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.