The Seward County/Garden City rivalry was renewed Wednesday night in the Perryman Center as the visiting Saints looking to complete the season sweep of the Busters on their home floor. After a good start, the Saints were unable to hang on to the lead and eventually dropped the game to Garden 85-82 when all was said and done.
After a rather sloppy affair the first time these two hooked up, Wednesday night was much more visually pleasing early as Seward County jumped out to a hot start and led the Broncbusters of Garden City 19-11 seven minutes in. The Busters would chip away at the Seward lead and eventually tie the game and take the lead going into the half as the Saints were simply unable to come up with defensive stops when it seemed that they were getting the momentum on their side. Garden led 46-44 at the break behind a much better offensive attack than fans saw the first time out of the guys in brown and gold as they shot 51% in the first 20 minutes. Seward was right there with them and shot 46% in the half as well as finding their way to the free throw line 19 times, connecting on 15 to find themselves down just 2 at the break.
Garden controlled the early part of the second half and found themselves up 9 seven minutes after the break. They would continue to stay at arm’s length from the Saints most of the way until Seward picked up their defensive intensity late and found themselves down just 4 as time wound down on the clock. Marky Nolen and Marcus James would score inside sandwiched between a Garden three point play and Seward was down just 3 with two minutes left. The Busters would be the beneficiary of a number of whistles down the stretch and did an admirable job at the free throw line while the Saints seemed to connect on just one of two when they got to the line late as Garden stretched their lead to 5. With under 10 seconds to go, Latiq Agard finished at the rim and was fouled to bring the Saints right back in it down just 3. Agard intentionally missed the free throw in the hopes that the Saints could recover it and get a three point opportunity to tie the game. The shot hit the front iron but the Saints were not able to come down with it and they were forced to send Garden guard Bobby Wesley, an 80% free throw shooter to the line to seal the game. Wesley missed both attempts and the Saints were given a second chance. With 3.2 seconds remaining on the clock, Donte McCarter brought the ball up the court, pulled up from 35 feet but missed just long as he looked to send the game to overtime and the Saints fell 85-82.
Latiq Agard led the Saints with 19 points and 7 rebounds while Marcus James ended the night with 15 and 7 boards. Marky Nolen had a solid second half and finished with 14 while Robert Sigala had 13. Garden got a career night out of forward Eric Griffin who finished with 23 points and 7 rebounds on 10 of 11 shooting, including a big late basket to put the Busters up 5 with under a minute to go. Guard Chris McHenry scored 20 for Garden on 6 of 20 shooting and 2 of 12 from the three point line. Seward shot 70% from the free throw line but did leave 13 points at the charity stripe as they found their way there 44 times, knocking down 31 of the attempts.
With the loss the Saints are locked into the #3 seed in the Jayhawk West Standings with one game to play. Seward will host its final regular season home game Saturday night when the 15th ranked Butler Grizzlies come to town for sophomore recognition night before hosting the first round of the Region VI Tournament at home on Tuesday as Kansas City Kansas CC will come to town in a rematch of last year’s first round game. Saturday night’s buyout sponsor is Sharp, McQueen PA and free tickets are available there as well both Pizza Hut locations, Express Lane, and Browne’s Coffee House.