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After a loss at home to Cloud County two weeks ago, it looked as if the Seward County Lady Saints chances of hosting a home playoff game in the 1st round of the upcoming Region VI Tournament. However, a young group of Lady Saints showed their resiliency of late, finishing the season by winning three straight, including a defensive 48-44 battle over Butler Saturday night at the Power Plant to clinch 4th place in the Jayhawk West and reserve a date in the Greenhouse on Tuesday.

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One of the many reasons that we love sports is you just never know what you are going to see when you head to the stadium on a given day. If you are a fan of that then Brent Gould Field was the place to be this weekend as the Seward County Saints hosted the Colby Trojans in the Jayhawk West Conference’s opening weekend on Saturday and Sunday. Seward would come from behind in their final at bats to win game one 6-5 before dropping game two 12-8 after they were unable to climb out of a 6-0 first inning hole. Sunday would see the same shenanigans as each team would have a 10+ run inning in game three as Colby would come out on top 16-15 and the series finale would have to go extra innings after the Saints blew a 5 run lead in the top of the 9th before coming back to win in the 11th 10-9.

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With the conference already wrapped up after a win Wednesday night, the #21 Seward County Saints came out loose as could be in their Saturday night matchup with the Butler Grizzlies in the Power Plant in El Dorado. Seward would lead 47-24 at the half before cruising to the finish line with an 82-62 win to win the Jayhawk West by a full two games.

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You couldn’t have written a better script for 5 Seward County Saints sophomores playing their final Jayhawk West Conference Game in the friendly confines of the Greenhouse. After a pair of disappointing losses back to back, the team still had their chance to wrap up the conference title, in their own building, on sophomore night, against one of their arch rivals, the Garden City Broncbusters. In a first half of runs, the Saints would go up 12 early before Garden stormed back to take a lead of their own midway through and then the Saints closed the half on a big run to take a double digit lead into the break. Seward would build their lead and hold it through most of the second half until blowing it open late and coming away with an 84-59 win to clinch the Jayhawk West title and the #1 seed in next week’s Region VI Tournament.

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After dropping their first game in 9 years to Garden City in the team’s first match of the season and arguably falling to their lowest point of the 2010-2011 season after the loss, the Seward County Lady Saints bounced back Wednesday night in a sophomore night victory over the Lady Busters 62-59 to keep their home playoff chances alive. Seward held a comfortable lead most of the night but Garden City, who had nothing on the line in the game, fought hard to get back into the game and would make it close late before going ahead with 3 minutes remaining. They would hold the lead into the final 30 seconds of the game when Seward’s Kayla Thomas stepped up and hit a pair of huge free throws with 22 seconds remaining to give the Lady Saints the lead and that would be the difference in the end as a defensive stop would yield Seward their 9th conference win of the season.

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The Seward County Lady Saints finished off a perfect 6-0 home stand at Lady Saints Field Wednesday afternoon by hammering the Clarendon Lady Bulldogs 9-0 and 7-2 to move to 7-1 on the season. Seward would put game one away early with a 5 run 1st and 2 run 2nd to go up 7-0 before cruising to the 9-0 run rule win in 5 innings. In game two they would wait a bit longer to get on the board as the game was 0-0 to the bottom of the 4th before they scored 4 runs to take a 4-0 lead and would go on to win 7-2.

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After a 4-0 week with sweeps over Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa and Pratt, two Seward County Lady Saints sophomores have swept the weekly Jayhawk Conference Softball awards. Lynda Musick was named the conference’s Player of the Week after hitting .462 with 5 RBI’s and 5 runs scored in the four Seward wins while Sydney Cicchetti was named the Jayhawk’s first Pitcher of the Week for the 2011 season after the Lady Saints ace pitched in two games this week, posting a 2-0 record and a 1.00 ERA while striking out 17 in 14 innings of work.

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The Seward County Saints are going to have to find a way to play seven innings of baseball during their pregame warm-ups if they keep with their current trend. The Saints again dropped the first game of their split double header Monday to the Midland Chaparrals 6-2 before bouncing back to take the back end of the double dip 11-3 over the Ranger Rangers thanks in part to a strong effort with the bats in Midland.

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For the first time in the 2011 season the Seward County Saints Baseball team hit the road on Saturday as they traveled to Odessa to play a four game set with the Wranglers over the weekend. Odessa would put it on the Saints 12-5 in game one of the series on Saturday but Seward bounced back to take game two 7-2. On Sunday things would play out the same as the Wranglers took the third game of the series 5-1 before the Saints took the finale 7-4 to split the series.

