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The Seward County Lady Saints Basketball team is one that relies heavily on their aggressive defense and gritty play on the offensive end. Wednesday night at the Perryman Center in Garden City, the Lady Saints weathered an offensive outburst from the Lady Broncbusters and put on an equally impressive offensive show of their own. Garden City came out on fire against the Lady Saints behind the hot shooting of guards Katie Novack and Cheree Freeman who combined for 33 first half points including three three-pointers a piece in the first 20 minutes. LaNell Taylor was the answer for the Lady Saints, matching the aerial assault of the Lady Busters with a trio of three-pointers for herself on route to a 13 point first half. Going into the locker room at halftime Garden City, a team who has averaged just 58 points a game in conference play, led Seward County, a team who given up less than 40 points in three of their last four games, 46-38. Seward County came out of the break amped up and took advantage of early Garden City turnovers to score nine quick points and take the lead 47-46. Just when you thought Garden had finally cooled off however, Novack drained another three pointer to put Garden City back on top. The teams raced up and down the court in the second half and traded the lead back and forth until Garden City point guard Tynisha Allen strung together three straight turnovers on consecutive possessions that led to six Seward County points and gave them the lead for good. 5’2 freshman guard Megan Lassley took over the second half for the Lady Saints scoring 17 second half points on her way to a career high 22 point night to help secure the 97-89 win. Rachel Barnes scored 19 second half points and grabbed 5 big rebounds to record yet another double-double as she finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds while Vannessa Simmons flirted with a triple-double scoring 10 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, and swiping up 7 steals. Freeman and Novack both finished the game with 30 points on 13 of 16 shooting from downtown. The 97 points for Seward was the most they had scored since the first game of the season when they dropped 106 on Friends University JV. Garden’s 89 points in the loss was by far the most they had scored against any NJCAA team this season surpassing the 67 they scored against Independence in the Jayhawk Shootout. The win propels Seward County to 18-3 on the season and 6-1 in Jayhawk West Conference Play and brings them to their next game with Butler Saturday at home in the Green House at 6:00. Saturday night will be Bailey Crandall poster night where the first 75 fans through the door will have the opportunity to get a free poster of Bailey and have her sign it at halftime of the men’s game. Free tickets are available at Wendy’s in Liberal throughout the week.
With two of the Jayhawk West’s top three offenses on display Wednesday night at the Perryman Center, fans of both the Seward County Saints and the Garden City Broncbusters expected a high flying affair. They got little of that in a defensive struggle that resembled a black and blue division football game. Seward County came out strong and played the brand of defense we have come to expect from the Saints, jumping to an early 10-2 lead and holding Garden to those two points for nearly eight minutes. The Saints were unable to tack onto the lead and quickly found the Busters gaining momentum and their eight point lead was soon cut to one. Seward County never trailed through the first half and took a 28-26 lead into the half. Drew Jones led all scorers at the break with six points after hitting a couple of clutch three’s for the Saints in the first 20 minutes. The second half started much as the first ended with the teams trading an occasional bucket packed inside numerous defensive stops. Fred Williams and Richard Thomas knocked down two three-pointers a piece midway through the second half to put Garden up for the first time all night at 47-46 and the Busters would never relinquish the lead again. Marquez Patterson was on the brink of cutting the Broncbuster lead to three with a breakaway layup with just under three minutes left when he inexplicably slipped under the basket and was called for traveling. On the ensuing possession Garden City broke through the Seward County press and found themselves on a 2 on 1 situation going to the basket against the Saints Marcus James. James made the right play by committing a hard foul to force Garden’s Trevor Ottley to the line instead of give up the easy layup but the scorer’s table notified the officials that it was Marcus’ fifth and final foul when seemingly everyone else in the building had that as just number four on James. After a lengthy heated discussion with officials, Seward County Coach Bryan Zollinger was told by the officials that there was nothing that they could do since the official scorers book had James down for five fouls. After Ottley hit the first free throw to give the Busters a six point lead, the second free throw was missed and wasn’t able to be corralled by the four Saints under the boards and Garden gained the extra possession and salted the game away from the Saints in the 68-55 decision. The loss drops the Saints to 16-5 overall and 3-4 in Jayhawk West Conference play. Their next action will come Saturday night at home at 8:00 against the Butler Grizzlies who have struggled to just a 1-4 record on the road this season. Saturday night will be Steve Hooks poster night where you can pick up a free poster of Steve before the game and have him sign it at halftime of the women’s game. Free tickets are available at Wendy’s in Liberal throughout the week.
