Big Shots and Defense Propel Lady Saints
KSCB News - March 4, 2015 9:48 pm
With a combination of timely shooting and solid defense, the #9 Seward County Lady Saints advanced to the Region VI Tournament Semifinals Wednesday afternoon in Wichita, bouncing the #3 seed from the Jayhawk East, the Cowley Tigers by a score of 72-59 to move on and face the East’s #1 seed, the Coffeyville Red Ravens with a trip to the NJCAA National Tournament on the line Friday at 1:00.
In what seems like a yearly occurrence during the Region VI Tournament, Jayhawk West power Seward and Jayhawk East power Cowley hooked up in Koch Arena at Wichita State University Wednesday afternoon in Wichita. The Tigers picked up the game’s first points, but the Lady Saints roared back, scoring 11 of the next 13, four of those coming on steal and scores from Kyndal Davis and five off the sweet shooting right hand of Daniela Galindo to give Seward a 11-4 lead to get things going. Cowley cut it to a five point game by the first half media timeout, but an 11-0 Lady Saint run contributed to by four different players, blew the lead wide open to 26-10 with 6:27 to go in the half. Just when it looked like Seward was getting ready to put a whooping on the Tigers, Cowley scratched back. The Tigers held a gassed Lady Saints team to just two field goals in the final six minutes of the half, shrinking the gals in green’s 16 point lead to just four before the break at 31-27.
Four of Seward’s five starters never left the court in the first half while Cowley went 10 deep in the first 20 minutes of action. Seward shot 37% in the period while Cowley struggled to just 26% from the field. Both teams were sloppy with the basketball as the Lady Saints gave it to the Tigers 13 times while Cowley reciprocated 12 times. Davis led all first half scorers with 11 points while coming off of a record breaking game on the boards Saturday against Neosho County, Axelle Bernard had 9 rebounds and 3 blocked shots for the Lady Saints.
A Cowley three opened the second half scoring and cut the Seward lead to just one point, but back to back answers from Brooklyn Artis and Daniela Galindo quickly put the Lady Saints back up seven, 37-30. Seward stretched their lead back to double digits at 45-34 by the 14:00 mark as Artis found Bernard with a nifty pass and then scored herself on the next trip down the court for the Lady Saints. With their season on the line, the Tigers kept fighting though. Cowley cut the Seward lead back down to six at 55-49 with 6:15 left, but once again a Lady Saint came up with a big shot and once again it was Galindo, training a corner three to push Seward’s lead back to nine. That was more less the straw that broke the Tigers back as Cowley never got closer than seven to Seward from that point on and the Lady Saints made enough freebies at the line in the final six minutes to come away with a 72-59 victory to move onto the semifinals.
The Lady Saints shot 43% from the field in the second half to finish the game at 40% overall while Cowley’s slow shooting night never got better as they hit on under 30% of their tries in the game. The Lady Saints had a decisive advantage at the free throw line, outscoring the Tigers 15-5 at the stripe despite shooting just 60% on the night. Davis and Galindo paced the Lady Saints individually, each scoring 21 while Bernard flirted with a rare triple-double, finishing with 7 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 blocked shots in the victory.
Seward improves to 27-4 on the year with the win while Cowley ends a nice 2014-2015 campaign 24-8 overall. It marks the Lady Saints first Region VI Tournament win in Wichita since the 2009-2010 season when coincidentally they also beat the Tigers.
Next up for Seward is not only a semifinal date with the Coffeyville Red Ravens who defeated Barton in the early game Wednesday, but a trip to the NJCAA National Tournament waiting in the balance of that one. A victory for either side would give them at the very least a runner-up in the tournament, which in 2015 is good enough for a golden ticket to the big dance in Salina. The Lady Saints and Red Ravens will tip it off at 1:00 Friday afternoon at Koch Arena.