yanke to give them their largest lead of the game of 12 at 34-22. The Plainswomen would close the gap before the break but Seward would still hold a comfortable 38-31 lead as the teams went to the locker rooms at half.
Northeastern would carry their late first half momentum into the start of the second half as they opened the final 20 minutes on a 7-2 spurt to cut the Lady Saints lead to just one possession at 40-38. The two would remain tight for the first five minutes of the half but the Lady Saints would again begin to pull away midway through the half and held a 51-42 lead after an offensive rebound and putback from Ashlynn Knoll at the 12 minute mark. Later on Knoll would hit a pair of free throws to keep the lead at 9 for Seward but the Plainswomen’s leading scorer Adaugo Osuala would close the gap with five quick points and as the four minute mark hit the two teams were separated by just 4, 65-61. The Lady Saints drought without a basket from the field would extend to five and then six minutes as Northeastern made a pair of free throws and then a three pointer with 1:03 to go to take a one point lead. Down by one the Lady Saints would have the ball and would use nearly all 30 seconds of the shot clock before getting a shot off to try and take the lead. Mariah Lee’s shot was off the mark but Yanke would get the offensive rebound and kick it out to Hannah Rotolo. Rotolo then fired a shot up that wouldn’t connect but again the Lady Saints would get the offensive rebound and would play for the last shot after a timeout by Coach Toby Wynn with 12 seconds remaining on the clock. Out of the timeout the ball was in Lee’s hands on a drive to the basket with time running out when she went up for the shot with 4.9 seconds remaining and was fouled hard by Maty Diallo where she would have to go to the free throw line to earn her two points. Lee knocked down her first free throw attempt to tie the game at 66 before NJC Coach Daryl Parker called a timeout to set up the Plainswomen’s ensuing play and try to ice Lee on her second attempt. The Seward freshman felt no pressure and with ice in her veins played sweet string music with the second free throw to give the Lady Saints a 67-66 lead. Northeastern would get the ball to the other end quickly and would get a decent look from 10 feet but Alicia Nichols shot would be off the mark and the Lady Saints would come away with a one point 67-66 win to hand the Plainswomen their first loss of the season.
Lee’s two free throws with 4.9 on the clock sealed the win for the Lady Saints and gave her 15 points in the contest. She finished the game 9 for 10 from the free throw line, leading the way for Seward who was 23 of 27 (85%) from the line in the game. Knoll had a career night herself, posting her first double-double of the season with 16 points and a career high 14 rebounds in the win. Yanke also had a nice night for Seward, scoring 10 points and pulling down 8 rebounds in 28 minutes of work. Rotolo scored 8 points and had a team high 7 assists in the game while also picking off 3 NJC passes for steals.
Seward wouldn’t have long to celebrate handing Northeastern their first loss of the season as Saturday night their test was just as stiff, as they would take on Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in a rematch of the 2002 NJCAA National Championship Game that the Lady Saints were victorious in. The Lady Norse came into the contest 10-4 but three of their four losses had come by three points or less on the year. The Lady Saints came out ready to go from the opening tip, taking a quick 5-0 lead on a three pointer from Rotolo and then extending the lead to seven later on with another three from Rotolo to make it 12-5. However, as quick as the lead was built it was gone as the explosive offense of the Lady Norse poured in nine points in the blink of an eye to take a 14-12 lead of their own on the Lady Saints. The two would be tied at 14 as the midway point of the first half hit and would remain deadlocked at the six minute mark with the score 19-19. Autumn Miller would bang home a three pointer from the wing to break the tie and with two minutes remaining in the half would hit another long bomb to put Seward up six 29-23. NEO would be the ones who would take momentum to the locker room though as they close the final two minutes of the half on an 8-2 run to bring the two teams back to square one at 31-31 after 20 minutes of play.
