It wasn’t your typical Seward County Saints basketball game Wednesday night in the sense that the final score resembled what sometimes is seen on the scoreboard shortly into the second half, but nevertheless Saints Coach Bryan Zollinger will take it as his team moved to 2-1 in Jayhawk West Conference play in the Greenhouse last night with a 67-64 win over the upstart Trojans of Colby.


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Two very different teams opposed each other on Wednesday as Seward’s high flying offense which leads the conference in scoring took on a Colby team that prefers to keep the score down and leads the Jayhawk in scoring defense on the season. The Saints, as they typically do, opened the game strong, scoring on three of their first four possessions and before the Trojans knew what hit them Seward led 7-0 just 1:30 into things. Things would slow down but the Saints would extend their lead to 10 at the 13:13 mark when Daveon Boardingham picked up an offensive rebound and put it back in to make the score 17-7 in favor of the home team. Seward would find themselves struggling to find their rhythm however as the midway mark of the first half hit and Colby would take advantage, slicing the Saints lead from 10 down to 4 out of the first half media timeout. The 11-5 Colby run would catch the Saints attention and they would quickly distance themselves again from the Trojans. Phil Hawkins and Rafriel Guthrie would knock down left wing three’s sandwiched around a pair of Jeremy Jones free throws and again the Saints found themselves with a 10 point cushion at 30-20 with 5:23 to go in the half. Colby would pick up a couple of buckets to bring the Saints lead back to 6 but Marquez Patterson would finish on a drive to the lane and Jones would hit a last second three for Seward to give them their largest lead of the first half as they went into the locker rooms up 11, 35-24.

The Saints again began the period strong as the second half kicked off, quickly pushing their lead up to 45-28 thanks in large part to 6 quick points from Patterson. Colby would begin to whittle away at the sizeable margin but as the 10 minute mark hit, Seward still held a double digit lead of 49-38. The teams would go back and forth for the next 3:30 and Seward’s lead would be down to 8 before Marky Nolen connected with Irvin Hollinger down low on a finish to put them up 10, 57-47 with 6:38 remaining. A couple of minutes later Hawkins would hit two free throws to put the Saints up 61-52 and it looked as if Seward would cruise to the finish line for their 10th win in a row over Colby. The problem was, the Saints took that a little bit too much to heart and looked as if they had thrown their high powered offense into cruise control a little bit too early and the scrappy Trojans saw this as their opportunity. A Trojan runner in the lane would fall and back to back corner three’s for the powder blue would go down and in a span of 75 seconds the Saints lead was cut from 9 to 1 as they led just 61-60. After a Seward timeout Hawkins would be fouled and sent to the line where he would hit both free throws to put the guys in green back up by 3 but Colby would answer quickly and it was again a one point game with 2:04 to go. With under two minutes to go, the Saints committed their 21st turnover of the game and it was costly as Colby would take it down and score to take their first lead of the game 64-63 with 1:20 left in regulation. Looking to regain the lead, Seward turned the ball over yet again on their next possession and a 50/50 call on the other end of the floor would thankfully go against Colby on a charge to give the Saints the ball back with 57 seconds left on the clock. Down by one with under a minute left on the clock, the Saints remained patient on offense in what was possibly going to be their last possession. Jones penetrated to the basket as the shot clock hit 10 but was cut off and forced to dish it back outside to Patterson. Without hesitation, the Liberal native hoisted up a three pointer from the left wing and found nothing but the bottom of the net to the delight of the home crowd and the Saints again went up 66-64 with just 29 seconds remaining in the game. Down by 2, Colby would get the ball into the hands of their top shooter Carson Konrade but he was unable to connect from the corner on a three point attempt and the ball would land out of bounds off the miss and the Saints would have it with 6 seconds left. Jones caught the inbounds pass and was fouled where he went to the line with a chance to ice it but he made just one of the two shot bonus to give Colby one last prayer. With time expiring the Trojans leading scorer Hurley Johnson would miss a three from up top and the Saints would escape with the 67-64 win.

Oddly enough, the final score would resemble exactly the score the last time the two met in the Greenhouse nearly one year ago with the Saints coming back to win late 67-64 thanks to the heroics of a hometown star who created a three point play, that happened to wear #3, that time it was Robert Sigala, this time, a different hometown star made the big three that wore #3, Marquez Patterson. Patterson would finish the game with 13 points and 3 assists while Jones was the only other Saint to reach double figures as he ended the night right at his average with 16 and 4 assists. Guthrie and Boardingham would each finish with 8 and Raphael Giaimo would chip in 6 points inside for Seward. The Saints 67 points were a season low while their 22 turnovers were the most they have had in a game this year.

The win makes Seward 14-3 on the year as they have now won 9 of their last 10 contests. More importantly, the win over Colby puts them at 2-1 in Jayhawk West Conference play where they currently sit 3rd behind Hutchinson and Cloud County. The Saints will wrap up their three game home stand on Saturday when the struggling Pratt Beavers come to the Greenhouse at 8:00. Saturday’s buyout sponsor is Billy’s BBQ, located in the Village Plaza in North Liberal, which will be providing free tickets until game time. Saturday will be Isaiah Thaw poster night so make sure to pick up your poster of the Saints forward and have him sign it at halftime of the Lady Saints game outside of the concession stand.

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