The Seward County Men’s Basketball Teams high flying attack continued this weekend at the Greenhouse in the Billy’s/Days Inn Classic as the Saints put up 118 points Friday night in a blowout win over Clarendon followed by a 90-87 nail biter against Redlands to wrap up the tournament Saturday evening in front of their home crowd.
Friday night Seward County took on a Clarendon team that was averaging over 120 points a game on the early season and came into the weekend with a 6-2 record. But… this wasn’t another JV team on the Bulldogs schedule, it was a Saints team coming off of their only loss of the season and hungry for their 5th win. After trading three-pointers in the first minute of the game, Seward would open up a 13 point lead just five minutes in with a backdoor layup from Robert Sigala on a nice feed from Tony Smith to put the Saints up 20-7. Victor Martinez would drop home two three’s in just 17 seconds for the Bulldogs to get them back to within seven but a pair of strong moves inside from Latiq Agard would push the Seward lead back to 11 at 29-18. Marky Nolen would give the Saint their largest lead of the game at 15 on a score inside with 6:30 remaining in the first half but 7 straight points from Clarendon would slice the lead nearly in half as Seward found themselves up just eight with five minutes left in the first period. The Saints however would end the half on a 15-4 run and take a 19 point lead to the half at 62-43 behind a 19 point, 8 assist half from point guard Tony Smith. The second half was all Seward as the Saints shot 63% and held Clarendon to just 26% shooting as they opened up as large as a 41 point advantage midway through on the back end of a 16-0 Seward run. Kevin Livingston capped off a 118 point night for the Saints with an assist to Alex Sturanovic and then a bucket of his own from Nolen as the Saints went on to win 118-79 in front of an impressed home crowd in the Greenhouse. Seward would finish the night shooting 67% as a team compared to just 33% shooting from Clarendon. Another key to victory for the Saints was a 57-19 rebounding advantage over a much smaller Bulldog team.
Marky Nolen finished with a game high 27 points on 11 of 11 shooting as well as pulling down a game high 10 rebounds in the win. Tony Smith ended the night 8 of 11 shooting for 21 points as well as handing out a season high 13 assists in the contest. Latiq Agard had 20 points and 7 rebounds while Marcus James had 13 and 7 in the game. Jon Tassin had 7 points and 7 rebounds and Alex Sturanovic played his best game as a Saint with 11 points and 6 rebounds in the win.
Saturday night Seward had a date with a scrappy Redlands team that would turn out to be the Saints closest game of the year so far. Early on the two teams went tit for tat and five minutes in were tied at 8. A hi-lo feed from Latiq Agard to Marcus James would put Seward up 13-8 moments later but a 15-1 Redlands run in the next two minutes would put Seward in a 23-14 hole with 10 minutes left in the half. A pair of three-pointers from Robert Sigala and Donte McCarter followed by an old fashioned three-point play by Agard would knot the game up at 27 two minutes later as both teams looked to gain the upper hand. Seward would close the half on a 28-13 run to open up a 15 point lead behind strong play inside from Agard and Marky Nolen, as well as a slew of free throws knocked down by McCarter. The Saints 55-40 halftime lead could be linked to a 63% shooting half and just 3 missed free throws in 16 attempts by the guys in green, good for an 81% clip.
Just when Saints fans got comfortable in their seats with the 15 point lead, the Cougars decided that they weren’t ready to travel back to El Reno just yet as they opened the half on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to just 6 and held Seward County without a basket for the first 5 minutes of the half. Later on Seward built their lead back up to 11 with consecutive three’s from Donte McCarter and Spencer Moore but the cushion didn’t last long and Redlands’ Bilal Kelley made it just a two point game with 8:46 left at 69-67. The game would remain tight through the next few minutes but McCarter and Marky Nolen would score on back to back trips down the court for the Saints to give them a 9 point lead with just four minutes left, a lead most felt would be safe with the Saints attacking defense. Wrong they were however as six Cougar made free throws inside two minutes would cut the lead to two at 89-87 and a foul would send Robert Sigala to the line for the Saints with just five seconds remaining with the ability to finish the game with a pair of makes. Sigala missed the first attempt but made the second to give Seward a three point lead but still in jeopardy as Redlands had a chance to tie the game as time ran out but a Kevin Rolland three rimmed out to give the Saints a 90-87 win in a thriller from the Greenhouse.
In the Saints win they were led by 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists off the bench from Donte McCarter and yet another strong game from Marky Nolen inside with 17 points and 10 rebounds on the night. Latiq Agard finished with 17 points and 6 rebounds and Robert Sigala finished with 8 points and 6 rebounds in the contest.
The two wins push Seward to a 6-1 mark on the season as they head into their Thanksgiving Tournament this weekend in Odessa. They will take on the 8-1 host Wranglers Friday night before matching up with 8-1 Western Texas Saturday afternoon.