To start the 2009 conference season off the Seward County Lady Saints had to make a trip to Hutchinson to play the Lady Blue Dragons in the Sports Arena. Hutchinson went into that game with a 13-1 record while Seward entered at 12-2. After blowing the Lady Dragons off of their home court in Hutchinson, everyone involved with the two teams knew there was going to be no love lost between the two rivals when they collided in the Green House Monday night to open the second half of Jayhawk West Conference Play. Both teams came into the game with impressive 19-3 record and did little to disappoint although probably not in the matter most people expected. Hutchinson came out of the gates on fire while Seward County came out ice cold and quickly found themselves in a 22-3 hole to open the game. The Lady Saints battled their way back to within nine to close out the first half and gave themselves a glimmer of hope to go into the second period. Seward County chipped away at the Hutchinson lead throughout the first part of the second half and found themselves down just three with a little bit under five minutes remaining on the clock. With the lead cut to three, Lady Saints leading scorer Rachel Barnes dialed up a three pointer from the wing to tie the game at 54 and after a defensive stop again drilled a three from beyond the arc to give Seward County the lead at 57-54 with just over 4:30 to play. Coming out of a Hutchinson timeout the Lady Blue Dragons regained their composure and went on a quick 8-0 run behind leading scorers Heather Robben and Ariella McGee to get back on top 62-57. After exchanging baskets through the next couple of minutes the Lady Saints found themselves down four with under a minute left when Raegan Broadie pulled up for a 12 foot jumper and feathered it in to cut the Hutch lead to two. After a good defensive possession by the Lady Saints, Seward County had the ball with a chance to win or tie the game with the shot clock turned off. After a missed 23 foot three-point attempt by LaNell Taylor there was a slight scrum for the ball which slipped out of bounds off a Lady Dragon to give the Lady Saints one last chance with eight seconds remaining. After inbounding the ball, the Lady Saints were unable to get a good look at the basket and had to settle for an off balanced desperation heave by Taylor which didn’t fall, therefore giving the Lady Blue Dragons the victory 66-64. With the loss, Seward County falls to 19-4 overall and 7-2 in Jayhawk West Conference Play. The Lady Saints loss, coupled with a Barton County win over Cloud County yesterday evening means that the Jayhawk West now has a four way tie atop the standings with seven games remaining to be played. Seward County, Cloud County, Barton County, and Hutchinson are now all 7-2 with fifth place Butler at 4-5. The Lady Saints shot just 29% in the first half of Monday night’s game and connected on just 8 of 31 three point attempts on the evening. Megan Lassley led the Lady Saints with 16 points and 8 assists. Bailey Crandall came up big for the Lady Saints with three clutch three-point baskets in the second half to cut into the Hutchinson lead. The Lady Saints will now hit the road for three conference games starting Wednesday at Barton County before traveling home to play against Cloud County on February 14th which will be “think pink” night supporting breast cancer awareness and research.
With the Seward County Men’s Basketball Team going through its roughest stretch in recent memory, Head Coach Bryan Zollinger stressed to his team before Monday night’s crucial Jayhawk West Conference battle with Hutchinson, that they had to stick together and play like a team to get through times like this. That is exactly what the Saints did in a shocking 82-58 win against the rival Blue Dragons Monday night. Seward County came out at the start much like they had their previous two games against Garden City and Butler where they opened up early leads and had a 10-2 advantage just a few minutes into the contest. However, the Saints weren’t going to let this one slip away like they had the previous two and really put their foot down on the throats of the Dragons while defending their home court Monday night. The Saints used hardnosed defense and a balanced scoring attack with nine players getting into the scoring column to take a 10 point advantage into the locker room at half. Seward County came out in the second half bound and determined to make a statement against the visiting Blue Dragons and did just that opening up leads as big as 28 points in the final 20 minutes of the game and held a 24 point advantage when the final horn sounded at the end of the game. In the win the Saints saw career highs by Jon Tassin with 16 points and 6 rebounds, as well as Robert Sigala who had 10 and a team high 4 assists. Seward County’s pesky defensive play held Hutchinson star guard Darius Johnson-Odom to just two second half points while causing five turnovers from the conferences third leading scorer. For the game Seward County shot exactly 50% from the floor while knocking down 9 of 17 three-point attempts and cashing in on 17 of 18 opportunities from the free-throw line. With the win Seward County improves to 4-5 in conference play and 16-7 overall putting them in a fifth place tie with Cloud County and Pratt. The Saints will now travel to Barton County Wednesday for their fifth game in 10 days where they will take on the 21-2 10th ranked Cougars before road matchups with Colby and Pratt. The Saints next home action will come Saturday, February 14th on “think pink” night supporting breast cancer awareness and research in the Green House where Seward will take on Cloud County.