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The Seward County Saints continued their winning ways Saturday night in Great Bend by going into the Barton Gymnasium and handing out a whooping to the Cougars on their home court to the tune of a 71-50 Seward win. The Saints led from the get go, scoring the game’s first basket and never trailing in the contest. Seward would take a 12 point lead to the half before packing on to the advantage and leading by as many as 27 late in the second half before going on to win by 21 to move to 21-3 overall on the year.
In the first of three straight road games for the Saints, the guys in green would start things off on the right foot in Great Bend against the Barton Cougars as the teams would trade turnovers to kick things off before Marky Nolen knocked down a long jumper to get the scoring started. Barton would score inside on their next trip down the court to tie things up but I don’t think they took the time to enjoy the tie score because they didn’t expect for the 22 seconds to be the closest they would get to the Saints all night. Markee Mazyck would hit a right wing three pointer to put Seward up 5-2 and moments later Phil Hawkins would connect on a pair of free throws from the line to make it 7-2 Saints with 15:45 to go in the half. After a Barton three made it 7-5 in favor of Seward, the Saints would go on a 9-1 run with buckets from four different players to open the game up 16-6 with 11:10 remaining in the half. Barton would be unable to close the distance on the Saints as the two teams went back and forth through the middle part of the half and it was still a 26-17 lead for Seward as the teams approached the 4 minute mark of the half. Mazyck would then connect on an elbow jumper to put Seward up 11 and would follow that with a steal and score to give the Saints their largest lead of the half at 30-17 with 3:35 left in the period. The teams would trade baskets before a Barton three pointer to cut the Seward lead to 10 but Rafriel Guthrie would score for the Saints as the clock wound down to give the guys in green a 34-22 lead as the teams hit the break.
Seward came out of the locker rooms strong and quickly built on their already sizeable lead. Daveon Boardingham would score the first four of the half for the Saints and would then rip down a rebound and launch the outlet pass up the court into the waiting hands of Jeremy Jones who would coast in for a layup to give Seward a 15 point lead with 16:01 left. The two continued to put on a show as the midway point of the half cam as Boardingham would own the boards and Jones would lead the Saints offense and with 11:54 remaining the Saints had their first 20 point lead of the night at 49-29. With Barton on their heels and the Saints clicking, the lead would swell to 24 and then 27 with 3:47 to go after a offensive rebound and put back by Nolen to give him his 7th straight double-double. The final moments would be uneventful as the two teams played the clock out and Barton would reduce the Saints lead but not by much as Seward County would go on to win 71-50.
The Saints would hold the Cougars to just 29% shooting in the game while even on an off night on the offensive end, would shoot 42% themselves. Boardingham led the way with 15 points and a career high 15 rebounds while Jones had a typical night with 17 points and 6 assists in the contest. Nolen finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out, recording his 7th double-double in as many outings. Mazyck stepped into the starting lineup and finished with 12 and Guthrie who was battling an illness would score 7 points and have 6 rebounds off of the Seward bench.
The win would be a milestone for Seward Head Coach Bryan Zollinger who picks up his 100th win in just 127 tries, making him the fastest Men’s Basketball Coach in school history to do so. His team moves to 21-3 on the year and matches the best start for a Seward Men’s team since the 2002-2003 team started the season 22-3. Even better news out of Saturday night is that with the Saints moving to 9-1 in conference play and Dodge City upsetting Hutchinson in the Sports Arena as well as Colby shocking Cloud County in the Community Building, Seward now has a 3 game lead on Hutchinson and a 3 ½ game lead on the T-Birds as the team’s head into the Monday slate of games. Seward will head to Colby tonight to take on the upset minded Trojans tonight at 8:00 and will then be on the road again Wednesday when they head to the Beaverdome to take on Pratt before returning home Saturday for homecoming.
SEWARD COUNTY/BARTON BOX SCORE
In what has been the story of their Jayhawk West season thus far, the Seward County Lady Saints dropped a tight, 59-53 decision on the road Saturday night in Great Bend to the Barton Cougars to fall to 15-9 overall, and 5-5 in conference play. Seward would lead by 9 midway through the first half before their lead shrunk to 2 before the break and would hold that lead to the 10 minute mark of the second half before a 9-2 run did them in as the Cougars would grab the lead and never let go as the Lady Saints drop back to back conference games for the first time since 2009.