In a rare Sunday afternoon affair, the Seward County Lady Saints and Saints both took care of business, albeit in drastically different ways, against the Conquistadors of Dodge City. The #14 Lady Saints hit the court first for the 2:00 tip and immediately took control of the game and never looked back. Opening up an early 21-5 advantage and cruising on their way to a 51 point first half, Coach Toby Wynn and the Lady Saints took a 30 point lead into the locker room. After playing nearly flawlessly in the first half to open up their lead, Seward County set the bar high for their expectations in the second half and lived up to those expectations by holding the Lady Conqs to just 18% shooting and 18 points in the second half to secure their third 40 point win in four tries. In the victory, all 11 Lady Saints scored at least five points and grabbed two rebounds. Leading the way on the stat sheet were Rachel Barnes who had a team high 14 points to go along with 6 rebounds while Amanda Pierson pitched in 13 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Vannessa Simmons notched five a piece in the points, rebounds, assists, and steals category and Megan Lassley went 3-6 from the field, good for 7 points and had 6 assists without a turnover. The win brings Seward County to 17-3 overall and 5-1 in the Jayhawk West Conference. Their next contest will pit them against Garden City on the road Wednesday night, who has picked up two conference home wins in four tries so far this season.
The Seward County Men’s team returned to action in a Sunday afternoon matinee contest after a much needed eight day layoff. The Saints were on the road to face the Dodge City Conquistadors in a key midseason matchup between the two regional rivals. Coming into the game, Dodge was 2-1 in conference play at home and was just six points away from being 4-2 in Jayhawk West Conference action after a four point road loss to Butler and a two point road loss to Pratt earlier in the month. The game lived up to its billing as both teams exchanged the lead in the first half time and time again and were deadlocked at 33 going to the break. The second half brought much of the same as both teams opened up their own six point leads at times but were not able to hold onto them as each team found a way to battle back to even the score. With the game tied at 63, the Saints Thijin Moses missed a contested runner in the lane and Dodge grabbed the rebound with two seconds left. After a Conq timeout, a Mykael Thompson full court pass attempt was picked off by the Saints Marcus James which sent the game to overtime. Nobody was able to put the ball in the basket in the first two and a half minutes of overtime and the game remained tied at 63 when the Saints offense kicked into high gear. Seward County was able to score seven points in the final 150 seconds while holding Dodge to just two baskets and coming away with the 70-67 thriller win at the Civic Center. Marcus James completely took over the game late in the second half, finishing the contest with career highs in both points (29) and rebounds (14). Thijin Moses drilled six of seven free-throw attempts to finish the game with 18 points and Marquez Patterson hit two key three-point attempts in the second half and came away with 10 points to go along with his four assists on the afternoon. Rodney Clinkscales single handedly kept the Conqs in the game scoring 27 points by connecting on six shots from beyond the arc in the loss. “Against our style of defense, guys are going to have big games if they can knock down open shots when they get them” Coach Bryan Zollinger said. “But as you can see, one player can’t win you a game (looking down the stat sheet to see that only one other player was in double-digits). Wilt Chamberlain averaged 50 points a game one season and his team didn’t win the championship, so as long as we can contain the team as a whole, we are going to have a good chance to win those games that one guy goes off in.” The win brings the Saints to 16-4 overall and 3-3 in Jayhawk West Conference play. Their next action will come Wednesday on the road at Garden City in a pivotal conference matchup between two teams log jammed in the middle of the standings at 3-3.