Things were not looking good for Seward early in the second half as the Lady Norse came out of the locker room on fire, scoring 13 points to just 2 for Seward in the first 6 minutes to take a commanding 11 point lead 44-33. In this game of runs, the Lady Saints decided that it was time for another for their side and so trailing by 10 with 12:10 to go in the game they would get a trio of three pointers to fall from Miller and Yanke sandwiched around an NEO free throw and were right back in the game, down just two 47-45 at the 10 minute mark. Both teams would go into a rut offensively and after an offensive rebound and putback from Knoll the teams were all tied up again, this time at 51 with 6:43 to go in the game. The next 2:30 would see just a free throw exchanged by the teams so with 4 minutes remaining in regulation the game was still tied at 52. Rotolo would break the stalemate with 3:21 left with a pair of free throws to put Seward up 54-52 and that is where the score would stand until Lee stepped to the charity stripe and made a pair with 2:13 to go to give Seward a four point, 56-52 advantage. A basket by NEO leading scorer Inga Orekhova would draw the Lady Norse to within two and then another bucket from the All-American would knot the game up at 56-56 with 45 seconds to go. The Lady Saints would bring the ball up the court but then had trouble getting anything going as the shot clock wound down on them in what looked like it would be their final possession of the game and with 3 seconds on the shot clock Rotolo forced one up at the rim that was no good but would touch an NEO player before making its way out of bounds with 19 seconds to go. After a timeout by Seward, the Lady Saints ran through their set but as the clock began to tick under 5 seconds, it looked as if the game was going to be headed to overtime. With 3 seconds on the clock Lee rifled a pass into Knoll who had worked for position inside of the paint and Knoll caught the pass, turned around and found the bottom of the net with 1.5 to go to give the Lady Saints a 58-56 lead. NEO inbounded the ball but would not even get a shot off and Seward County would go on to win the thrilled by a count of 58-56 over the Lady Norse.
Knoll would struggle on the night offensively but her game winner would make up for it all as the freshman finished with just 8 points but reached double digits in the rebounding column for the second straight night with 11. Miller and Rotolo would combined in the backcourt for 24 points as both scored an even dozen in the win while combining for six three pointers on the night. Willson would finish with 9 points and 6 rebounds and Lee 7 points and 9 rebounds as the Lady Saints went on to win by two.
The two huge wins move Seward to 9-3 as they head to the holiday break. The young Lady Saints squad has now won four straight as they take a 2 ½ week layoff before heading down to the Sunshine State to take on St. Petersburg and Hillsborough on December 29th & 30th.
On a weekend that contained two games with polar opposite storylines, the Seward County Saints picked up a pair of wins in the Pizza Hut Classic to move to 10-2 overall on the season as they ready themselves for the Christmas break and then the Jayhawk West Conference season after the New Year. Friday night the Saints were shocked to find themselves in a dogfight with TAAG Prep Academy late in the game and then in dire straits when the Ambassadors hit a shot with just over 6 seconds to go to give them the lead. Seward’s Marky Nolen would take the ball on the inbounds the length of the court, launching and missing a shot with 2 seconds to go before getting his own rebound and ‘tipping’ it in from nearly the free throw line as time expired to give the Saints a one point, 84-83 win. Saturday Seward would control the game throughout against the Colorado Kings and would come out on top of an 84-76 decision at the end of the night.
With a prep school in for their Friday night matchup and one that had driven to Liberal from Tampa, Florida, it was expected that the Saints would have a pretty easy go of things when they hit the court against TAAG Academy in their first contest of the weekend. That assumption could not have been any more wrong as the Ambassadors came to play and the Saints found out early that they would be in for a 40 minute battle with them. Both teams would have a hard time finding the hole on offense early and were tied at just 6 nearly five minutes in. Seward’s Daveon Boardingham would knock down a free throw to give the Saints a 7-6 lead but TAAG would go on a 7-2 run in the next two minutes and would take their largest lead of the game at 13-9. Down 16-13 moments later the Saints would score the next 8 points of the game on baskets from Phil Hawkins, Jeremy Jones, and Boardingham to take a 21-16 lead of their own with 9:15 to go in the half but would not be able to shake the Ambassadors as they turned around and scored on their next three consecutive possessions to retake the lead at 23-21. Seward would finish the half strong and a three pointer by Marquez Patterson as time wound down before the break would put them up 38-34 as the teams headed to the locker rooms at half.