As the game tipped off the Lady Saints would find themselves in a 5-0 hole to a Cougars squad that had won 7 out of their last 8 games since Seward last defeated them in early January. Seward would fight back and score the next 6 to take a one point lead and Barton would hit a free throw to bring things back to square one. Seward’s Morgan Skomal and Barton’s Christina Caddy would trade buckets to make it 8-8 before Mattie Yanke hit a corner three for the Lady Saints to put them up 11-8 six minutes into things. Barton would climb back to within one with a pair of free throws but the Lady Saints would go on an 8-0 run highlighted by back to back three pointers from Kelsey Willson and Yanke to put the gals in green up 19-10 as the 10 minute mark approached. The Lady Saints would keep their distance from the Cougars to the 6 minute mark where they led 23-15 but Barton would keep Seward off the board for two minutes while scoring 8 straight points to tie things up at 23 with 4:16 to go in the half. After the Cougars would go up two points on a steal and score, Hannah Rotolo would tie the game back up at 28 with a pair of free throws with 2 minutes remaining. Neither team would get much going on offense as the half came to a close but the Lady Saints would manage 3 points to Barton’s 1 and would take a 31-29 lead into the half.
The action on the offensive side of the court would quicken as the second half began but Seward would still have a two point lead before a pair of Cougar free throws would tie the game up for the 6th time on the night. An Autumn Miller three pointer would break the tie and a three point Seward advantage is where the two would stand as the clock hit the 12 minute mark. A scrappy Barton group would tie things up once again with 11:20 left but the Lady Saints would get a three from Ashlynn Knoll on their next possession to make it 44-41. The Cougars would hold the Lady Saints scoreless for the next four minutes and would take a two point lead of their own before a Willson layup would tie the game for the 9th time on the night with 6:54 remaining. Another three minutes would pass without the Lady Saints finding the basket while Barton scored twice to go ahead by 4 and after Seward broke their draught with a finish inside by Mariah Lee, the teams were again separated by just two at 50-48 with 3:58 left. Following Seward’s 23rd turnover of the night, Barton sharpshooter Alisha Fanshier would hit her first field goal of the night and it couldn’t have been bigger as she banged home a wing three to put the Cougs up five, 53-48 with 2:25 left. Lee would score again for Seward to cut the lead to three and Rotolo would come up huge for the Lady Saints hitting a three from up top against her former team to knot things up at 53 with under a minute to go. On Barton’s next possession Raven Adams would find nothing but the bottom of the strings on a three from the right wing with 31 seconds left and it would be the dagger for the Lady Saints as they would turn the ball over yet again with 13 seconds left and would be done in from the free throw line by the Cougars before falling 59-53.
The two teams would combine for 52 turnovers in the game and Barton would come out with the close win thanks in part to 20 offensive rebounds on the night. Both teams would struggle offensively on the night as Barton shot 32% and Seward 31% but the free throw line was the difference where the Cougars outscored the Lady Saints 18-9 in the win. Seward had just one player in double figures as Rotolo scored 10 and had 5 steals while Miller and Willson both had 9 in the loss.
Seward drops to 15-9 on the season and 5-5 in Jayhawk West Conference play. The Lady Saints are now 0-4 on the road in Jayhawk West action where they will be both Monday and Wednesday night where they travel to Colby and Pratt, both tips scheduled for 6:00.
SEWARD COUNTY/BARTON BOX SCORE
In a much anticipated matchup between the two best teams in the Jayhawk West Conference and two of the better teams in all of the NJCAA, the #16 Seward County Saints and the #8 Hutchinson Blue Dragons squared off Wednesday night in the Greenhouse. Hutch jumped out to a one point halftime lead but it was Seward that would take control in the final 20 minutes of the contest, using a 9-1 run in the middle of a 51 point half to come out with a huge 86-76 win in front of an ecstatic home crowd.
With first place in the conference on the line the Saints and Blue Dragons squared off in an intense battle from the start. Each team would pound the ball inside for a pair of baskets early and four minutes into things the teams were tied at 4 apiece. Phil Hawkins would slash to the lane later on and find the hands of Irvin Hollinger with a pass which would result in a three point play to put the Saints up 7-4 but Hutch would storm back, scoring the next 13 points in a four minute stretch to put themselves up 17-7 with 12 minutes to go in the half. The Saints would finally break the scoring drought with a power layup from Daveon Boardingham and then a patented long jumper from Jeremy Jones to cut the Dragon lead to 6. The two offenses would pick it up out of the media timeout as Hutch’s Stuart Sullivan hit a trio of three-pointers sandwiched around Seward buckets from Nolen and Markee Mazyck to make it a 26-15 Hutchinson lead with eight minutes left in the half. Then it was time for the Saints to make their first half run as Nolen hit a three pointer to get things going and Seward would hit 5 free throws and get a finish inside from Boardingham to make it a 26-25 game in favor of the Dragons with 4:19 remaining in the first half. The teams would grind it out for the final four minutes of the period as they went back and forth before the horn sounded with the same one point spread as Hutch went to the locker rooms up 36-35.
