The #13 Seward County Saints were literally one foul away Saturday night from having to finish their overtime thriller with #19 Hutchinson with just four players on the floor. The Saints were whistled for 36 fouls, had 5 players foul out, and allowed Hutchinson to shoot 46 free throws as they came up just short in their regular season finale in the Sports Arena. The Saints led by as many as 12 in the second half despite the foul troubles that sent all three of their post players to the bench early in the half, but Hutch made a late game comeback before sending the game to overtime where the exhausted Saints were outscored 7 to 2 as Hutch claimed the 73-68 victory.

Seward got off to a good start in their final tune-up before Region VI Tournament play. An early three point play from Brice Jenkins and a pair of Deverell Biggs finishes in the lane had the Saints up 12-9 five minutes into things. Hutch jumped back into the game and tied it up at 19 as the Saints foul trouble began but Seward overcame the obstacle and still remained ahead 25-20 with 6:05 remaining in the half after back to back and one’s from Kaheem Ransom and Edson Avila. The Dragons grabbed the lead back with 4:13 to go after a 6-0 run and led 30-27 with just under 3 minutes left in the period. The Seward defense dug their heels in and the Saints long bombers got going. Seward held the Dragons without a basket for the final three minutes and Corieon Pearson canned a pair of three pointers and Trey Starks hit one before the buzzer to give the Saints a 9-0 splurge and a 36-30 lead into the halftime break. Of Hutchinson’s 30 first half points, half came from the free throw line in which they reached 26 times compared to the Saints 6 free throw attempts.
Hutch wasted no time in taking advantage of a depleted Saints front line early in the second half and 4:30 in, the game was tied for the seventh time, this time at 38. Battling the elements, the Saints showed some character and their hot shooting from the outside continued. Starks and Biggs hit three pointers and Jenkins hit another in the midst of a 12-2 Seward run to take a 50-40 lead with 10:44 to go in the game. Moments later, Biggs knifed through the Dragon defense and hammered down a dunk and was fouled to give the Saints their largest lead of the game at 53-42. Seward couldn’t get anything to fall in the next 3:30 from the field and Hutchinson chipped the Saints lead down to 58-53 with 7:06 remaining. That’s when the Saints started dropping like flies. Every time the whistle blew it was another Seward County player exiting the game with their fifth foul. Hutch used that to tie the game back up with 3:29 to go, but Daveon Boardingham who battled immense foul trouble all night was able to sink a pair of free throws with under 3:00 to go to give the Saints the lead back 64-62. A short time later, the Saints big man became their fourth casualty of the night due to fouls and Hutchinson tied the game back up at 64 in his absence. Two more Dragon free throws gave them the lead 66-64 but Biggs continued his big night with a drive and score with under a minute to go to tie it at 66. Both teams held on their final defensive possessions and the teams went to overtime tied at 66.
Seward gave the first punch in the extra period as Biggs got a pair of free throws to put them up 68-66. After the fifth Saint fouled out of the game in Jenkins things went downhill for the guys in green. Seward finished the overtime period with just two points and did not make a field goal while Hutchinson hit three free throws down the stretch to hold on for the 73-68 win.
Biggs led the Saints with a game high 26 points and also had a career high 9 rebounds for Seward. Jenkins pitched in 13 and Ransom had 7 points and 8 boards. Hutchinson shot 48 free throws in the game and hit 32 of them while the Saints got to the line 24 times where they also hit 67%. Boardingham, who played just 7 minutes in the game and was held without a field goal before fouling out, was also accessed a second technical foul after fouling out of the game and will be forced to sit out Wednesday’s playoff game against Ft. Scott as a suspension.
Seward drops to 24-6 overall on the year and finishes 12-4 in the Jayhawk West for the second straight year. The loss does not affect anything in the conference standings for Seward as they finish as the Jayhawk West Champs and are the #1 seed out of the West for this week’s Region VI Tournament. Up first for Seward is a date with Ft. Scott on Wednesday in the Greenhouse at 8:00 in the first round. Free tickets are still available courtesy of our buyout sponsor Windtree Management at their office on West Pancake, as well as at Pizza Hut, Hutch’s, First National Bank, Express Lane, Community Bank, and Southern Office.