Seward would come out of the break ready to go on offense and quickly opened up their largest lead of the game at 12 with a connection inside from Nolen to Irvin Hollinger to make it 55-43 Saints with 14:50 to go in the half. Still up double digits 68-58 with under eight minutes to go in the game it looked as if the Saints had weathered the storm from TAAG but the Ambassadors would make another run to cut the Seward lead to two and would tie the game at 75 with a pair of free throws with just four minutes to go and the teams would start all over at square one. The teams would trade points to 79-79 before Hawkins hit one of two from the line to give the Saints the lead 80-79 with one minute to go. TAAG’s Juan Ferrales would then drive inside and score to give the Ambassadors the one point lead but Markee Mazyck would be fouled on Seward’s ensuing possession and would knock down both free throws to put the Saints up 82-81 with just 16 seconds remaining on the clock. With the game on the line, TAAG’s Tyler Gaskins found his way inside and banked a shot off the glass and in with 6 seconds left to give the Ambassadors an 83-82 lead. Instead of calling a timeout to draw up a play the Saints would rush the ball up the court with the clock ticking down and Nolen would launch up a wild shot from the wing with 2 seconds to go that would hit hard off the backboard and then the rim before shooting out to near the free throw line in the air. Just when it looked as if the major upset was going to be pulled, Nolen came out of nowhere and with one swift swing of his right arm, contacted the ball as time was expiring on the clock. In almost slow motion the ball made its way to the rim and bounced hardly off of the glass before finding its way through the middle of the hoop to give the Saints a 84-83 win in the most dramatic of fashions. An exuberant Saints team stormed the court to celebrate the miraculous shot while the TAAG squad stood in disbelief of what had just happened.
Nolen’s ‘tip’ in, for lack of a better term, finished up a very good night for him in which he recorded his 3rd double-double of the season and 8th of his Seward County career with 14 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Boardingham led the Saints offensively with a career high 17 points, the Seward freshman also pulled down 6 rebounds and had 4 blocked shots before fouling out of the game late. Jones was 7 for 10 from the field and finished with 16 points as well as a team high 7 assists while Mazyck and Hawkins both finished with 10 points apiece.
On Saturday the Saints were opposite a veteran Colorado Kings team who Dodge City had to take into overtime 24 hours prior before coming away with a victory. On this night the Saints would make things much easier on themselves as they scored on their first possession and would lead the contest throughout. Seward would open up a 16-7 lead just five minutes into the game after three pointers on back to back possessions by Hawkins and Patterson. The Kings would cut the Saints lead to four as the two teams neared the midway point of the half but an 18-6 five minute stretch for Seward would put them in the driver’s seat as they took a 40-24 lead. The Kings would finish the half by hitting a trio of late three point shots however and as the teams went to the break the Saints lead was back to single digits at 43-35.
Out of the half Hawkins would nail another three for Seward and an offensive rebound and score from Raphael Giaimo would quickly put them up 13. The Saints would continue rolling and would hold a sizeable advantage through the majority of the second 20 minutes of play. With 7:37 to go in the game it looked as if the Saints were going to be able to put it into cruise control as they took a 20 point advantage at 72-52 but the Kings weren’t ready to roll over just quite yet. Colorado would find the bucket on nine of their next ten trips down the court and would hold the Saints to just two points during the same span to close the gap from 20 down to 4 in a matter of just four minutes. So, with 3:33 left on the clock, things were interesting once again as the Kings looked for their second straight late game comeback after taking Dodge City to overtime with a last second shot one day earlier. Out of a timeout Patterson would slash to the hole and find Boardingham who finished inside to give the Saints a six point advantage and then Rafriel Guthrie ripped the cords the next two times down the court for Seward to put them up ten 80-70 with just 1:50 to go in the game. The Kings would make a pair of three pointers in the last two minutes but Nolen would get a couple baskets of his own for Seward and as the final horn sounded the Saints would go on to win by the final count of 84-76.
