In a game that more resembled a black and blue division football game, the #22 Seward County Saints outlasted a late charging Garden City team to move to 11-0 at home in the Greenhouse this season. In the game there were a combined 39 turnovers, 36 offensive rebounds, 48 fouls, and 61 free throws, a style of game that favored Garden City more than Seward but in the end, the Saints were able to come out on top with a 5 point 78-73 victory.
The two teams would show right away that they had different agendas on the offensive side of the floor as Seward County’s first four buckets of the game would come on the inside and three of Garden’s first four would come from the three point line as the Busters led 11-8 6 and a half minutes in. Seward would go more than 6 and a half minutes after that without a made field goal and Garden would build up their biggest lead of the game during that span as they led 17-11 with 9:22 left in the half. A slashing Marky Nolen was able to find Latiq Agard for an easy lay in down low and Jon Tassin followed that with the first of two triples for him on the night to cut the Buster lead to 17-16. The two teams would stay arm in arm for the remainder of the half and traded baskets on their last possessions of the half to remain deadlocked at the break 30-30.
Jon Tassin knocked down a pair of free throws for Seward to open the second half to break the tie and give the Saints the lead but as it seemed to happen all night, Garden City connected on a three pointer on their next possession to retake a one point lead. The Saints would take control of the game after that as they scored the game’s next nine points to take a 41-33 lead, holding Garden scoreless for nearly five minutes. They would lead by 9 as a timeout was called with 8:34 to go in the game and would dominated the next two minutes of the game to open the lead up to 14 with just over 6 minutes to go, a lead that many Saints fans thought would be more than safe. The Busters would trim the Saints lead to single digits again as McHenry kissed one off the glass with 3:11 left but Seward would push the lead back to 12 with under a minute to go. Just when it looked like this one was finally over, McHenry launched a three and connected to cut the lead to 9 and then Vince Banks would hit a free throw to shrink the lead to 8. Banks would miss his second free throw attempt but the 5’9 McHenry grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled shooting another three to put him on the line. He made two of the three but Latiq Agard would sink both of his after a quick Garden foul to put Seward back up 8. The Busters rolled the ball up the court to keep the clock from starting and McHenry got off another three point attempt in which he was fouled on to give Garden a chance to cut the lead to 5 without any time running off the clock. He did just that by finding nothing but the bottom of the net on all three chances and it was a game again with under 30 seconds to go. Garden would get as close as four but the Saints were able to finish off enough free throws down the stretch to give them a five point win as the final horn sounded.
The Saints shot exactly 50% in both half’s and held one of the conference’s worst offenses to just 38% shooting but were hampered by 22 turnovers and 18 offensive rebounds by the Busters. Garden City hoisted up 38 three pointers on the night, the most shot by any team in the conference this season. Marky Nolen came up big when the Saints needed him as the 6’2 combo man did most of his 25 point 12 rebound work down low against a much bigger front line of Garden City, which included 6’9 260 lb Martell Jackson, but helped Seward just as much in breaking Garden City’s press which sandwiched point guard Tony Smith all night. Latiq Agard also played big inside for Seward in the win, going 7 for 12 shooting to score 19 points as well as doing an admirable job in stopping the Garden post players who scored just 8 points on the night. Jon Tassin followed up his Jayhawk West Conference Player of the Week nomination with a 14 point 5 rebound effort and Marcus James scored 9 points and had 6 rebounds. Tony Smith finished with 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists and Robert Sigala played 22 solid minutes racking up 6 rebounds to go along with his 4 points. Garden was paced by the outside attack of Chris McHenry and Avery Jirmnson who launched a combined 27 3’s, connecting on just 7 of them as the two finished with 17 and 18 points respectively.
The 78-73 win is Seward’s 11th in their last 12 games as they move to 17-4 on the season and 6-1 in Jayhawk West Conference play. Their plates will be full coming up as they will head eastward Saturday to take on Butler in the Power Plant before tangling with their rivals #9 Hutchinson in the Sports Arena on Monday. They will return home next Wednesday with a date with Barton County to kick off a three game home stand.

GAME NIGHT PHOTO GALLERY (Click on thumbnail to scroll through pictures)