In what has been the story of their Jayhawk West season thus far, the Seward County Lady Saints dropped a tight, 59-53 decision on the road Saturday night in Great Bend to the Barton Cougars to fall to 15-9 overall, and 5-5 in conference play. Seward would lead by 9 midway through the first half before their lead shrunk to 2 before the break and would hold that lead to the 10 minute mark of the second half before a 9-2 run did them in as the Cougars would grab the lead and never let go as the Lady Saints drop back to back conference games for the first time since 2009.
As the game tipped off the Lady Saints would find themselves in a 5-0 hole to a Cougars squad that had won 7 out of their last 8 games since Seward last defeated them in early January. Seward would fight back and score the next 6 to take a one point lead and Barton would hit a free throw to bring things back to square one. Sewardís Morgan Skomal and Bartonís Christina Caddy would trade buckets to make it 8-8 before Mattie Yanke hit a corner three for the Lady Saints to put them up 11-8 six minutes into things. Barton would climb back to within one with a pair of free throws but the Lady Saints would go on an 8-0 run highlighted by back to back three pointers from Kelsey Willson and Yanke to put the gals in green up 19-10 as the 10 minute mark approached. The Lady Saints would keep their distance from the Cougars to the 6 minute mark where they led 23-15 but Barton would keep Seward off the board for two minutes while scoring 8 straight points to tie things up at 23 with 4:16 to go in the half. After the Cougars would go up two points on a steal and score, Hannah Rotolo would tie the game back up at 28 with a pair of free throws with 2 minutes remaining. Neither team would get much going on offense as the half came to a close but the Lady Saints would manage 3 points to Bartonís 1 and would take a 31-29 lead into the half.
The action on the offensive side of the court would quicken as the second half began but Seward would still have a two point lead before a pair of Cougar free throws would tie the game up for the 6th time on the night. An Autumn Miller three pointer would break the tie and a three point Seward advantage is where the two would stand as the clock hit the 12 minute mark. A scrappy Barton group would tie things up once again with 11:20 left but the Lady Saints would get a three from Ashlynn Knoll on their next possession to make it 44-41. The Cougars would hold the Lady Saints scoreless for the next four minutes and would take a two point lead of their own before a Willson layup would tie the game for the 9th time on the night with 6:54 remaining. Another three minutes would pass without the Lady Saints finding the basket while Barton scored twice to go ahead by 4 and after Seward broke their draught with a finish inside by Mariah Lee, the teams were again separated by just two at 50-48 with 3:58 left. Following Sewardís 23rd turnover of the night, Barton sharpshooter Alisha Fanshier would hit her first field goal of the night and it couldnít have been bigger as she banged home a wing three to put the Cougs up five, 53-48 with 2:25 left. Lee would score again for Seward to cut the lead to three and Rotolo would come up huge for the Lady Saints hitting a three from up top against her former team to knot things up at 53 with under a minute to go. On Bartonís next possession Raven Adams would find nothing but the bottom of the strings on a three from the right wing with 31 seconds left and it would be the dagger for the Lady Saints as they would turn the ball over yet again with 13 seconds left and would be done in from the free throw line by the Cougars before falling 59-53.
The two teams would combine for 52 turnovers in the game and Barton would come out with the close win thanks in part to 20 offensive rebounds on the night. Both teams would struggle offensively on the night as Barton shot 32% and Seward 31% but the free throw line was the difference where the Cougars outscored the Lady Saints 18-9 in the win. Seward had just one player in double figures as Rotolo scored 10 and had 5 steals while Miller and Willson both had 9 in the loss.
Seward drops to 15-9 on the season and 5-5 in Jayhawk West Conference play. The Lady Saints are now 0-4 on the road in Jayhawk West action where they will be both Monday and Wednesday night where they travel to Colby and Pratt, both tips scheduled for 6:00.