The Seward County Community College men’s basketball team won the Jayhawk West Conference championship on Sunday afternoon with a 69-58 victory over Colby Community College at the Colby Community Building on the final day of the regular season. Seward County collects its fifth men’s basketball Jayhawk West title (1985, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2008) in the program’s 39 year history. This year’s title marks the first-ever conference championship won by a first-year Saints’ head coach. After being named the seventh head coach in Seward County history on April 24, 2007, Bryan Zollinger has now led the Saints to a conference title and to the No. 1 seed in the Jayhawk Western Division. Seward County improves to 25-5 overall and finishes the Jayhawk West Conference with a 13-3 league record. Colby ends its season with a 7-23 overall record and a 3-13 conference record.

The Saints, who have won 12 of their last 13 games overall, now enter the NJCAA Region VI Tournament and will host a First-Round Playoff game against Jayhawk East No. 8 seed Labette Community College (5-25, 1-17) on Wednesday, March 5, for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off at the Green House.

SCCC was led in its conference-finale by sophomores Darko Cohadarevic (21 points, eight rebounds) and Nick Burns (18 points, four rebounds, four steals). The Saints shot 38 percent from the field while holding Colby to 34 percent shooting. The Saints are now a perfect 24-0 this season when outshooting their opponent from the field.

Seward County used a 13-0 run midway through the first half to take its largest lead, 28-10, at the 6:29 mark before the end of the first half. The Saints dominated the contest from start-to--finish, by only trailing on one occasion (3-4 – 18:40 first half) during the entire contest.

Colby was held to just 10 points during the opening 14 minutes of competition, but was able to provide a 13-4 run going into halftime trailing the Saints 34-26. The Saints’ defense held Colby to 26 percent shooting (9-of-35) in the opening half.

Burns scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half, which included a five-minute period midway through the final period when he recorded 10 straight points for SCCC.

Colby cut the Saints’ lead to six points (57-51) with 6:29 left to play, but Seward County pulled away in the final minutes to tally the 11-point road victory.

It was the fourth opponent this conference season that Seward County had held to less than 60 total points. Despite being out-rebounded (37-35), the Saints forced 21 Trojan turnovers, marking the 15th time this season that Seward County has forced at least 20 turnovers in a game.

Colby was led by two players scoring in double figures, including Everson Lacerda (19 points, 11 rebounds) and Andrew Engel (12 points, six rebounds, three steals).

ADDITIONAL NOTES/RECORD BOOK WATCH:
Bryan Zollinger has recorded the most victories (25) and the best overall winning percentage (.833) and Jayhawk West Conference winning percentage (.813) in Seward County men’s basketball history for a first-year head coach… The Saints’ 25 wins marks the sixth most single-season victories in Seward County history… Nick Burns is currently in fifth-place all-time in Seward County history for career assists (245)… Darko Cohadarevic moved into eighth-place all-time in Seward County history for career rebounds (372)… Nick Burns moved into seventh-place all-time in Seward County history for career steals (100)… Reggie Chamberlain moved into a tie for ninth-place all-time in Seward County history for single-season assists (140)… Ervin Williams moved into 10th place all-time in Saints’ history for single-season blocked shots (37)… Reggie Chamberlain is now in fourth-place all-time in Seward County history for single-season steals (82)… The Saints’ Jayhawk West Conference title is the first league championship for Bryan Zollinger in his 11 years as a collegiate head coach…