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.