In a week in which she led her team to a 2-0 record, vaulting them into 1st place in the Jayhawk West Conference, Seward County Lady Saints sophomore Rachel Barnes has been named KJCCC Player of the Week. Barnes has lived up to the hype early in the 2009-2010 season leading Seward in both scoring at 17.2 points per game and rebounding at 8.4 rebounds per game. Wednesday Barnes helped the Lady Saints somewhat avenge last season’s loss to Hutchinson in the Region VI Finals as she had a game high 22 points and 12 rebounds in Seward’s 53-43 win over the previously undefeated and 11th ranked Lady Dragons. Saturday while scoring just 10 points, Barnes found other ways to fill up the stat sheet in the Lady Saints 14 point road win over Barton County. Barnes grabbed 8 rebounds, dished out 7 assists, and picked off 7 steals to help Seward remain undefeated on the season and more importantly, move to the top of the Jayhawk West Standings before the break. Barnes and the Lady Saints will have their hands full this weekend in the Pizza Hut Classic as they take on 10-1, 25th ranked Northeastern JC on Friday night followed by the team picked to win the Jayhawk East Conference, Labette on Saturday night. Free tickets for this weekend’s tournament can be picked up at either Liberal Pizza Hut location or at any of the locations on the SCCC/ATS campus.
Seward County freshman forward Marky Nolen has been named the KJCCC Player of the Week for his performances last week in a pair of crucial early season conference wins for the Saints. In Seward’s conference opener against #8 Hutchinson, Nolen went 7 for 11 from the field scoring 14 points and grabbing a game high 11 rebounds in the Saints 21 point win. Against Barton County on the road Saturday night the Wichita native again scored 14 points while pulling down a team high 7 rebounds in a 10 point win to send the Saints to 2-0 in Jayhawk West Conference play. Despite being just 6’2, Nolen is currently leading the Saints in rebounding at 7 boards per game which also ranks him in the top 10 in the conference in that category. Nolen and his Saints will look to go 3-0 in conference play as they head on the road to take on Colby Wednesday night in the Community Building before returning home to take on Colorado Christian JV and Labette in the Pizza Hut Classic in the Greenhouse this weekend.
The Seward County Lady Saints Basketball Team did something Saturday night that they had failed to do in over three seasons as they went into Great Bend and knocked off the two-time defending Jayhawk West Conference Champion Barton County Lady Cougars for the first time since the 2006-2007 season to remain undefeated at 10-0 on the season.
Seward would give up a layup on their opening defensive possession but would immediately score on their first possession to answer and would never trail in the game again. Nine Lady Saints scored in the first half including Rachel Barnes who put up 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 steals in the first 20 minutes, all game highs. Seward would hold Barton to just 23 first half points on 33% shooting from the floor and would force 20 Lady Cougar turnovers in the period to push themselves out to a 15 point, 38-23 lead at the break.
The Lady Saints would continue to cause havoc for Barton’s backcourt in the second half as they would take advantage of three straight Lady Cougar turnovers to take their largest lead of the game 57-34 with just over 12 minutes remaining in the game. Seward would be whistled tightly for fouls in the next few minutes and Barton would take advantage by knocking down their bonus free throw attempts and would cut in to the Lady Saint lead to remain in the game at 62-48 but would never get to within striking distance as they lost by the same margin 70-56 as time expired.
Seward scored 34 points off 34 Barton County turnovers in the game and outscored the Lady Cougars 36 to 16 in the paint in the contest. They held the Jayhawk’s leading rebounder and 2nd leading scorer Annie Kassango to just 6 points and 7 rebounds, 12 points and 4 rebounds under her season average. Offensively Seward was led by a balanced attack as all five starters reached double figures in the game led by 14 points apiece from Vaneza Junior and Megan Lassley. Sheila Washington tied a career high with 12 points and Nadia Rosario chipped in 10 points and 6 rebounds. Rachel Barnes filled up the stat sheet in the win for Seward scoring 10 points, grabbing 8 rebounds, dishing out 7 assists, and picking off 7 steals.
The win takes Seward to 10-0 on the season and 2-0 in conference play and should continue to vault them in the NJCAA rankings that will come out Wednesday before their matchup with the Lady Trojans in Colby. The Lady Saints and Lady Trojans will tip off at 6:00 in the Community Building Wednesday before the gals in green return home to take on 10-1 Northeastern Friday and Jayhawk East favorites Labette Saturday in the Pizza Hut Classic in the Greenhouse.
Going into Saturday night’s Jayhawk West Conference tilt with defending conference champions Barton County, the Seward County Saints were looking to prove that their 21 point thumping of previously undefeated #8 Hutchinson Wednesday night was no fluke. On Barton County’s home turf, the Saints did just that coming away with a 10 point win and taking leads as big as 24 points throughout the night.
Seward started the contest hot getting 10 points in the paint in just the games first four minutes to steak themselves to a 7 point lead. This would be a sign of things to come as Seward continued to get high percentage shots throughout the first half and shooting 58% from the floor in the first 20 minutes as they stunned the Cougar crowd to the tune of a 47-27 Saints lead at halftime. At the break Seward was led by 10 points and 7 assists from Tony Smith and 23 points and 6 rebounds combined inside for Marky Nolen and Latiq Agard.