As the second half got underway the Saints would quickly take control as Boardingham hit a pair of free throws to give them a one point lead and then Marquez Patterson got a steal and a score to give them a three point advantage. Hutch would go on a quick 6-0 burst to swing the three point lead to their side but Patterson would bang home a deep three to again tie the game up, this time at 44 with 16:14 to go in the game. Seward would outscore Hutch 8-3 in the next two minutes and would hold their largest lead of the game at 52-47 with 14 minutes remaining. Hutchinson seemed to feel the pressure of being down and being on the road as their offense struggled to get anything going as the half reached its midway point and that pressure turned to panic after Boardingham hammered home a dunk over Dylan Frantz and was fouled where he completed the three point play to put the home team up 64-55 with under 9 minutes to go. Hutch would go without a field goal for nearly three minutes as Seward built their lead up to 12 at the 7:26 mark and the Saints would cruise from there. The Blue Dragons would never get closer than 7 as an aggressive Seward offense continued to drive into the lane and get to the free throw line where they would finish the night with an 80% success rate. With the game all but over, the Saints started to have some fun as Rafriel Guthrie would get a steal and throw a half court alley-oop to Jones who skied above the rim before grabbing the ball and throwing it through to put an exclamation point on the win. Seward would go on to take the game 86-76 thanks in large part to a second half that saw them shoot 63% and put up 51 points.
Five Saints would reach double figures in the win as Jones and Guthrie would lead the way with 16 points apiece. Jones would add 7 assists for Seward and Guthrie would also grab 7 rebounds in the win. Boardingham continued to show why he is a frontrunner for 6th man of the year as he scored 14 points and had 7 rebounds off of the Saints bench and Patterson would finish with 11 points, 4 assists, and 3 big steals in the game. While battling foul trouble all night, Nolen was still able to do something for the 6th straight game that some players are happy to do a couple of times a year, notch a double-double. The sophomore forward racked up 12 points and 10 rebounds in just 18 minutes of action to do so and remain the conference’s leading rebounder this season. On the night the Saints would outrebound the much bigger Hutchinson squad 40-38 and would force 21 Blue Dragon turnovers.
The win gives Seward number 20 on the season as they improve their overall record to 20-3 in the 2010-2011 campaign. Not only did the win give the Saints sweet revenge on the only team that had beaten them since November but it pushed their conference mark to 8-1 and gives them a full 2 game lead on second place Hutchinson in the conference standings. The Saints will now hit the road for a tough three game road stretch starting Saturday night in Great Bend where they will face a Barton Cougars team that is 11-3 at home this season.
#16 SEWARD COUNTY/#8 HUTCHINSON BOX SCORE
For 25 minutes the Seward County Lady Saints had thoroughly dominated #14 Hutchinson Lady Blue Dragons Saturday night. The teams would play relatively hand in hand for the next 10 minutes before the Lady Dragons dominated Seward for the final 5 minutes of the game. Logic would say that Seward would come on top but things don’t always work on logic in sports and with that said, the Lady Saints would lose a 16 point second half lead to Hutch Wednesday night as the Lady Dragons finished with a fury to come out on top of a 62-59 decision to the disappointment of all wearing green in the Greenhouse in the first game of the second round of Jayhawk West Conference action.
Looking to redeem themselves after an embarrassing loss to open the conference schedule against the Lady Blue Dragons, Seward started well in this one as Morgan Skomal scored the game’s first basket on a dish from Mariah Lee and Hannah Rotolo would hit a free throw to put the Lady Saints up 3-0 two minutes in. Hutch would bounce back to scored 8 out of the next 11 points, including a pair of three pointers to take an 8-6 lead but the Lady Saints showed early that they were ready to go as Kayla Thomas hit a pair of shots to put Seward back on top. A rare Seward breakdown on the defensive end would lead to an easy bucket for the Lady Dragons but back to back three pointers from Ashlynn Knoll and Thomas would give the Lady Saints some momentum and the lead as they held a 17-12 advantage. After saying before Wednesday’s game that he and Hutchinson coach, and good friend