In front of a packed house both nights of the Pepsi Classic this weekend in the Greenhouse, the Seward County Saints put on an offensive exhibition in a pair of wins over the Colorado Kings and the Neosho County Panthers, winning 119-101 over the Kings Friday and 102-59 over Neosho on Saturday night to start the 2010-2011 season 2-0.
Seward’s first points of the season came off of the smooth stroke of Jeremy Jones who stepped to the line on the Saints first possession and knocked down a pair of free throws to put the guys in green up 2-0. The Kings would play the Saints close early and held a one point advantage until Daveon Boardingham got loose inside for a bucket to put Seward up 9-8. That set off a 12-0 run for Seward that was capped by a three pointer from Phil Hawkins to put the Saints on top 19-8. The Saints would keep their distance from the Kings through most of the half as they saw their lead swell to 14 at 36-22 with 11 minutes to go in the half after a give and go finish from Jones with an assist from Marky Nolen. Moments later the Saints would see their largest lead of the half at 15 when Marquez Patterson buried a jumped on Hawkin’s 5th assist of the first 13 minutes. Still up a dozen with 3:45 to go in the half, the Kings would outscore Seward 7-2 in the next two minutes to reduce the Saints lead to 55-48 and looked to take momentum into the half until the Saints scored 7 of their 62 first half points in the half’s final 1:20 to take a 62-50 lead into the locker room. The Saints shot 56% and forced 13 turnovers in the first 20 minutes but Colorado banged home 10 threes to minimize their deficit to just 12 at the break.
The Saints would come out of the locker room as hot as they finished the first half as they outscored the Kings 10-3 in the first 2:30 to take their largest lead of the game at 72-53. Seward’s offensive onslaught continued through the middle of the half but the combination of the Colorado offense and the lack of Seward defense wouldn’t allow them to pull too far away until an offensive rebound and putback from Tyler Brashears gave them their first 20+ point lead of the night at 103-83. With the century mark behind them, Seward wasn’t done as they continued to pile up the points to 119 with a last minute jumper from Rafriel Guthrie to conclude the scoring. When all was said and done the Saints had themselves a 119-101 victory and proved their depth as six players reached double figures on the night.
Jones led the Saints in scoring with 19 while Guthrie was second on the team with 17 to go along with 5 rebounds. Nolen led the team with 8 rebounds and also scored 16 points and had 3 steals in the win. Patterson had 14 on 6 of 9 shooting in his return to the court for the Saints and Markee Mazyck and Irvin Hollinger each chipped in 11 in their first contest in the green and white. Hawkins led the Saints with 9 assists to just one turnover and also scored 5 points and had 5 rebounds.
The win for Seward was more than just another opening night victory as Friday’s victory marked the 700th win in school history.
A good early season matchup on paper, the Saints Saturday date saw the Neosho County Panthers opposite of them. Neosho had beaten Pratt by 11 on Friday to set up the cross conference battle between Seward from the West and the Panthers from the East side of the Jayhawk Conference. As soon as the game started it was all Seward. The Saints scored the first five points of the game and Neosho failed to scratch the scoreboard until over 2:30 into the contest as Seward had a 5-2 lead. The Saints would then go on a 12-0 run and a 15-2 run without allowing a Neosho field goal in over four minutes. Leading 20-4, Seward continued to put the pressure on the Panthers on both sides of the court. They pushed their lead to 19 at 27-8 and then to 40-15 thanks to a slew of Neosho turnovers and quick offense off of the fast break opportunities. The Panthers would cut the lead to under 20 for just seconds until a Marky Nolen finish inside would again give the Saints a 21 point advantage at 47-26 as the half came to a close. Seward shot 47% in the first half and forced 17 Neosho turnovers while allowing just one Panther three pointer to fall in 14 attempts.
As the second half got underway, the Saints offense started right where it left off, scoring 7 of the first 8 points of the half to go up 27 as they were doubling up the Panthers 54-27. The Lead would hit 30 after Jeremy Jones connected on both the front and back ends of a trip to the line to make it 66-36 and moments later a three ball from Rafriel Guthrie on a dish from Phil Hawkins would push the lead to 73-42 in favor of Seward. While the Saints starters began to take a rest on the bench, the Seward depth began to show itself as they put the Panthers further and further in the hole. A jumper from Marquez Patterson would give the Saints their first 40 point lead of the night and back to back makes less than a minute later from Raphael Giaimo and Tyler Brashears would give Seward their largest lead of the game at 90-45. The Saints pinnacle lead of the night came when they were again doubling up Neosho 94-47 with 4:33 to go and the only left to do was see if the Saints were going to get to 100 for the second straight night. They did just that when Chris Chaney knocked down a pair of shots from the charity stripe and went on to come away with the 102-59 win.
Nolen led all scorers with 22 points while Jones put up 17 to go along with a game high 6 assists. Brashears and Patterson combined for 21 points off the bench for the Saints and Giaimo showed flashes of what could be to come in the paint for Seward this season with 9 points and 5 rebounds in 9 minutes of work. Seward forced 33 Panther turnovers and held them to under 30% shooting on the night.
Seward will sit on their 2-0 record for a week before heading back to game action Friday and Saturday when they travel up Highway 83 to take on Clarendon and Highland in the Garden City Classic. The Saints will play both days at 3:30 in the Perryman Center.