If you have followed the Seward County Lady Saints basketball team this year, it is no secret that one thing blaring in the programs unusually slow start has been its lack of experience. Saturday night against the Barton Cougars that was not the case as the Lady Saints came out on top of a 77-66 decision thanks in large part to a career high 21 points from sophomore Morgan Skomal and 15 points from Seward’s only other sophomore Hannah Rotolo.
Although they shot just 36%, Seward would control most of the first half thanks to knocking down 13 of 17 free throw attempts and forcing 14 Cougar turnovers. At the half the Lady Saints went in with a comfortable 38-29 lead but Barton would make things very interesting in the second half, looking to win in the Greenhouse for the first time since 2007. The Cougars would step things up on the offensive end in the final 20 minutes and would close the Lady Saints lead to as little as four midway through the period. Untimely turnovers and 14 more points from the free throw line in the second half by Seward would prove to be too much in the Cougs comeback bid and the Lady Saints would pull it out in the end 77-66 to put a smile on the face of their home crowd as they picked up their first conference win of the 2011 season.
Incredibly the Lady Saints were bested by the Cougars in almost every category on the stat sheet. Seward shot just 39% from the floor to Barton’s 45%, the Cougars shot 36% from three point land to Seward’s 21%, and Barton outrebounded the Lady Saints 41 to 30 among others but the difference came in turnovers and from the charity stripe where Barton gave the ball away 24 times and made just 14 of their 24 free throw attempts. Seward on the other hand turned the ball over just 11 times after committing the most turnovers in nearly 20 years in their last game and the Lady Saints knocked down 27 of 36 from the line, their second best shooting percentage of the season.
Individually for Seward it was Skomal’s career high 21 that paced them, the sophomore hit 5 of 10 from the field and 9 of 11 from the free throw line in the win. Rotolo put up 15 against her old squad and also added a game high 5 assists and 4 steals in the victory for Seward. Mariah Lee had a nice game inside for the Lady Saints, scoring 11 points and grabbing 9 rebounds while Autumn Miller and Kelsey Willson both added 9 for Seward.
The win moves the Lady Saints to 11-5 overall on the season and evens up their Jayhawk West conference mark at 1-1. Seward will continue their three game home stand on Wednesday when they welcome an improved Colby Lady Trojans team to town at 6:00. Wednesday’s buyout sponsors will be the High Plains Daily Leader/Southwest Times Newspaper as well as Crop Production Services in Plains.