When you have as many first half turnovers as shots taken it is hard to win a Jayhawk West Conference basketball game. Throw in the fact that you are playing against a top 20 team in a building that they havenít lost in for nearly two and half years and you are in a nearly impossible situation. In the end, the Seward County Lady Saints turnover problems were just too much to overcome in their conference opener against #19 Hutchinson as the Lady Blue Dragons cruised to a 73-56 win in the Sports Arena Wednesday night.


The game started very slowly for both sides as Hutchinsonís high powered attack was unable to find the bottom of the net from the field for nearly five minutes to open the contest but the Lady Saints were not able to take full advantage of the Lady Dragon misfires as they led just 2-1 at the 15:22 mark. That is when Hutch got things going, hitting back to back three pointers to take a 7-2 lead before the teams traded layups to bring the score to 9-4. Morgan Skomal would hit a corner three for the Lady Saints to draw them to within two but the Lady Dragons would go on a 6-2 run to extend their lead to 13-7 nine minutes into the game. Seward would fight back and after a Autumn Millerís second three pointer of the half found the cords, the two teams were tied up at 15 with just under nine to go in the half. The next three minutes and change would prove costly to the Lady Saints as their offense went cold and Hutchinson took control. Seward would manage just a trio of free throws in the span while Hutch put up a seemingly endless barrage of shots that didnít miss as they went on a 10-3 spurt to take a 25-18 lead that they would never again relinquish. Later on in the half Miller would again connect on a three to cut the Blue Dragon lead to 28-25 but Hutch closed the final four minutes on a 13-6 run, including a buzzer beater as the horn sounded to stretch their lead to 41-31 as the teams hit the locker rooms.

Hutchinson scored the first two points of the second half but Ashlynn Knoll would get the next three for Seward to cut the deficit to eight and it looked as if the Lady Saints might be ready to make a run. Unfortunately for those in green at the Sports Arena, Hutch wouldnít have any part of that as they outscored Seward 12-3 in the next 5:30 thanks in large part to burying 10 of 10 free throw attempts to take their largest lead of the game at 55-38. The Blue Dragons would push their lead up to as much as 22 before eventually wrapping it up 73-56 to send Seward to their first loss in a conference opener this century.

The Lady Saints committed 32 turnovers in the game, another unwanted distinction that takes Seward fans back to the 1990ís to find a time in which that happened in a ballgame. Seward did outshoot Hutch from the field, knocking down 41% of their shots while holding the Lady Dragons to a season low 36% from the field. A big discrepancy came at the charity stripe where Seward made just 12 of 21 attempts compared to Hutch who hit 22 of 26 chances. Knoll led the way individually for Seward, leading the team in points with 14, rebounding with 7, and steals with 4. Mariah Lee, playing through an injury was the only other Lady Saint to reach double figures as she finished with 10 points and 3 rebounds.


Seward will head into Saturday nightís affair with Barton at 10-5 and 0-1 in Jayhawk West Conference play as they look to continue their success against the visitors from Great Bend who they have defeated in three of the teams last four matchups. Plenty of free tickets are still available courtesy of our buyout sponsor The Bank of Beaver City and will remain available during the banks business hours though Saturday. The night will also mark the first of eight sophomore poster nights as Saturday will be Hannah Rotolo poster night. Make sure to pick up your poster of Hannah at the entrances and have her sign it for you at halftime of the Menís game outside of the concession stand.

Photos courtesy of Stephanie Carpenter