Seward Sleighs Dragons in Regin 6 Semis
KSCB News - March 3, 2016 7:12 am
For the third time this season the Seward County Lady Saints and Hutchinson Lady Blue Dragons hooked up on the hardwood Wednesday in the Region VI Semifinals at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas. Also for the third time, it was a battle until the end and for the second time this season, the Seward County Lady Saints came out victorious, slaying the Dragons 72-65 to advance to the Region VI Championship game Thursday at 5:00 against the Cowley Tigers.
Early on the pace was up and down with both teams scoring on their first possessions and #24 Seward County getting out to a 9-8 lead four minutes into the first after a three from sharpshooter Daniela Galindo. The #12 Blue Dragons responded as expected though, going on a 12-0 run over the next 5:12 to open up what would be the biggest lead for either side in the game at 20-9 with 1:24 to go in the quarter. Joanna Grymek put in the final two baskets of the quarter, getting the Lady Saints back to within seven at 20-13 at the end of one.
Seward trailed by just seven after one despite Hutchinson shooting 69% from the floor and the Lady Saints connecting on just 31% in the period. Grymek led Seward with 8 first quarter points while Dragon archer Taylor Stahly led Hutch with 8.
A three pointer early in the second quarter from Axelle Bernard drew Seward to within four and that is where they remained another three, this one from Tiani White and then a free throw off of a Hutchinson flagrant foul tied the score at 24 with 6:14 to go in the half. However, as they did through the middle of the first quarter, the Dragons went on another run, opening their lead back to eight at 36-28 with just over 2:00 to go in the period. Seward scored the next five to make it a three point game, but a late jumper by Hutchinson gave the Dragons a five point, 38-33 lead into the locker rooms at half.
Both teams shot it well in the second quarter, Seward hitting on 54% from the field, Hutch on 50% of their field goal attempts. The Lady Saints finished the half shooting 41% after the slow start while the Dragons ripped the nets for 61%. Seward’s twin towers, Bernard and Grymek, did the bulk of the damage in the half, combining for 22 points.
Bernard came out of the half for Seward with another three on their first possession to quickly get the Lady Saints back to within two and from there, Seward turned up the heat on the defensive end to tie the game and then take the lead back with 6:39 to go in the quarter. The Lady Saints and Lady Dragons took turns sharing the lead for the rest of the quarter with Seward getting the final bucket with 32 seconds to go to hold a 51-50 advantage after three quarters of action.
Seward shot 60% from the field in the quarter while holding the Dragons to just 40%. The Lady Saints also outrebounded Hutch by four in the period to take the one point lead into the fourth.
Hutchinson tied the game up early in the fourth and the score remained deadlocked as the clocked ticked under 7:00 to go. With 6:30 remaining Grymek finished underneath and was fouled, knocking down the free throw for a three point play to put Seward up by three 58-55. After a stop on defense, Galindo came down and buried a big three off of a screen to put Seward up six and following a Hutch bucket, stepped into another triple to put the Lady Saints up 64-57 with 4:38 remaining. Beginning to feel it, the Lady Saints took their biggest lead of the game as White floated one home with 3:05 to go. A Hutch three cut the Seward lead to 66-60, but the Lady Saints answered with a spin move by Bernard in the post to push their lead back to eight and the Dragons never threatened again. A pair of Galindo free throws with just over 30 seconds left put the game on ice as the Lady Saints erupted in joy as the final horn sounded with a 72-65 Seward County victory.
Seward finished the fourth quarter shooting 80% from the field to end the second half at 70% overall. In the game the Lady Saints shot 53% while holding Hutchinson to 46% after the hot start. Bernard led Seward with a game high 21 points while Grymek was 7 for 10 shooting to end the afternoon with 17 points and 9 rebounds. White had 15 and Galindo scored 14 including the two big fourth quarter threes for the Lady Saints.
Seward improves to 25-7 on the year which is the record that they will take into the Region VI Championship game Thursday against Cowley. Hutchinson will now be forced to play the waiting game to see if their season continues, the Dragons sit 27-4 and will need an at-large bid to the NJCAA National Tournament to see any more action in 2016. The win, Seward’s second of the year over the Dragons, marks the first time since 2008 that Hutchinson has lost two games in one season to the same team.
The Lady Saints advance in the tournament to play Cowley Thursday at 5:00 in the Region VI Championship game at Hartman Arena in Park City with a bid to the NJCAA National Tournament on the line.