The Seward County Saints were admittedly rusty coming out of a three week layoff this weekend in Chanute for the Neosho County Sonic Shoot-Out, but the Saints found a way to come out with a 2-0 record after picking up a 66-65 win over the host Panthers Friday night and a 66-63 victory over Johnson County on Saturday to ring in the new year with a 12-2 record as they prepare for conference play starting on Wednesday at Barton.

In their first contest since December 10th, the Saints took on Neosho County on their home floor Friday night. Seward took control of the game from the opening tip and built a 36-19 lead with three minutes remaining in the first half before the Panthers fought back with a pair of buckets before the break to make it a 36-23 game at the halftime break. Seward shot 48% overall in the first half from the floor but scorched the nets for 55% from the three point line, hitting on 6 of 11 attempts.
The second half was quite a different story as it was Neosho who was the aggressors, stifling the Saints offensive attack and working their way back into the game slowly but surely as they hit on 57% of their second half shot attempts. The Panthers got to within one point of Seward in the final minute of the game but the Saints held on to come away with a 66-65 win, escaping a scare from their Jayhawk East opponent. The Saints shot just 36% in the second half and failed to hit on any of their 4 three point shots but were able to capitalize on 14 of 19 free throw attempts to squeak out the one point win.
Deverell Biggs led the Saints with 17 points on 6 of 15 shooting while Daveon Boardingham finished with 11 points and a team high 7 rebounds for Seward. Edson Avila scored 10 points and had 6 rebounds in 22 minutes of work and Kaheem Ransom chipped in 9 for the Saints who never trailed in the contest.
On the final day of 2011 it was Johnson County that was on the Seward schedule in Chanute for a matinee affair between the Jayhawk Westís Saints and the Jayhawk Eastís Cavaliers. Seward struggled early on on the offensive side of the floor but were able to get to the free throw line where they cashed in 8 of 12 first half chances to keep themselves in the game. Johnson County on the other side had their way when they were able to get shots to the rim, shooting 50% in the first half to remain toe and toe with the reigning Jayhawk West champs. As the first half came to a close the Saints led 33-29 despite shooting just 38%.
The script flipped during the first part of the second half as the Saints got into an offensive rhythm and dug their feet in on the defensive side of the ball, building up a comfortable 54-47 lead as the final minutes of the game approached. The feisty Cavs were not ready to go away though as they battled back to erase the Saints seven point lead and make it a one possession game in the final minute. But, Seward outlasted Johnson County in the end to slip away with a 66-63 win to finish a grinding Sonic Shoot-Out 2-0. The Saints shot 55% in the second half while holding Johnson to just 36% shooting and 1 of 9 from three point land.
Biggs again paced Seward with an 18 point effort while Irvin Hollinger came off the Saints bench for 12 points and 5 rebounds in the win. Ransom was the only other Saint to get into double figures in the low scoring affair as he came away with 10 points and a team high 7 rebounds for Seward. The key stat in the Seward win was a 23-6 advantage in bench points as Johnson won the point off turnovers battle 14-9 as well as the second chance points 18-10.
The Saints finish the non-conference season 12-2, exactly where they were one year ago when they finished the Neosho classic 2-0. Now the Saints turn their focus to Jayhawk West Conference play where they will look to defend their 2010-2011 crown starting on Wednesday night when they will travel to 14-0 and 7th ranked Barton to kick off the conference schedule at 8:00.