Itís always an emotional night when the Seward County Lady Saint sophomores are recognized as they play their final Jayhawk West Conference home game. Fortunately for the Lady Saints and Seward fans, they donít have to worry about not seeing this yearís five Seward sophomores again in the Greenhouse as they will be playing in next weekís Region VI Tournament first round at home. Even better, on this recognition night, it was all Lady Saints in the game on the floor as Seward got a career high 17 points from Kayla Thomas and hit 14 three pointers as a team for the second time in three games to come away with a big 73-48 win over the Butler Lady Grizzlies to complete the season sweep over their Jayhawk West mates from El Dorado.

To put it nicely, the start of the game was not pretty for either team. The first points of the game were scored 3:30 in and the game was tied at 2-2 over 5 minutes into things. A wing three from Mattie Yanke gave the Lady Saints their first lead of the game with 12:30 to go in the first half but it was Butler that held a 9-7 lead as the midway point of the first half hit. Yanke hit another big three for Seward to give them the lead back with 9:01 to go in the half and a Thomas three moments later put the Lady Saints ahead 13-11. The long ball kept the Lady Saints in the game as Anete Kirsteine got in on the act to give Seward a three point lead 18-15 but the Lady Grizzlies, whose playoff positioning was already locked in before the game, stuck right with Seward and the game was tied 18-18 with 4:34 to go after a pair of Butler free throws. Ashlynn Knoll grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled where she hit two freebies to give the Lady Saints the lead back and this time it was for good. Seward heated up on the offensive end in a big way and hit five longballs in the final 4 minutes of the half to help an 18-7 run to close the period and take a 36-25 lead into the half. As well as hitting 8 first half three pointers, Seward held Butler to just 21% shooting in the half to take the 11 point lead.
The second half didnít start exactly as the Lady Saints had planned and after two quick baskets, Butler was back to within six at 36-30. Back to back hoops from Knoll put Seward back on top by 10 and that is where things stood with 15:36 to go in the game. The Lady Grizzlies looked like they wanted to make a game of things and stayed within striking distance with the score 47-36 with under 13 minutes remaining. Thatís when the Lady Saints decided that they were done playing cat and mouse with the Lady Grizzlies and decided to put the game away. Seward went on a 17-2 run highlighted by threeís from Kelsey Blair, Yanke, Kirsteine, and Knoll to blow the game open to 64-38 with just 6:13 to go. The Lady Saints kept Butler without a field goal for over 8:30 minutes and built their lead all the way up to 27 with a three point play from Thomas late in the second half before going on to win 73-48.
It had been 8 years since the Lady Saints made 14 three pointers in a game and after Wednesday night, they had done it in two out of their last three games. Seward finished 14 for 31 from the three point line, while they were just 11 for 28 from inside the arc in the game. They held Butler to just 25% shooting in the game and 19% from three point land. Thomas scored a career high 17 for Seward in her final home Jayhawk West Conference tilt while Kirsteine hit 5 three pointers en route to a 17 point night. Knoll scored 14 for Seward and Yanke finished with four threeís and 12 points while Ricquia Jones dished out 11 assists for the Lady Saints. Hanna Bognar, playing in front of her father Tibor who flew in from Hungary for the game, had a team high 7 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in the win.
The win keeps Seward County in the hunt for the #2 spot in the West for the upcoming Region VI Tournament. The Lady Saints improve to 22-6 overall on the year and 11-4 in Jayhawk West play. They will head to the Sports Arena in Hutchinson on Saturday, looking to do something that no other team has been able to do in the past 58 games; knock off the Lady Dragons in Hutchinson. An upset win would give the Lady Saints the #2 seed while the best they could do with a loss would be the #3 seed. Stay tuned to the Seward County Athletics Twitter feed on the homepage of for final standings and Region VI Tournament matchups after Saturdayís game in Hutchinson.