Just in case you haven’t noticed yet, this year’s Seward County Saints team that prides itself on the defensive end of the floor, happens to be pretty talented on the offensive end of the floor as well and they proved that yet again this weekend as they came away with a 112-63 win on Friday against Redlands and a 93-61 win over Clarendon Saturday to finish a perfect 2-0 in the 2011 Billy’s/Days Inn Classic in the Greenhouse.

In their first game of the classic the Saints took on a Redlands Cougars team who is just 8 months removed from a trip to the NJCAA National Tournament. Seward was sharp out of the gates, taking a 4-0 lead just seconds into the contest and stretching their lead to 16-8 just three minutes later as Kaheem Ransom started his big night with a dish to Irvin Hollinger for a deuce. The Saints ran their lead up to 21-8 when Briston White knocked down a jumper and blew the game open to 28-10 on another bucket from the freshman. After their lead reached 20 on a three pointer from Ransom, the Saints went on a 13-0 run, finished by a pair of pure free throws from Daveon Boardingham to make it a 46-13 game with 6:07 to go in the half. As the game rolled along, the Cougars simply had no answers for the Saints offensive attack as Ransom scored 11 points in a span of four minutes to push Seward out to a 61-19 lead and put the game away with 22 minutes still left in the contest. Another Ransom three before the break gave the reigning Jayhawk Conference Player of the Week 24 points as the teams split for their locker rooms with Seward on top 64-22. The Saints shot a blistering 60% from the field in the first 20 minutes of play and connected on 16 of 23 free throw tries to build the big halftime lead.
With the laugher in progress, the Saints came out of the break and scored the first four points on buckets by Boardingham inside to go up 68-22 and soon saw their lead hit 50 when Corieon Pearson hit a pair of free throws to make it 74-24. The Saints took their largest lead of the game with 10:11 to go when Edson Avila grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back home to make it 94-36 and Seward hit the century mark with 7:18 left when Hayden Harris connected on a jumper to make it 100-44. With their starters sitting on the comfortable padded seats of the Seward bench, their reserves took the game down the home stretch and carried the Saints to a 112-63 win as the final horn sounded to move the guys in green to 5-0 on the year.
The Saints finished shooting exactly 60% in both halves of the win and finished the game 8 of 18 from beyond the arc, good for 44%. Ransom clicked for a game high 29 to go along with 6 rebounds and 5 assists for the Saints while Boardingham powered in 16 points and 7 rebounds from down low. Hollinger had 11 for the Saints while White and Brice Jenkins had 10 and Avila and Harris had 9.
Saturday night the Saints would get the predictably exciting Clarendon Bulldogs. A year ago when the teams met there were 233 points put up on the board in 40 minutes and Saturday’s expectations were not a whole lot different. Seward attacked the rim hard out of the opening tip and with 6 points from Hollinger and 4 from Boardingham in the paint, the Saints had a 10-0 lead right off the bat. Clarendon got their first field goal at the 15:55 mark but the Saints were relentless on both sides of the ball and took an 18-8 lead with two more Hollinger free throws with 12:42 to go in the half. Things slowed down pace wise and a White three pointer put the Saints on top 22-8 two minutes later. Seward built upon their lead when Trey Starks drilled a 16 footer to make it 30-14 and the Saints lead hit 20 with 5:03 remaining in the half when Jenkins dished to Hollinger for two. Clarendon looked like they were going to tighten things up before the half and had the Seward advantage down to 12 before back to back buckets from Ransom and Jenkins made it 47-31 and a run out and slam by Starks as time ticked down made it 49-31 as the halftime buzzer sounded. For the third straight half on the weekend the Saints shot 60% or better as they hit on 17 of 28 from the floor in the first half of this one while holding the Cougars to just 23% shooting.
The second half saw the scoring slowdown in its initial moments as just nine points combined were scored in the first six minutes and Seward remained ahead 53-36. A Hollinger finish on a dish from White broke the silence and it sparked a 13-2 run for the Saints and culminated in a 66-38 lead for the home team with just 10:40 to go in the game. An 11-3 Clarendon burst to cut it to a 69-49 game prompted a Seward County time out and the tactic worked as the Saints again built their lead back up to 27 at 80-53 with under 5:30 to go in the contest. Seward’s lead grew to the largest all night when Harris hit a left wing three to make it 90-56 and after trading free throws back and forth in the final moments, the Saints came out on top 93-61.
Seward shot 57% from the floor in the win while holding the high flying Bulldogs to just 28% on the evening. The one downfall for Seward in the win was their second half free throw shooting the saw them hit on just 12 of 30 tries to finish the night at 52%. Hollinger had a career high 24 for the Saints in the win while four other Seward players joined the sophomore in double figures. Ransom had 14 points and 7 rebounds and Starks had 11 and 6 while both Boardingham and Jenkins went for 10. Avila chipped in 7 points, 9 rebounds, and a pair of blocked shots for the Saints and White and Pearson combined for 13 in the Seward backcourt.
The Saints have done all they could have so far, outscoring their opponents by an average of 101-60 in their 6-0 start. They will undoubtedly face their stiffest test of the early season next weekend when they travel to Odessa to take on the host and undefeated Wranglers on Friday followed by New Mexico JC who is off to a 5-2 start on Saturday.