In a series that has been historically close between the Seward County Saints and the Dodge City Conquistadors, Saturday nights Jayhawk West Conference tilt between the two was expected to be a good one. However, before halftime even hit you could see some fans heading to the exits as Seward took control early and never let up, blowing the Conqs out 92-65 in a game that wasn’t even as close as the final score represented.
Early on it looked as if this one was again primed to be another hard fought battle between Seward and Dodge. Rafriel Guthrie would get two quick buckets for the Saints while a Dodge City score on their opening possession followed by a three would give them a 5-4 lead. Jeremy Jones would knock down a pair of shots to put Seward up 8-5 but the Conqs would stay close and five minutes into things it was Seward 10 and Dodge City 9. The Saints would score the next 6 points, including 4 from Marky Nolen to go up 7, 16-9 at the 13:02 mark but Dodge would keep within striking distance and trailed by just 4, 18-14 one minute later. From that point on, there weren’t a whole lot of highlights for the visitors from Dodge. The Saints would score 8 straight points with 4 from Phil Hawkins and 4 from Markee Mazyck to go up a dozen and they were not done yet. Up by 14 with just over four minutes to go in the half, it was Saints forward Daveon Boardingham’s turn to take over. The 6’8 New Jersey native would score on back to back possessions for Seward to put them up 43-25 and would later on grab an offensive rebound and get fouled where he knocked down both free throws to give the Saints their first 20 point lead of the evening with 2:33 to go before the half. The Saints would continue to rack up the points and would go into the half up 52-29 to the dismay of the guys in purple and gold. Seward would finish the half shooting 49% from the floor while Dodge’s offensive woes would continue, shooting under 30% at 10 of 36.
The Saints lead would reach 30 early in the second half when a pair of free throws from Hawkins put them ahead 66-35. Dodge would never get closer than 26 after that point and Seward’s lead would reach as many as 33 twice in the final 15 minutes. While many of the Conqs starters remained in the game late, Seward would turn to their bench to close things out and all 11 players active for the game would eventually find their way into the scoring column. With all said and done relatively early in the contest, it was just a matter of what the final score would be and as the clock hit triple zero’s the Saints would find themselves on top 92-65.
As expected with the final score, the stat sheet would show that the Saints dominated nearly every phase of the game. They outshot the Conqs form the field, the three point line, and the free throw line as well as outrebounding them and committing less turnovers. The Saints offensive attack was balanced in the win with no players reaching the 20 mark plateau but five different players scoring 12 or more. Jones led the way with 18 points and 4 assists while Hawkins matched his career high with a 17 point effort after being held off the scoreboard for the first time in his Seward County career Monday against Cloud County. Guthrie would finish with 16 points and 8 rebounds and Boardingham ended the night with 12 points and 6 rebounds. Nolen would keep his seat as ‘chairman of the boards’ as he led all players with 10 rebounds to go along with 12 points, marking his 3rd straight double-double.
Seward County continues to send back all comers as they have now won 12 of their last 13 games dating back to November, with their only loss coming on the road by five points to #1 Hutchinson. The win moves the Saints to 17-3 overall on the season and keeps them atop the conference standings at 5-1. Next up for Seward will be a tough road battle at Garden City on Wednesday with an early start time of 7:30.