The second half started how the first ended for the Saints as they came out of the gates playing well again and stretched their lead out to 24 four minutes in. That’s when the momentum shifted for the Cougars and in the next 10 minutes Seward would see their lead of 24 slip down to 6 and then to 4 with just four minutes remaining on the clock. After Dennan Morrow knocked down a three-pointer to cut the Seward lead to 4, Marcus James answered with a monster dunk on the other end to push the lead back to 6 in favor of Seward. The two would trade buckets and the Saints would be up 7 as Marky Nolen finished an old fashioned three point play to put Seward up 75-68 with just under three minutes to play. Collin Beatty would splash a three home for Barton to again cut the Seward advantage to two possessions at 75-71 but James answered the bell again and slammed home his second one handed dunk in less than two minutes to give the Saints big mo back and again put them up 6. Seward would play well in the waning moments of the game and knock down their free throws at the end to keep Barton County from ever getting themselves any closer as the guys in green won 83-73 as the final horn sounded to move to 2-0 in Jayhawk West Conference play.
While they cooled down in the second half offensively, Seward’s superb free throw shooting down the stretch allowed them to salt the game away as they converted on 16 of 19 second half shots from the charity stripe and 23 of 28 overall in the contest. The Saints finished the game shooting exactly 50 percent while Barton’s 48% second half helped them finish the game shooting a respectable 42% from the floor. Latiq Agard finished with a team high 20 points on 8 of 12 shooting for the Saints while Marky Nolen chipped in with 14 points and 7 rebounds inside. Donte McCarter had 13 points in his second start of the season while Marcus James ended the night with 11 points and 6 boards. Tony Smith was held scoreless in the second half but still finished with 10 points and 9 assists while Jon Tassin reached double digits for the first time in 5 games with 10 points of his own. Seward never trailed in the game and finished the contest outscoring Barton County 46 to 18 inside the paint.
Wednesday the Saints will hit the road again looking to go 3-0 in conference play as they head to Colby to take on a much improved Trojans team at 8:00 in the Community Building. With their record now at 8-3, Seward will next see action in the Greenhouse on Friday and Saturday in the Pizza Hut Classic where they will host Colorado Christian University Friday night followed by Jayhawk East member Labette on Saturday.
Two teams playing very different non-conference schedules and heading in different directions locked up in the Greenhouse Wednesday night as the 8th ranked and undefeated Hutchinson Blue Dragons came to town to take on the Seward County Saints who were coming off back to back losses in their Thanksgiving Classic in Snyder, Texas. Hutchinson had played what many would call a softer non-conference schedule but had taken care of business with what was in front of them while Seward County played a much tougher schedule with games at CSI, Odessa, and Western Texas recording a 6-3 record thus far. After one game at least, the Saints strategy seemed to have paid off as they came away with a 73-52 win in front of a thrilled Greenhouse crowed in their conference opener Wednesday night.
The two teams looked to have early game jitters as neither was able to score on their first two possessions but Hutch’s leading scorer Joe Mitchell feathered in a three pointer on their third trip to break the scoreless tie and give the Dragons an early 3-0 lead. The two teams traded stops back and forth much of the first portion of the first half as the score was tied at just 6 seven minutes into the game. Garrius Holloman would score 5 straight points minutes later and give Hutch their largest lead of the game at 15-10 with 10:25 left on the clock. The margin was the same with the score 19-14 in favor of Hutch when Tony Smith dialed up a long distance shot and connected to cut the lead to 2 followed by strong finishes inside from Donte McCarter and Marky Nolen to put the guys in green up two as Dragon coach Steve Eck called a timeout with 4:40 remaining. Two more Joe Mitchell 3’s would push the Dragons to a 27-26 halftime lead as the teams headed to the locker room. The Saints were outshot 35-46% in the first half, had just one three-pointer made to Hutch’s four, and were getting outrebounded 21-15 but thanks to their tenacious defense, forced 16 Dragon turnovers to stay in the game.
Hutchinson held a lead through the first 4 minutes of the second half but Seward County seemed to have found a switch and turned it on after that as they scored 6 points in the next minute of the game to take their largest lead of the game at that point at five, 38-33. The Saints lead waved from 4 to 6 in the time winding down to 9 minutes left as Tony Smith began to work his magic with good finishes and highlight reel dishes. Greenville, North Carolina natives Smith and McCarter scored 14 of Seward’s next 16 points to extend the lead to 14 at 59-45 and took the breath out of the Hutchinson faithful that made their way to Liberal for the game. The Blue Dragons would get as close as 11 but the final 4 minutes of the game belonged to the Saints. Seward scored the last 10 points of the game stretching their lead from 11 to 21 highlighted by a monster throw down on a behind the back pass from Smith to Jon Tassin. In fact the Saints scored on their final six possessions of the game after scoring on just one of their first six possessions of the game giving new meaning to the phrase, ‘it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish’. Seward shot 51% against the conference’s top defensive team coming into the game while holding the Dragons to just 32% shooting in the final 20 minutes.