Jon Ontjes, hadn’t done anything that each other hadn’t seen yet, Seward head man Toby Wynn must have kept something in the bag as he and his defense found a way to fluster the league’s top scoring team and his squad took advantage as the Lady Saints continued to build on their lead as Hutch went scoreless for over six minutes and with under eight minutes to go in the half, Seward found themselves up 22-12. The Lady Dragons would jump back into the game as Jackie Patterson began to make her presence felt inside as Hutch cut the Seward lead to 24-20 with 4:30 to go in the half. After a scoreless stretch for both teams, Thomas would find Hanna Bognar on a screen and roll for Seward for two points to put them back up 6 and they would build on the momentum from that to extend their lead to 9 as they went to the half up 32-23. In the first half Seward would hold Hutchinson to just 21% shooting and more importantly won the battle on the boards 26-20 to help give them the 9 point cushion at the break.
The second half brought more good for the Lady Saints as Rotolo would connect from the top for a three pointer to give Seward a 12 point lead and after a Hutchinson free throw made it 35-24, Seward would score five straight with a hoop by Bognar and a three pointer from Knoll to give the Lady Saints a commanding 40-24 lead with 17:03 remaining in the game. Just when it looked like the Lady Dragons might be out of it, a five shot possession which included 4 offensive rebounds would lead to a basket and four Seward turnovers in five trips would lead to five more points for Hutch and with under 14 minutes left the Seward lead was now single digits at 40-31. The Lady Saints would snap out of their funk and would again look to be in good shape as they increased their lead to 10, 46-36 with 10:30 remaining. Following the games media timeout a dribble drive by Hutch would get them a basket and a Seward foul on a Lady Dragon three point attempt would result in three points and the lead was quickly slashed in half to 46-41. The teams would trade baskets to 50-45 with 6:48 to go before the Lady Saints would connect on three free throws to again give them breathing room as they led 53-45 with 4:30 remaining. Two straight empty possessions for Seward would open the door for Hutchinson and the Lady Dragons would take the opportunity to walk right back into the game as a pair of midrange jumpers cut the lead to four and a Seward air ball would lead to a transition three pointer for Hutch to make it a one point game, 53-52 with 2:30 to go. Thomas would drive and score to put Seward up three on the Lady Saints next trip down the court but the Lady Dragons would follow that with a right wing three from their leading scorer Alysse Barlow to tie the game up at 55 all. The teams would trade a pair of free throws as the clock ticked under two minutes and with under a minute to go two Seward turnovers would prove costly as Hutchinson would get to the free throw line and make 2 of 4 chances to take a 59-57 lead with 34 seconds left on the clock. With the game on the line, the Lady Saints would turn the ball over for a third straight time and would then be forced to foul where Hutch made a pair of free throws to go up four with 20 seconds left. Knoll would cut the lead in half with a pair of free throws to make it 61-59 and after Barlow hit just one of two free throws with a chance to seal the game, the Lady Saints had a shot to send the game to overtime with 6 seconds left. They quickly moved the ball up the floor and Knoll got a decent look with Hutchinson defenders all around her but the shot missed just short and the Lady Saints would fall 62-59 in yet another gut wrenching loss for the young Seward County team.
Seward won nearly every statistical battle on the night including rebounding (46-43), shooting (38%-26%), and free throw shooting (68%-67%) but was once again stung by the turnover bug that struck 21 times, including 3 times in the final minute to ultimately cost them a chance at the win. The Lady Saints held Hutchinson, a team who has scored over 100 three times this season and leads the region in scoring by nearly 10 points per game, to 26% shooting on the night which was a season low and have now held the Lady Dragons to two of their three worst shooting nights of the season but have come up on the short end of both decisions. Knoll had a career high 23 points as well as 10 rebounds, recording her 4th double-double of the season while Thomas finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds for Seward in the defeat. Bognar played well on the inside for Seward, going 3 for 3 from the field while scoring 6 points, grabbing 5 rebounds, and also blocking 5 shots.
The loss is a big blow to the Lady Saints who fall to 15-8 overall and 5-4 in Jayhawk West Conference play. The loss is Seward’s first of the year at home in conference action and drops them into 5th place in the standings. Their road will not get any easier in their next game on Saturday night as they now face the daunting task of taking on a red hot Barton Lady Cougars team who has won 7 out of their last 8 games overall and 9 straight games at home in Great Bend.
SEWARD COUNTY/#14 HUTCHINSON BOX SCORE