After a disappointing loss to #1 Hutchinson on Wednesday, the Seward County Saints were looking to rebound at home Saturday night with a win over the Barton Cougars in the Greenhouse in their Jayhawk West Conference home opener. After a slow start and trailing most of the first half, the Saints did just that with a big second half to come away with an 82-70 victory to improve to 13-3 overall on the season.
With both teams desperately looking for a win after dropping their conference openers, it was Barton who came out of the gates stronger, leading most of the way in the first 20 minutes of action. The Saints never let the lead get far though and a right wing three pointer from Marky Nolen at the horn would actually give the Saints a 36-34 lead as the teams went into the half. The second half was all Seward as they pushed their lead to 6 early on and would never relinquish it again. They would hold the Cougars to just 31% shooting in the final 20 minutes and an ice cold 0 for 11 from the three point line while dialing it up a notch on their side of half court, torching the nets for 57% shooting as well as getting to the free throw line 29 times, knocking down 20 of those attempts. The highlight and possible icing on the cake of the game came midway through the second half when a beautifully designed play out of a timeout worked to perfection when Jeremy Jones threw a backside lob pass to Daveon Boardingham who flushed it home with two hands to put them up 8 at that point in time. The Saints would cruise to the finish line and be on top of a 82-70 spreads as the final horn sounded.
The Saints again had no problems offensively as they shot 51% for the game from the field and also found their way to the free throw line 36 times, converting on 23 of those attempts. Leading the way individually was Rafriel Guthrie who scored 19 including 10 for 12 from the line in the win while Jones scored 13 in 34 minutes for the Saints. Irvin Hollinger and Marquez Patterson both had big first halves and combined for 21 points in the game while Nolen narrowly missed a double-double with 9 points and 8 rebounds.
Seward improves their overall record on the year to 13-3 and picks up their first conference win in two tries to go to 1-1 in Jayhawk West play. Their next contest will come against a much improved Colby squad who already has more conference wins than they did all of last season. That game will be on Wednesday in the Greenhouse with the opening tip set for 8:00. Wednesday will be Chris Chaney poster night so make sure to grab your poster of Chris at any of the entrances and have him sign it at halftime of the women’s game outside of the concession stand. Wednesday’s buyout sponsors are the High Plains Daily Leader/Southwest Times and Crop Production Services in Plains. Free tickets are now available thanks to those sponsors at Holiday Inn, Days Inn, Pizza Hut, First National Bank, and businesses all around Plains.