Mar 11 2009
The date was destiny. After seeing each other play but not facing each other in the opening weekend of the 2008-2009 basketball season, the Seward County Saints and Cowley Tigers brought in two of the conference’s most athletic and exciting teams to the Region VI Quarterfinal game Friday night at Koch Arena in Wichita. Seward struggled shooting the ball in the first half and found themselves in a 29-26 hole, down by three after shooting just 7 of 29 in the first 20 minutes. The Saints again faltered from the field in the second half, especially from beyond the three-point line where they finished just 3 of 20 on the night, but were able to stay in the game thanks to 17 of 25 free-throw attempts falling and actually held the lead with just over 20 seconds remaining in the game at 63-60 after overcoming a 10 point second half deficit. That’s when Cowley star Jack Crowder took the breath out of the Saints faithful as he drained a 15 foot jumper from the baseline with just over 15 seconds remaining in the game to tie the score at 63. Seward had the last shot and Tony Smith’s three-point attempt came up short before a desperation tip-in try from Thijin Moses failed, to send the game into overtime. In the extra period, Seward trailed by one before 5’6 Tiger guard Mike Atwater slipped through the defense to tip in an offensive rebound try to put Cowley up three at 69-66. The Saints wouldn’t quit however as unsung hero Thiago Oliveira would put home a layup inside and Smith would cash in on one of two free-throw attempts to tie the game at 69. With just 26 seconds left the Saints again were unable to clear the defensive glass and gave Crowder a put back opportunity that he cashed in on to give Cowley a 71-69 lead. After trading free throws to make the score 72-70, the Saints would again call on Tony Smith to service as the freshman drove to the basket but was unable to finish over 6’9 Jawanza Poland. The Saints quickly fouled Poland who missed both free-throw attempts but a call to the heavens on a desperation heave at the buzzer wasn’t answered and the Saints fell in their season finale 72-70. In the hard fought effort the Saints received 18 points and 6 assists from Smith, 15 points and 9 rebounds from Marcus James, 12 points and 7 rebounds from Jon Tassin, and 11 points and 8 rebounds from Oliveira, all of whom are freshman for the Saints. Seward County finishes the season at 23-9 and will look forward to the return of leading scorer and rebounder Latiq Agard at the start of their 2009-2010 campaign to go along with seven other returners.