The Seward County Saints continued their winning ways Saturday night in Great Bend by going into the Barton Gymnasium and handing out a whooping to the Cougars on their home court to the tune of a 71-50 Seward win. The Saints led from the get go, scoring the gameís first basket and never trailing in the contest. Seward would take a 12 point lead to the half before packing on to the advantage and leading by as many as 27 late in the second half before going on to win by 21 to move to 21-3 overall on the year.
In the first of three straight road games for the Saints, the guys in green would start things off on the right foot in Great Bend against the Barton Cougars as the teams would trade turnovers to kick things off before Marky Nolen knocked down a long jumper to get the scoring started. Barton would score inside on their next trip down the court to tie things up but I donít think they took the time to enjoy the tie score because they didnít expect for the 22 seconds to be the closest they would get to the Saints all night. Markee Mazyck would hit a right wing three pointer to put Seward up 5-2 and moments later Phil Hawkins would connect on a pair of free throws from the line to make it 7-2 Saints with 15:45 to go in the half. After a Barton three made it 7-5 in favor of Seward, the Saints would go on a 9-1 run with buckets from four different players to open the game up 16-6 with 11:10 remaining in the half. Barton would be unable to close the distance on the Saints as the two teams went back and forth through the middle part of the half and it was still a 26-17 lead for Seward as the teams approached the 4 minute mark of the half. Mazyck would then connect on an elbow jumper to put Seward up 11 and would follow that with a steal and score to give the Saints their largest lead of the half at 30-17 with 3:35 left in the period. The teams would trade baskets before a Barton three pointer to cut the Seward lead to 10 but Rafriel Guthrie would score for the Saints as the clock wound down to give the guys in green a 34-22 lead as the teams hit the break.
Seward came out of the locker rooms strong and quickly built on their already sizeable lead. Daveon Boardingham would score the first four of the half for the Saints and would then rip down a rebound and launch the outlet pass up the court into the waiting hands of Jeremy Jones who would coast in for a layup to give Seward a 15 point lead with 16:01 left. The two continued to put on a show as the midway point of the half cam as Boardingham would own the boards and Jones would lead the Saints offense and with 11:54 remaining the Saints had their first 20 point lead of the night at 49-29. With Barton on their heels and the Saints clicking, the lead would swell to 24 and then 27 with 3:47 to go after a offensive rebound and put back by Nolen to give him his 7th straight double-double. The final moments would be uneventful as the two teams played the clock out and Barton would reduce the Saints lead but not by much as Seward County would go on to win 71-50.
The Saints would hold the Cougars to just 29% shooting in the game while even on an off night on the offensive end, would shoot 42% themselves. Boardingham led the way with 15 points and a career high 15 rebounds while Jones had a typical night with 17 points and 6 assists in the contest. Nolen finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out, recording his 7th double-double in as many outings. Mazyck stepped into the starting lineup and finished with 12 and Guthrie who was battling an illness would score 7 points and have 6 rebounds off of the Seward bench.
The win would be a milestone for Seward Head Coach Bryan Zollinger who picks up his 100th win in just 127 tries, making him the fastest Menís Basketball Coach in school history to do so. His team moves to 21-3 on the year and matches the best start for a Seward Menís team since the 2002-2003 team started the season 22-3. Even better news out of Saturday night is that with the Saints moving to 9-1 in conference play and Dodge City upsetting Hutchinson in the Sports Arena as well as Colby shocking Cloud County in the Community Building, Seward now has a 3 game lead on Hutchinson and a 3 Ĺ game lead on the T-Birds as the teamís head into the Monday slate of games. Seward will head to Colby tonight to take on the upset minded Trojans tonight at 8:00 and will then be on the road again Wednesday when they head to the Beaverdome to take on Pratt before returning home Saturday for homecoming.