The Seward County Saints hit the road to Dodge City Friday and Saturday for a pair of games in the 2010 Thanksgiving Classic in the Civic Center. After dropping their first contest to Cowley on day one, Seward rebounded for a 29 point win over New Creations prep to move to 6-2 overall on the season.
While they may not be titled an official rivalry just yet, the Seward County Saints and the Cowley Tigers have exchanged their fair share of punches over the past few years as the teams have traded ending each other’s seasons for the past three years. The two teams contest on Friday night in Dodge would be yet another neutral court matchup for the teams and would go down to the wire much like their past meetings had.
Seward went right after the Jayhawk East favorites early and got out to a 13-4 lead just moments into the game. However, the Tigers would fight back behind Iowa State signee Tyrus McGee and would carry all the momentum into the locker room, leading by nine 37-28. Cowley would shoot an even 50% in the first half while the Saints struggled after a hot start and would hit just 32% of their attempts in the first 20 minutes of action.
The Saints would turn up the defensive pressure in the second half and would get things rolling on the offensive side of the floor as well to work their way back into the game late but a barrage of late three’s from the Tigers would keep them in front as they went on to eventually win by six 80-74. Seward hit 46% of their second half shots and converted on 12 of 16 free throw chances while Cowley made just 3 of 14 two point attempts in the half. The difference came from beyond the arc and at the charity stripe where the Tigers outscored the Saints by a combined 19 points in the half on the way to the win.
Five Saints had 10 or more points in the loss led by Marky Nolen’s 17. Irvin Hollinger scored 13 and Rafriel Guthrie, Jeremy Jones, and Phil Hawkins had 10 apiece. Guthrie finished with a team high 9 rebounds and Markee Mazyck picked off 6 steals for the Saints but it wasn’t enough as they went down by six.
Saturday it was New Creations Prep Academy from Indiana on the slate for the guys in green. The Flyers were able to keep it close through much of the first half but the Saints would use a late burst to take a 12 point lead into the break 42-30. Seward was 17 of 34 from the field in the first half and knocked down 4 of 9 three point attempts but left 6 points at the line, going just 4 for 10 from the charity stripe in the first 20 minutes of action.
Whatever Coach Bryan Zollinger said during his halftime speech put a fire under his young Saints team as they came out of the break ready to go and promptly stuck it to New Creations, blowing the game wide open in the first few minutes of the half before cruising to a 90-61 win. The Saints would shoot 54% in the half and held New Creations to just 35% shooting.
In the game Seward would turn 30 Flyer turnovers into 36 points and would also put in 20 points on 20 second chance opportunities. All 14 Saints played in the game while six of those players reached double figures in scoring on the night. Guthrie led the way with 13 while Daveon Boardingham, Tyler Brashears, and Jones all scored 11 in the win. Hawkins chipped in 8 and had a team high 4 assists while Raphael Giaimo scored 6 and had a team high 7 rebounds for Seward.
The split brings the Saints to 6-2 overall on the 2010-2011 campaign as they ready themselves for this weekend’s Conestoga Classic in the Greenhouse. This first time event will be a men’s only classic with Garden City, Odessa, and Raleigh’s Finest Prep coming to town. The Saints will take on Raleigh’s Finest on Friday at 8:00 and will then matchup with the Odessa Wranglers Saturday night at 8:00. Free tickets to the classic are available courtesy to our buyout sponsor Conestoga Energy at the following locations: Conestoga offices at 300 N. Lincoln, Billy’s, Community Bank, and both Pizza Hut locations.