The 9th ranked Seward County Saints showed the Greenhouse faithful this weekend that they are going to be the most entertaining ticket in town for the next five months, lighting up Fort Carson and Godís Academy in a pair of Pepsi Classic wins to begin the 2012-2013 season 2-0. Friday night the Saints put together a balanced effort, with six players in double figures to easily take care of Fort Carson Army base 107-62 while on Saturday night they showed their lock down defensive abilities to force 44 Godís Academy turnovers to win 97-54.

Sewardís first opponent, Fort Carson, was an unknown as they traveled to take on the Saints for the first time in program history. A physical, veteran group was all the Saints knew they were getting and at first, they showed that they were not going to back down from the two time defending Jayhawk West Champs. Both teams came out shooting the ball well and just two minutes into the game it was tied at 7-7. The Saints scored the next four points to take an 11-7 lead and Jabari Peters stretched the Saints lead to five after a Fort Carson bucket with a three to make it 14-9 in favor of Seward. Back to back finishes on the inside for Leslee Smith gave the Saints their first double digit lead of the game at 21-10 and they remained up by 11 after an Edson Avila spin move and score down low to make the score 25-14. A Fort Carson three made it an eight point game before the Saints turned up the pressure, holding Fort Carson without a field goal for over four minutes as they went on a 15-1 run, highlighted by two Avila to Brian Bridgeforth connections on the high-low, to put Seward up big 42-18. The Saints built their lead up to as many as 26 in the first half before a late parade to the free throw line netted Fort Carson 10 points to make it a 55-37 game going into the half. Seward blistered the nets for 62% shooting in the first half and shot 55% from the three point line while Fort Carson shot 42% from the field and 29% from beyond the arc.
Following a late half slump, the Saints came out recharged in the second half and immediately took it out on Fort Carson. Seward scored 16 straight points to open the period and blow the game open 71-37 and held Fort Carson without a field goal until the 15:40 mark of the half thanks to a standout defensive effort. Five straight points from Quentin Purtue and Kaheem Ransomís third three pointer of the game made it 79-42 Seward moments later and the route was on. Regardless of who was on the floor for the guys in green, the offense continued to perform at a high level as Josh Sweet, Kenlee West, and Devondre Livingston all scored their first points as Saints before Avila put one in the bucket to cap the Saints scoring for the night as they rolled to the 107-62 win.
While slowing down to shoot just 51% in the second half, the Saints finished the night at 56% from the field and hit on 8 of 16 from deep, good for an even 50%. The Seward defense forced 33 Fort Carson turnovers and held the Army base to just 38% shooting on the night. Six Saints reached double figures including Ransom who led the way with 19 on 7 of 10 shooting and Avila who notched a career high 18 points to go along with 12 rebounds and 6 assists in the win.
On Saturday night it was Godís Academyís turn to feel the wrath of the Saints. Seward started the game up 2-0 after a pair of Ransom free throws before the opening tip thanks to an Ambassadors technical foul assessed during warm-ups. Seward didnít get its first field goal until over two minutes into the game, but once they got that one, there were plenty more to come. The Saints scored eight straight before Smith stole a pass to start a fast break in what turned out to be the highlight of the weekend. Smith passed ahead to Ransom who led the 3-1 for Seward and the smooth working lefty spun a pass behind his back to Smith who was trailing the play and the big man did his best Blake Griffith impersonation, going over the top of the Godís Academy defender for a one handed slam and the foul to ignite the Greenhouse crowd and bring Saints fans back nine months ago when they watched Trey Starks pull of nearly the same play in a game against Garden City. The Saints carried the momentum of the big play forward, finally finishing an 18-0 run with a Peters jumper to make it 20-2 with 13:39 left in the half. Seward led 28-9 with 8:58 to go before Godís Academy finally reached double figures as a team and the hot shooting of Jerry Cobb and Peters pushed the Saints advantage to 50-26 before the halftime horn. Offense was once again not a problem for the guys in green as Seward hit on 50% of their shots and were an even better 60% from deep in the period, while holding Godís Academy to just 8 field goals on 17 first half attempts.
The Ambassadors opened the scoring in the second half with five straight quick points before back to back Saints three pointers from Malcolm Hill-Bey and Cobb made it a 25 points game 56-31. With the score 60-34 five minutes into the half, the Saints went on another big run, this time a 13-0 jolt thanks to seven points from Purtue to put the game out of reach at 73-34 with 12:02 to play. Seward moved the ball around and got everyone involved late in the second half, holding on to and building their lead to as many as 46 before cruising to the win 97-54.
Sewardís defensive wall was impenetrable for Godís Academy as the Saints forced 44 Ambassador turnovers and finished the game with 40 more shots than their opponents from Dallas. Peters scored a game high 18 for the Saints while Purtue added 15 and Hill-Bey and Ransom each scored 13.
The nearly flawless weekend puts the Saints at 2-0 to open the campaign. Next up they will take on North Platte and Kingdom Prep in Garden Cityís Pepsi Classic on Friday and Saturday before returning home for their biggest test of the early season against Midland on November 16th in the Billyís/Days Inn Classic.