After a loss at home to Cloud County two weeks ago, it looked as if the Seward County Lady Saints chances of hosting a home playoff game in the 1st round of the upcoming Region VI Tournament. However, a young group of Lady Saints showed their resiliency of late, finishing the season by winning three straight, including a defensive 48-44 battle over Butler Saturday night at the Power Plant to clinch 4th place in the Jayhawk West and reserve a date in the Greenhouse on Tuesday.

After winning two straight to set up their showdown with the Lady Grizz, the Lady Saints struggled early in the must win game. Butler would get out to a 16-7 lead as Seward struggled with both holding onto the ball and then finding the hoop with the ball when they didn’t turn it over. The teams would play even for the next few minutes and with 5 minutes left in the half it was still a nine point Butler lead at 22-13. The Lady Saints would then start to find a rhythm and would slowly creep back into the game with a three from Autumn Miller and a basket on the inside from Kelsey Willson to put themselves within striking distance. The Lady Saints defense would continue to fluster the Lady Grizzlies offense and Butler would be able to score just 2 points in the final 5 minutes of the period and a stop with time winding down would find Seward within 3 points at 24-21 as the half came to a close. The halftime numbers were nearly identical in the first 20 minutes of action as Seward shot 30.4% while Butler shot 30.3%. Both teams would struggle from beyond the arc as the Lady Saints finished the half 2 for 13 from three point land and Butler just 2 makes in their 11 tries.
The defenses would again be the story in the early portion of the second half as Seward’s box and one against the conference’s leading scorer Abby Fawcett again had Butler’s wheels spinning while the Lady Grizzlies physical style would keep the Lady Saints from getting their footing as well. Seward would take the lead as the 14 minute mark hit with a three pointer from Morgan Skomal and seemed to cut a hole in the Lady Grizzlies sails as the Lady Saints would continue to push the pace and would find themselves on top 36-27 with 9 minutes remaining in the game. From the 5 minute mark remaining in the first half to the 9 minute mark remaining in the game the Lady Grizzlies managed just 5 points and it proved costly in the end. Butler would make a run late in the game to get close and the Lady Saints turnover problems would help the Lady Grizzlies get to within two but an inability to make free throws and a late drive and score from Hannah Rotolo would seal the win for the Lady Saints as they went on to win a rather ugly battle 48-44.
The Lady Saints would finish the game shooting 35% after a 40% connection rate in the second half and would hold Butler to just 44 points on 19 of 62 shooting on the night. Seward would turn the ball over 29 times on the night but would be bailed out by a 2 for 18 shooting night from the three point line by Butler and even more importantly a 4 for 12 night from the line from the Lady Grizzlies. Each team would have just one player in double figures on the night as Miller led Seward with 10 and Paige Franklin led Butler with 10 as well. The three high profile scorers in this game would have a rough night as the Lady Saints top two scorers Ashlynn Knoll, who had a career high 32 on Wednesday against Garden City, would score just 4 points on the night and Mariah Lee who was averaging 11 points per game would have just 6 for Seward. For Butler, their leading scorer and the Region’s leading scorer Fawcett would have her second straight forgettable game against the Lady Saints as she scored 13 points under her average with just 6 on Saturday night after getting just 2 in the teams’ first meeting. Rotolo would finish with an interesting line for Seward as she scored just 6 points but had 9 assists as well as 7 steals in the win.
The win gives Seward the #4 seed out of the West for the Region VI Tournament which means they will be at home Tuesday night against Ft. Scott rather than on the road at Kansas City where the Lady Grizzlies are now headed. The win also marks the Lady Saints 20th of the season which gives the Seward County Women’s Basketball program their 19th straight season of 20 or more wins. Tuesday’s do or die matchup with the Greyhounds will begin at 6:00 Tuesday in the Greenhouse and free tickets will be available through game time thanks to our buyout sponsor Windtree Management at their office (103 W. Pancake) or also at Pizza Hut, Billy’s, First National Bank, Hutch’s, or Express Lane.