Seward County Saints sophomore forward Thijin Moses has been named the Jayhawk Conferences’ Player of the Week for his performances last week against Pratt and Cloud County. In each game last week Moses scored 16 points and grabbed 7 rebounds including draining three free-throws with less than one second left on the clock in overtime to tie the Cloud game and send it into a second overtime. Moses’ success from the line shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone however as he currently has the highest free-throw shooting percentage in the entire conference. Moses and his Saints will resume practice today in preparation for their toughest stretch of the season bringing them five games in 10 days starting Sunday at Dodge City.
In a week in which her stat lines in both games were identical, Seward County sophomore center Amanda Pierson has been named the NJCAA National Player of the Week. Pierson led the Lady Saints to their 7th and 8th consecutive wins last week while scoring 14 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, and swatting away 4 shots in each game. The sophomore from Belleville has been the anchor of the Lady Saints inside presence all year leading the team in both rebounding, blocked shots, and shooting percentage and a close second in points per contest with 10.6.
The Seward County Lady Saints and Saints longest conference road trip of the season was definitely one to forget Saturday night, as both teams came home without a win. In front of a packed house in Concordia the 13th ranked Lady Saints took on the 15th ranked Lady T-Birds to open the night. Cloud took an 11 point lead early in the game with reigning NCAA National Player of the Week Amanda Pierson sidelined due to foul trouble but the Lady Saints fought back to cut the lead to just four going into the half. The Lady T-Birds wouldn’t allow the Lady Saints to get any closer in the second half however as they continued to pound the offensive glass, where they got 20 second chance opportunities Saturday night, to salt the game away late in a 87-71 win for Cloud. Seward certainly felt the effects of having Pierson in foul trouble the majority of the game and their other center, Nadia Rosario, out of the game due to injury. Cloud outrebounded Seward 52 to 38 on the night and made their way to the free-throw line 34 times as the Lady Saints were only awarded 12 shots from the charity stripe. Rachel Barnes had another good game for the Lady Saints scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds while Vannessa Simmons scored 14 and had 6 rebounds in the loss. The loss drops the Lady Saints to 16-3 overall and 4-1 in the Jayhawk West Conference. They will enjoy an 8 day layoff before starting their most trying stretch of their 2008-09 schedule where they will play five games in 10 days including pivotal conference matchups against Hutchinson and Barton County on the back end of that stretch.
The Seward County Men’s team was looking for its third straight conference win Saturday night at Bryant Gymnasium against the host Thunderbirds of Cloud. The Saints got off to a slow start but were able to hang around in the first half and trailed just eight going into the break. A fired up Saints team came out rejuvenated in the second half battling back and exchanging the lead with the T-birds throughout the middle and end of the half. With under a minute left, Tony Smith was able to connect on one of two free throws to give Seward a 73-71 lead but Cloud wasn’t going to go down without a fight and was able to rattle in a baseline jumper on their next possession to tie the game at 73. With the shot clock off, Seward looked to get the last shot in regulation but with just five seconds left, the Saints turned the ball over without getting a shot and leaving them with one defensive possession to get a stop and send the game to overtime. That is just what they did as a Jemal Farmer shot rimmed out as the clock expired and sent the game to overtime. The Saints and the T-Birds traded baskets in overtime but Cloud scored on their final possession to give the home squad an 84-81 lead with just seconds left on the game clock. As many fans were getting their belongings ready to head home, Thijin Moses was fouled on a desperation shot with under a second left on the clock and headed to the line needing to make all three of his free-throw attempts to send the game to a second overtime. With ice in his veins, Moses knocked down all three of the free-throws with the capacity crowd on the edge of their chairs trying to deter him from doing so to send the game to a second overtime. Twice in the second overtime Seward County held 4 point leads but as Smith and Marcus James fouled out of the game, the Saints relinquished the leads as they had the ball again with the shot clock off and a 92-92 game staring them in the face. Coach Bryan Zollinger called a timeout to design a play to hopefully take the lead and the game at the horn but the Saints inexplicably stepped out of bounds with 10 second left to give the ball back to the Thunderbirds. Cloud took advantage by scoring on their next possession and went on to win the hard fought battle 94-92. The loss drops the Saints to 15-4 overall and 2-3 in Jayhawk West Conference play. The Saints will now have a much needed 8 day break before jumping back into play Sunday at Dodge City to kick off five games in 10 days for Seward County.
