In an event that marks the kickoff to the basketball season and continues to grow in popularity, the Saints Bookstore Basketball Preview Night once again thrilled the audience in its 9th installment Tuesday night in the Greenhouse. The Seward County Saints and Lady Saints as well as Spirit Squads put on a show, keeping the 1200+ fans on the edge of their seat for the duration of the night.

After an autograph signing session and a pair of fan contests, the Saints and Lady Saints starting putting their talents to use. First up it was the Women’s team coaches against the Men’s team coaches in a free throw contest. Saints Head Coach Bryan Zollinger was able to take the slight early lead on Lady Saints Assistant Coach Caitlin Demarest but Lady Saints Head Coach Toby Wynn came roaring back to outlast Saints Assistant Coach Jason Sautter by four to win the contest and give the Women’s coaches bragging rights for the next year.
Next up was the 2nd Annual Administrators Challenge where SCCC/ATS President Dr. Duane Dunn went head to head against Athletic Director Galen McSpadden. After watching Dr. Dunn receive some help last season in knocking him off in the challenge, this year McSpadden was prepared with his own trick up his sleeve. Instead of shooting the shots for himself, McSpadden called on the services of former Lady Saint great Cheryl Jackson-Newsome and her two children to get the job done. That they did, making a layup, free throw, and three pointer to win the contest for McSpadden to even the all-time series at 1-1 in the Administrators Challenge.
The Battle of the Sexes Three Point Contest was next on the schedule and after three straight wins from the Saints, the Lady Saints were looking to get back on track in the event. The Lady Saints shot first, sending sophomores Ricquia Jones, Kelsey Blair, Anete Kirsteine, and Marta Oledzka to the court for their side. The four sharpshooters managed to nail 17 long balls to take the early lead before Rockell Lee-Vaughn, Jabari Peters, Leslee Smith, and Kaheem Ransom took the floor for the fellas. The quartet got off to a good start and looked like they had it won, but a late power outage did them in as they hit just 13 from beyond the arc to give the Lady Saints the 17-13 win.
Following the shootout, the event that everyone had been waiting for was set to start as four high flying Saints prepared to do battle in the Slam Dunk Contest. First up was freshman Patrick Parker who tried to turn up the level of difficulty to get things going and had trouble getting one down before settling for a simple dunk to earn 34 points. Second was redshirt freshman Thaddeus Smith who used a pass from teammate Kaheem Ransom to throw down a reverse dunk for 43 points. 5’10 sophomore Briston White was the third to go and used his incredible athleticism to jump over 6’6 teammate Quentin Purtue to notch an almost perfect score of 49 from the five judges. Then it was time for the showman, Edson Avila to take center stage. The sophomore who wowed fans last season by jumping over a pair of youngsters, dialed it up a notch this season as he dressed up as an elderly woman, hid himself in the stands, and gingerly came down the stairs as his name was called before skying through the Greenhouse air to throw a dunk down with two hands to earn a 47 and advance to the finals against White. In the finals Avila had trouble connecting with a pass from the stands and had to settle for a routine dunk for a 29. White didn’t coast to the finish line though as he threw an alley-oop to himself before hammering down a windmill slam for 49 points to win the contest.
The Saintsations and Seward County Cheerleaders put on a show next and thrilled the crowd with their highflying and entertaining performance before the lights turned off and it was time for another show. With spotlights going and fans on their feet, the Lady Saints were introduced one by one, launching t-shirts to fans around the Greenhouse. The Saints Men’s team, full of players who love the spotlight, each had something ready to go as they were introduced. Some a dance, some a hand sign, and others props, led by Quentin “Cowboy Q” Purtue who donned a straw cowboy hat and bandana, fitting for the old West of Southwest Kansas.
As much talent as the Saints and Lady Saints have on the court, they showed that they also had other talents after the introductions as they participated in the 2nd annual Dance Off. The Lady Saints went with a more choreographed routine to get the Greenhouse fans going while the Saints went freestyle to try to earn the victory. Ricquia Jones and Malcolm Hill-Bey squared off in a one on one showdown with their teams gathered around them before the Lady Saints went into the stands to get the crowed involved which sealed the deal for their victory as the Greenhouse faithful gave them a roar as the winner was announced in a fun event for all.
To finish off the night it was time for business as each team squared off in a 10 minute intersquad scrimmage. The Lady Saints went first and the white team came out on top 17-9 thanks in part to some hot shooting from the outside while the Saints game was a back and forth battle with a number of players playing above the rim with slam dunks before the green team brought home the win in a nail biter 23-22.

To watch a replay of all the nights action CLICK HERE.