The bookends of the 8th ranked Seward County Lady Saints game against Jayhawk West rival Cloud County didnít go exactly as planned, but the stuffing inside of the five minute stretches were just what the doctor ordered as the Lady Saints erased an early 10 point deficit to go into the half up by 9 before holding a 13 point advantage midway through the second half and hanging on to take down the defending Region VI Champs 79-76 to move to 15-2, 4-0 on the 2011-2012 campaign.

Sewardís much anticipated matchup with the Cloud County Lady T-Birds didnít get off on the right foot as Cloud bolted out of the gates to a 7-0 lead before the Lady Saints found the basket for the first time 3:19 into the game. The Lady T-Birds continued their strong start to go up by the score of 14-4 when Seward County decided to kick things into gear. Down by 10 with 14:47 to go in the half, the Lady Saints seemingly flipped a switch. The gals in green got things going with a Kelsey Blair to Hanna Bognar hookup down low and continued their roll moments later as high school teammates LaQuecia Parker and Charmaine Burns worked a 2 on 1 to perfection to cut the Cloud lead to 14-12. Ashlynn Knoll was fouled and went to the line with 11:59 remaining in the half and cashed in both of her shots from the charity stripe to tie the game at 14 and would score on the Lady Saints next trip down the floor to give Seward a 16-14 lead after a 12-0 run. After over 3:30, Cloud finally added a point to the scoreboard but Seward answered that with six of their own to go on top 22-15 just past the midway mark of the half. Ricquia Jones buried a three pointer and Kayla Thomas slashed to the basket to put Seward up 10 before a steal from Jones led to a breakaway for Blair that had them on top 33-19 and the folks from Concordia stunned. Cloud County closed the half on a 5-0 run but the Lady Saints still took a 41-32 lead into the break to the delight of the packed Greenhouse crowd. Seward forced 14 first half turnovers by the Lady T-Birds and controlled the paint with a 26-20 advantage on the glass.
Cloud once again scored the first basket of the half but the Lady Saints pushed their lead back to 11 two possessions later after a free throw from Burns and a three from Knoll to make it 45-34. Up by 10 with 16:07 remaining, the Lady Saints went into an offensive funk, unable to buy a bucket for three minutes as Cloud closed the gap to just four at 50-46. Thatís where the spread remained until an Anete Kirsteine three pointer put Seward back up by 7 and spurred a 13-4 run to put them up 70-57 with just under 8 minutes remaining. It looked as if the Lady Saints were well on their way to a win over the Lady T-Birds when Cloud County dug in their heels and decided they werenít going to roll over that easy. A lid went over the Seward basket and all of a sudden the Lady T-Birds found their groove. A six minute stretch saw the Lady Saints score just two points while Cloud County chipped away and chipped away before getting the Seward lead down to three and then just one with 2:30 remaining in regulation. A restless Seward faithful was happy to see the Cloud run stop as Mariah Lee got one to fall to make it 74-71 Seward with 1:23 to go but the Lady T-Birds answered right back to once again make it a one point game with 1:15 left. The Lady Saints brought the ball back the other way and used almost all of their 30 second shot clock before giving it to their sharpshooter Kirsteine who drilled a three pointer from the wing to put Seward up two possessions and four points 77-73 with just 47 seconds to go. A Cloud County free throw cut the Lady Saints lead to three and a costly miss on the front end of a one and one meant the Lady T-Birds had the ball with a chance to tie the game with just 40 seconds left. A Seward foul sent the Lady T-Birds to the line where they made both attempts to make it a one point game 77-76. Cloud decided not to foul the Lady Saints with the 8 second differential on the game clock and shot clock and after finding a crease with 14 seconds remaining, Jones drove to the basket but was unable to finish her shot inside to which the Lady T-Birds grabbed the rebound. In a roller coaster of emotions, Jones quickly picked the pocket of the Cloud guard and Seward got a timeout clinging to the one point lead. Lee was fouled off of the Seward inbound but was able to hit the first free throw to put the Lady Saints up two but missed the second. Fortunately for the home team, Knoll came up big with the offensive rebound and got the ball to Lee who was fouled again. This time the Seward sophomore missed the first attempt but hit the second to make it a 79-76 game with 4 seconds left on the clock. Cloud got the ball past half court but couldnít get a shot up and the Lady Saints were all smiles as they escaped with the three point win.
Lee led all scorers with 22 points in the win while also pulling down 7 rebounds inside. Knoll just missed her second straight double-double as she finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds on 6 of 12 shooting. Kirsteine had 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists in 24 minutes of action and Jones finished with 5 points, 5 assists, and 5 steals for the Lady Saints.
The Lady Saints improve to 15-2 overall on the season by winning their 7th straight game and remain undefeated in Jayhawk West play at 4-0. The will have one week of preparation thanks to their Wednesday bye before heading to Dodge City on Saturday to take on a Lady Conqs team still looking for their first conference win.
#8 SEWARD COUNTY/CLOUD COUNTY BOX SCORE