Rachel Barnes and Tony Smith took home Jayhawk West Player of the Week honors on their respective sides this week as announced by the KJCCC. Barnes, a freshman from Windsor, Connecticut, had been at the front of the Lady Saints 8 game winning streak averaging 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 steals a game over her last five games. Last week she led the Lady Saints to wins over Barton County and Colby to move them to 3-0 in Jayhawk West Conference play. Smith, a freshman from Greenville, North Carolina, has been the backbone for the Saints all season and has picked up his scoring since teammate Latiq Agard has been down with an injury. In the Saints two games last week Smith averaged 28 points, 7 rebounds, and 10 assists a game in leading the Saints to a 1-1 record. Both players will lead their teams into battle tonight at home against Pratt with the Lady Saints tipping off at 6 and the Saints at 8.
All eyes in the Midwest were on the Green House Wednesday night for two classic matchups between Jayhawk West heavyweights in Seward County and Barton County. Kicking off the night were the 13-2 Seward County Lady Saints and the 10-5 Barton County Cougars. The two teams went back and forth most of the contest while the Lady Saints held a four point halftime lead. Seward County built up a 12 point lead early in the second half but the Cougars were not about to let the Lady Saints run away with their second straight conference victory and battled back late to cut the Seward lead to just 2 at 61-59 with just over eight minutes to play. The Lady Saints pulled away late thanks to a couple of big defensive stops combined with adequate free-throw shooting to propel them to their 7th straight win overall and a 2nd straight win in the Jayhawk West Conference. Seward County was again led by Rachel Barnes who dropped in 17 points for the second straight game. The Lady Saints inside combination of Nadia Rosario and Amanda Pierson combined for 26 points and 13 rebounds giving coach Toby Wynn a viable threat inside after the two scored 25 and grabbed 18 rebounds in the Lady Saints big road win against Hutch Saturday. Vannessa Simmons and Megan Lassley both added 9 points apiece for Seward County while the 5’3 Lassley led the Lady Saints with 7 rebounds. Simmons added 5 rebounds and 5 assists to her point total.
Another much awaited Jayhawk West Conference Men’s Basketball game was on tap for the late game with the 13-2 22nd ranked Seward County Saints taking on the 14-1 fellow 22nd ranked Barton County Cougars in the Green House. Seward County built on the momentum of the Lady Saints earlier victory to take an 11 point lead just 13 minutes into the contest thanks to hot shooting from beyond the arc. The Cougars fought back behind 14 highlight reel first half points from University of Pacific signee Nykia Williams and a big three point shot with just 12 seconds left from Dennan Morrow to take a one point lead into the half at 41-40. The Saints outside shooting went cold to open the second half and allowed Barton to open up a comfortable 9 point cushion with just over four minutes to play. That is when Saints sophomore Thijin Moses found his stroke and rained in three’s on consecutive possessions to trim the Cougar lead to 3. Trading baskets and defensive stops back and forth in the last three minutes the Saints found themselves down just two with just under a minute left and Tony Smith heading to the line. The freshman from Greenville, North Carolina came up big sinking both free-throws to tie the game at 76. After a clutch defensive stop the Saints found themselves in an ideal situation with the ball in their hands and the shot clocks off with just 27 seconds left on the board. After draining the clock to around seven seconds, Smith put the ball on the floor en route for the hoop but was cut off by a swarming Barton defense and forced to attempt a 20 foot jump shot with time running out. Smith was stripped of the ball and Cougar guard Marcus Butler was able to streak down the court but was unable to get a shot off before regulation time expired. To overtime the two heavyweights went tied at 76. Short (literally) their two tallest players fouling out of the game, the Saints struggled to detour the Cougar inside attack and quickly fell behind by four quickly and never recovered before eventually losing 89-83. Tony Smith had a career game in the loss posting yet another near triple-double with a Saints season high 33 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists. Missing leading scorer and rebounder Latiq Agard, Marcus James stepped up by going 7 of 9 from the field good for 15 points. Thijin Moses and Drew Jones led the Saints three-point attack hitting 7 of 14 together and combining for 23 points. The Saints will have a hard time looking past the 27 point discrepancy from the free-throw line from Wednesday night as they hit just 7 of 17 attempts while Barton cashed in on 34 of 40 attempts.