If you looked at the shooting numbers alone you might be surprised to see that the Saints chalked one up in the win column as they were outshot 47% to 42% from the field, 41% to 38% from the three point line and 70% to 67% from the free throw line, however Seward controlled the boards in the win, outrebounding the Kings 47 to 35 and forced 17 turnovers while committing just 11 themselves. Nolen led the Saints individually with 15 points while Guthrie and Patterson had a dozen each for Seward. Hawkins finished with 10 points and 4 assists for the Saints and Boardingham narrowly missed another double-double with 10 rebounds and 8 points on the night.
The Saints now hit the holiday break at 10-2 and will enjoy a three week break before hitting the hardwood again on New Year’s Day in Chanute against 9th ranked Missouri State West Plains in the Neosho County New Years Classic.
The Seward County Lady Saints got back on track this weekend with wins over a 7-1 Otero team on Friday afternoon and then a win over 8-4 Lamar on their home court Saturday night. The Lady Saints came out on the good end of a 45-43 slugfest with the Rattlers in their first contest before putting together a 51 point second half to knock off the Lady Lopes on Saturday.
After dropping three of their last four contests going into the weekend, Seward County knew that the 7-1 Otero Lady Rattlers weren’t going to be the easiest team in the world to get things back on track against. Both teams struggled through the first half offensively with Otero coming out of the chutes with the lead before the Lady Saints slowly worked themselves back into it and took a lead of their own halfway through the first period. Seward would hold a one point advantage, 23-22 at the break as both teams would head to their locker rooms with more turnovers than field goals in the half.
It didn’t get much easier for Seward or Otero during the second half as the two teams continued to struggle to put points on the board. The Lady Saints would hold a slight margin through most of the half and would eventually get enough defensive stops to hang on and pick up the 45-43 win over the Rattlers. The final stat lines were not pretty for either team as Otero shot 27% from the field as a team and the Lady Saints 28%. Seward was 2 for 15 from the three point arc while Otero was 4 for 22 and the pair combined to go just 16 for 34 from the charity stripe.
Individually for the Lady Saints, Kayla Thomas led the way, posting a double-double with a career high 12 points and 12 rebounds to go along with 3 steals. Mariah Lee finished the contest with 10 points and 8 rebounds and Kelsey Willson also cracked double digits with 11 in the win. Hanna Bognar was a big part of the Lady Saints stymieing defense, coming up with 5 big blocked shot and 4 rebounds in her 12 minutes of work.
Looking to keep things rolling in their second game of the weekend, the Lady Saints now stood opposite of Lamar on their home court Saturday night. The arrow pointed towards the Lopes in nearly every statistical category in the first half as they outshot Seward and beat them on the boards 24-16 but the Lady Saints won the turnover battle, forcing 16 Lamar miscues in the half and took a three point, 28-25 lead into the break.
With the way that the first half went, it looked as if the Lady Saints were going to have another dogfight on their hands in the LCC Wellness Center but Seward bolted out of the locker rooms on a 30-6 run to take a 58-31 lead and continued to put it on the home team for the remainder of the half, coming away at the end with a 39 point, 79-40 victory. Seward torched the nets for 51 second half points on 57% shooting and connected on 6 of 13 long range shots. They held Lamar to just 15 points on 18% shooting and forced nearly twice as many turnovers as the Lopes would make buckets in the half.
Five Lady Saints would score 10 or more points in the victory including Hannah Rotolo and Autumn Miller who scored 14 points each and combined for 8 assists in the game. Ashlynn Knoll scored 11 points and had a team high 9 rebounds for the Lady Saints while Thomas finished with 11 and Lee 10 in the win. Mattie Yanke filled up the stat sheet with 8 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals and Willson finished with a matching 7 points and 7 rebounds on the night.
The much needed victories move the Lady Saints to 7-3 overall on the season as they return home this weekend for the Pizza Hut Classic. In the classic the Lady Saints road will not get any easier as the schedule may get some minds thinking back to 2002 and Seward’s NJCAA National Tournament run as they will take on the team they defeated in the first round in overtime, 9-0 Northeastern Junior College at 6:00 on Friday night followed by a championship game rematch, 9 years later, with Northeastern Oklahoma A&M on Saturday at 6:00. Pizza Hut is this weekend’s buyout sponsor and will have free tickets throughout the week at either Liberal location.