As a Saints fan, if you see the name Tony while reading something about Seward winning a basketball game your mind automatically thinks to the Saints do it all point guard Tony Smith. However, Saturday night in the Greenhouse it may have just been a different Tony that lifted Seward to their 67-64 victory over Colby.
The matchup on paper didn’t look to be a very good one as a Colby team that came into the Greenhouse looking for their first win since November squared off with the Saints who were 11-0 at home this season. Most of the first half played out as expected as Seward took a comfortable lead after some early jostling back and forth and were up 20-13 halfway through. The margin would stay about the same late as Latiq Agard finished off a Marcus James pass inside to keep Seward up 6 with 1:42 to go in the half. Up 5 with time winding down, Seward failed to clear the boards on a missed shot by Colby and saw the ball end up in the hand of the Trojans leading scorer for the half Regis Schafer who drained a fade away three as time expired to send his team to the locker room down just two at 34-32.
Colby would quickly tie the game as the second half started and would go on to take the lead as Schafer connected on another triple to give the Trojans their first lead since the opening minutes of the game. Colby held the lead almost the entire second half and would have a 7 point lead with 4 minutes to go as Michael Morris finished inside off a Schafer dish. The Saints would chip away and Latiq Agard would sink the back end of a two shot foul to cut the lead to 3 but Colby’s Aireus Stephenson would score on the Trojans next possession to re-give them the 5 point cushion with 1:46 to go. Tony Smith would connect on a long range bomb to put Seward down just 62-60 and after a 1 of 2 from the line from Colby, the Saints were down 3 at 63-60 with 1:14 to go. Seward had a shot blocked on their next trip down the court but after a Colby timeout Marky Nolen stripped Stephenson of the ball and took it to the rack to cut the lead to 1 with under a minute to go. Nolen fouled Stephenson on Colby’s next possession but the sophomore was able to connect on just one of two chances and Colby was up 2 with 43 seconds remaining in their upset bid. With the shot clock winding down on the Saints ensuing possession, Nolen found Agard down low and the big man was able to finish to tie the game at 64 with 23 seconds left. As Colby tried to hold for the last shot, Nolen again created havoc for Stephenson as he stole the ball and passed ahead to Robert Sigala who went up strong to the basket, got fouled and made the shot to give Seward their first lead since the 18:15 mark as the Greenhouse crowd erupted. Sigala made his bonus shot to put the Saints up 3 and Stephenson missed a decent look from 30 feet as the buzzer sounded to end the game and let Seward escape with the 67-64 win.
Neither team shot the ball extremely well in the contest as Seward edged Colby just 43 to 41% from the floor in the game while Colby kept themselves in the game by knocking down 8 three pointers to just 2 for the Saints. Colby could have single handedly cost themselves the game at the free throw line where they went just 8 for 17 but the Saints weren’t much better at just 13 for 24. The inside combo of Latiq Agard and Marky Nolen pushed the Saints over the top on the night as Agrad scored 24 and Nolen 12 to lead the way for Seward. Donte McCarter had 8 points and 6 assists and Marcus James had 7 points and 6 rebounds on the night. Tony Smith continued a recent scoring slump as he picked up just 5 after seemingly breaking out of the drought Wednesday with 20, but did help out on the boards for the 3rd straight game as the point guard finished with 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
Now for the feel good story of the night. Last year on February 6th Saints then freshman guard, Robert Sigala tragically lost his 13 year old brother Tony to a devastating battle with cancer. This year on February 6th, the Saints now sophomore guard had one of his best games of the season playing in memory of his little brother Tony, scoring the game winning bucket for the Saints to cap off a 9 point, 4 rebound, 3 assist performance while playing 26 minutes without a turnover for coach Bryan Zollinger. “I played my best for him” Sigala said after leaving his locker after the game where he had a picture of Tony hung up. “With all the stuff we have been fighting through mentally with these guys, tonight was really a big win for us” said Zollinger after his teams win. The Saints are now 19-6 on the season and 8-3 in conference play with the win. They will wrap up a three game home stand Wednesday as they host the Pratt Beavers who will undoubtedly be hungry after a home loss Wednesday night to Cloud County. Free tickets for Wednesday’s game with Pratt courtesy of the buyout Sponsor Billy’s are available at: Billy’s, Hutch’s North, Jerry Harding State Farm Insurance, KSCB, and the South Pizza Hut in Liberal. Wednesday will be Robert Sigala poster night so make sure to grab your poster of Robert and have him sign it at halftime of the Lady Saints game outside the concession stand.