The Lady Saints and Saints will be back in action at home in the Green House Saturday night in a matchup with the Trojans of Colby. After both knocking off Butler to open the conference season, the Trojans and Lady Trojans both fell at the hands of Cloud County last night. Saturday night will be Ty Hubert and Karen Brown poster night where the first 50 fans will have an opportunity to pick up a free poster of Ty and Karen and have them sign it at halftime of each game. First National Bank is the buyout sponsor is Saturday’s games and you can pick up your FREE tickets at any of their three Liberal locations. Tickets will also be available Saturday until 1 p.m. at their South location as well as all day Saturday in their Walmart location.
Coach Galen McSpadden and his Seward County Saints team will begin the 2009 season as the #12 ranked team in the country according to Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. The Saints receive the honor after finishing 42-19 last season including going 26-6 in Jayhawk West Conference play and winning 27 of their final 31 regular season contests. The Saints finished ranked 10th last season in the final NJCAA poll after reaching the quarterfinals of the Region VI Tournament a year ago where they fell to Kansas City Kansas C.C. 9-7. The Saints return three all-conference players in Keegan Morrow, Austin Terhune, and Mikel Huston as well as six other sophomores who contributed on last year’s 40 win team. The Saints will open up their season with a valentine's day weekend matchup at home against Western Nebraska C.C. on February 13th at Brent Gould Field.
Going on the road after Christmas break to start your conference season is never easy and is even harder when you have to travel to your rival Hutchinson to do so. Saturday night at the Hutchinson Sports Center, the Seward County Lady Saints made it look a lot easier than it was putting a smack down on a previously 13-1 Hutchinson team. The Lady Saints were white hot in the first half knocking down 9/12 three-point shots led by 5/5 from sophomore LaNell Taylor. Taylor hit one of her five three’s as time expired in the first half to give the Lady Saints their largest lead of the game at 56-32. To start the second half the Lady Saints pressure defense continued to give the Lady Dragons problems causing 23 Hutchinson turnovers and holding them to just 35% shooting in the game. The Lady Saints knocked down 23/33 free throw attempts in the second half to hold the lead paced by 10/11 from Amanda Pierson and 10/15 by Megan Lassley. Pierson ended the game with 18 points to go along with 12 rebounds While Rachel Barnes recorded another near double-double with 17 points and 8 rebounds. At the final horn Seward County took the victory 90-72 to pick up the win in the Jayhawk Conferences opening night. The win moves the Lady Saints to 13-2 on the season and marks their sixth straight victory. Their next action will come against a quality Barton County team at home Wednesday night, who started the season hot but has lost two of their last three games including their conference opener against #15 Cloud Saturday night.
With a big win for the ladies in the early game, the Saints Men’s team looked to build on the momentum in the building and open their season with a bang. That however didn’t happen as the host Blue Dragons jumped all over the Saints early to take an 18-6 lead just six minutes into the game but Seward County battled back thanks in part to three Drew Jones first half threes to tie the game at 38 at halftime. With some confidence going into the half, the Saints came out of the break playing well, taking a six point lead with less than five minutes left in the game. A late injury to leading scorer Latiq Agard doomed the Saints who were already missing the other half of their top scoring tandem in Thijin Moses who started the game despite an injury but played just the games first three minutes. Seward County was held to just two points and no field goals in the game’s final three and a half minutes and eventually fell to Hutch 76-69. Tony Smith paced the Saints with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, and five steals in the loss while Jon Tassin played arguably his best game of the season with 9 points and 9 rebounds. The loss is the Saints second straight after winning their first 13 of the season. The Saints road gets no easier Wednesday night against a 14-1 Barton County team who thrashed Cloud County in Concordia Saturday night 84-68.