After a solid late effort on the road Wednesday night at Pratt, the Seward County Saints looked to remain perfect in conference play at home Saturday night against Cloud County, a team that on paper looked to be an inferior matchup for the 13-3 guys in green. Little did the Saints know that the T-Birds would come out ready for a fight and would give Seward all they wanted for most of the game before the Saints talent took over late to give the home team an 80-66 win to help them move to 4-0 in conference play as they prepare for a busy schedule in the next two weeks of Jayhawk West action.

The Saints would start slow and fall behind as much as four early but the North Carolina connection of Tony Smith and Donte McCarter would keep Seward in it with the first nine points of the game for the home team to keep the game knotted at nine. Seward would take its first lead of the game at the 14:20 mark of the first half as a driving McCarter would find Marky Nolen down low for the finish to put the Saints up 11-9. Seward was able to stay ahead through the middle part of the first period but wouldn’t be able to run away as Cloud continued to match the Saints bucket for bucket before Latiq Agard connected on a jumped to cap a 7-0 run and put the Saints up 26-19 with seven minutes to go in the half. Cloud would chip away slowly and cut the Seward lead to one with a free throw and then go ahead by one with yet another first half basket by point guard Adrian Herrera. Spencer Moore would score the games next five points and give Seward a four point lead but Brandon Newton would bang a three from the corner to cut the Saint lead to just one as the teams went to the locker room with the scoreboard reading 38-37 in favor of Seward.

The teams continued to trade points as the second half opened and Cloud and Seward remained tight as the Saints led by just two with 9:40 to go in the game. From that point on it was all Saints as Seward turned up the defensive pressure and capitalized on their offensive possessions as Latiq Agard gave the home team their first double digit lead of the game with 5:48 to go as Spencer Moore connected with the big fella down low. The T-Birds would cut the lead to nine a couple of times late but would get no closer as a three point play by Marky Nolen would put an exclamation point on an 80-66 win for the Saints. Seward outshot Cloud 58-37% in the game and the T-Birds were unable to capitalize on a 40-33 rebounding advantage as they fell by 14.

Tony Smith again dazzled the Seward faithful as the sophomore point guard went for 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists, all team highs while Donte McCarter and Marky Nolen went for 13 points apiece in the win. Marcus James put up most of his 12 points and 7 rebounds in the second half and Latiq Agard put together another workman like effort with 12 points on 5 of 8 from the field. Spencer Moore played a season high 25 minutes and took advantage scoring a career high 8 points including a pair of triples for the Saints.

The 14-3 Saints won’t have much time to celebrate as they get ready for a stretch including Saturday where they will play 7 games in 14 days. Their next matchup will take them to Colby Monday where they will take on the Trojans before returning home Wednesday in non-conference action to play On Point Prep Academy. Free tickets for Wednesday’s game can be picked up at Southern Office Supply, the Community Bank, and both Pizza Hut locations.