The Seward County Lady Saints were hoping that the past was behind them as they tipped off the second half of conference play Saturday night at home against a struggling Barton team. Seward, who was coming off a tough loss to #2 Hutchinson on Wednesday, thought that their date with the 13-9, 3-5 Lady Cougars could get them back on track. That couldn’t have been more wrong. After a good start, the Lady Saints seemed to have a lid on their basket the rest of the night as their lead slipped away before Barton took control in the second half to come away with a 62-57 win to stun the Seward faithful.

#6 Seward came out playing hard coming off of their first loss in over 2 months. The Lady Saints scored on their first four trips down the floor to open the game with no problems. Kayla Thomas and Ricquia Jones got the ball inside to Mariah Lee who had her way inside to make it 4-0 and Anete Kirsteine scored the next five for Seward to go ahead 9-0 less than two minutes into the game. Barton scored their first field goal with 13:48 left in the half to make it 9-4 and cut the Seward lead to 9-6 on their next possession. Payton Fleming and Kelsey Blair came off the Lady Saints bench and immediately hit shots to spark a 10-2 Seward run and just like that they were up by 11, 19-8 with 8:16 to go in the half. A four minute scoring drought for Seward let Barton back to within six and after a Kirsteine layup put the Lady Saints back up by eight, a 7-0 burst for the Lady Cougars quickly made it a one point game at 21-20. A pair of Mattie Yanke free throws put Seward up 23-20 and the Lady Saints limped to the locker room with the three point lead after going the final 8:23 with just one field goal. The Lady Saints struggled to just 22% shooting in the first half but forced 16 Barton turnovers to remain on top through the first 20 minutes.
The Lady Saints offensive struggles continued as the second half got underway and their lead was quickly erased as Barton took their first lead of the game 24-23. A free throw tied the game at 24 but an offensive rebound and putback for the Lady Cougars made it 26-24 Barton and it wasn’t until the 16:44 mark of the half until Seward saw a field goal drop, making it over 11:30 with just one field goal for the Lady Saints through the middle of the game. The Thomas bucket seemed to recharge the Lady Saints as they used it to gain momentum and take the lead back where they eventually pushed it to 32-26 by keeping Barton off the board for a five minute stretch. Seward looked to have things back under control with 11:36 remaining in the game as they led 35-30 but yet again, an extended period of time with a stagnant offense did them in as Barton used a 7-0 run to put the lead back on their side 37-35 with 7:18 to go. Down 44-41, Seward was able to tie the game back up on a strong move inside from Lee to complete an old fashioned three point play with 4:36 remaining. The Lady Saints couldn’t keep the momentum though and it proved to be their undoing. An easy basket on the other end gave the Lady Cougars the lead back and two turnovers turned into 4 more Barton points as they took their biggest lead of the game at 50-44. The Lady Saints got it down to a 3 point game two different times down the stretch but couldn’t come up with the defensive stop they so desperately needed and remained down by six, 57-51 into the final minute of play. Blair hit a three pointer with under 10 seconds left to make it a one possession game again at 60-57 but Barton converted on their free throws on the other end to put the final touch on their incredibly improbable upset of the 6th ranked Lady Saints on their home floor 62-57.
Seward shot just 29% in the game and hit on just 3 of 20 three point attempts. They forced 29 Barton turnovers and got off 18 more shots than the Lady Cougars but weren’t able to make them count. Barton outrebounded Seward 46-33 and had 12 assists to the Lady Saints 10. Lee and Thomas were the only Lady Saints to reach double figures as they finished with 11 and 10 respectively.
The disappointing loss for the Lady Saints drops them to 18-4 overall and 7-2 in conference play. They remain in 2nd place, two games behind Hutchinson and one game in front of Garden City and Cloud County. Their schedule will get lighter over the next week as Wednesday they go to Colby to take on the 7th place Lady Trojans in the Community Building before returning home to battle 8th place Pratt on Homecoming night in the Greenhouse Saturday.