Leading the offense for Seward was Tony Smith and Donte McCarter who each threw in 17 points and combined for 9 assists and 8 steals in the game. Marky Nolen recorded yet another double-double as the freshman was 7 for 11 shooting, good for 14 points while also leading the team in rebounding with 11 on the night. Latiq Agard scored 13 points with his 7 rebounds and Jon Tassin connected on a few big shots in the game and finished with 8 points and four rebounds.
The Saints win over the country’s 8th ranked team moves them to 7-3 on the season and start 1-0 in Jayhawk West play. Although they celebrated with the rocking Greenhouse crowd after the win, they don’t have too much time to stay in the spotlight as Head Coach Bryan Zollinger’s Saints head to Great Bend Saturday night to take on defending Jayhawk West Champion Barton County at 8:00. Seward will return home on Friday, December 11th where they will take on Central Christian University JV in the Greenhouse at 8:00 in the Pizza Hut Classic.
The Seward County Lady Saints starting lineup for Wednesday night’s game against #11 Hutchinson was the following: Rachel Barnes, Megan Lassley, Nadia Rosario, Vaneza Junior, and Sheila Washington. So what, you might ask. Well the what is that all five of those Lady Saints were involved in the Seward/Hutch game last season that ended the Lady Saints season in Koch Arena in Wichita in the Region VI Championship game putting them just one game short of the National Tournament in the 53-51 loss. Let’s just say revenge was on their mind and revenge was what they got in the tune of a 53-43 win over their rivals in the Greenhouse Wednesday night.
Reigning NJCAA National Player of the Week Rachel Barnes came out of the gates hot scoring the game’s first 7 points to give Seward a 7-0 lead just 3 minutes in but the Lady Saints wouldn’t score a point in the next 5 minutes and Hutch would pull back to even at 7-7 with just under 13 minutes to play in the half. Both offenses would struggle in the 5 minutes after that and would manage just 2 points apiece to keep the score deadlocked at 9 with 8 minutes to play in the half. Britney Nuzum would give Hutch their first lead of the game with 6:53 remaining in the half but a big 3-pointer from Kendra Spresser just a minute later would give Seward the lead back for good at 12-11. Spresser then sank a pair of free-throws to open the lead to 5 minutes later but Hutch would battle back to score the half’s final four points go make it a 19-18 Seward lead going into the break. Obvious by the score, both teams struggled offensively in the first half with Seward shooting 24% from the field and Hutch shooting just 17% in the game’s first 20 minutes.
The second half started the same way that the two teams ended the first with both baskets having lids on them. Four minutes in the game was deadlocked at 23 before Rachel Barnes knocked down a pair of free throws to re-give Seward the lead with her 14th and 15th points of the game. A Nadia Campbell free throw would bring the Lady Dragons back to within one but the next 5 minutes would belong to Seward as they went on an 8-0 run to open up the lead to 34-25 and seemingly take a strangle hold on the game with just 11 minutes left in the contest. Hutch sophomore stars Heather Robben and Ariella McGhee weren’t going to do down without a fight however and went on a 6 point run of their own to cut the lead to 3 with just 7 minutes remaining. A pair of big free throw makes from Sheila Washington would push the Seward lead to 5 and a midrange jumper from Megan Lassley would move it to 7 on the next possession but Hutch would again go on a 6-0 run to bring the game back to nearly even at 40-39 Seward with 4 minutes to go. As the saying goes, when the going got tough, the Lady Saints got going and outscored the Lady Dragons 13 to 4 in the final four minutes of the game highlighted by 6 points from Barnes and 4 points from Lassley to help seal the 53-43 upset win for the gals in green. Both teams shot the ball better in the second half with Seward hitting on 36% of their shots and Hutch on 41% but a dismal first half for the Lady Dragons doomed them as they finished the game shooting just 27% from the field. A credit to the Seward County defense, the conference’s best shooting team was held to 20 points under their previous season low in points and went just 2 for 17 from the three point line after bombing away for 11 triples in their last game. Seward held preseason All-American and 58% three point shooter coming into the game Heather Robben to just 1 of 7 from beyond the arc and 9 points, 7 under her season average in the contest. With rebounding and turnovers nearly even, the Lady Saints also helped themselves by going 17 of 22 on the night from the charity stripe while Hutch was able to connect on just 13 of 25 shots from the line including 4 of 12 from center Naudia Campbell.
Rachel Barnes came up big multiple times during the game when the Lady Saints needed her, scoring a game high 22 points and also pulling down a game high 12 rebounds, including 6 on the offensive end. Kendra Spresser found her way into double figures for the 3rd straight game with 11 points and Nadia Rosario had her second solid game inside for the Lady Saints with 9 points and 6 rebounds.
The win is the second straight for the Lady Saints over a team ranked inside the NJCAA’s top 15 and propels them to 9-0 on the season and an all-important opening night win in Jayhawk West Conference play. Seward will next take on Barton County in Great Bend on Saturday at 6:00 and will see their next home action come next Friday night, the 11th, when they match up with perennial power Northeastern Junior College in the Greenhouse at 6:00.