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Sunrise Outlasts Seward in Double OT

Brock Kappelmann - November 2, 2016 6:20 am

Saints fans got all they wanted and then some Tuesday night in the Greenhouse as they watched as Seward County and Sunrise Christian duked it out for not only 40 minutes, not even 45, but 50 minutes in a double overtime thriller that the Buffaloes eventually edged out Seward in 95-90 in the Saints 2016-2017 season opener.

Seward knew they would have their hands full with the Buffs that already had exhibition wins over four different Jayhawk Conference teams in the preseason. Sunrise lived up to those expectations, jumping out to an early 9-5 lead before the Saints got five straight to take their first lead of the night at 10-9. The Buffs went on a 7-0 run to retake a six point advantage seven minutes into things before Kevin Sims came to the Saints rescue with eight points in a five minute span to get Seward back to within one at 21-20 with 8:30 to go in the half. The teams went back and forth to a 29-29 draw when a Sims free throw followed by a bucket on the inside by big man Martavious Wilson and a three from the corner from Tre Kidd gave Seward their biggest lead of the game to that point at 35-29. Sunrise however, would go on to convert on their final three trips down the floor in the first half, trimming the Saints lead to just one at the break 37-36.

The Saints came out of the break inspired, getting a pair of early threes from Micah Littlejohn and a drive and score from Charles Beauregard to take a seven point lead 45-38. Another Kidd three moments later kept Seward up six, but three straight buckets from the Buffaloes erased that cushion and knotted the game at 50 with 13:55 to go. It continued to be a nip and tuck battle from there as the teams took turns with the lead until a push from Sunrise put the Buffaloes in front 63-57 with 7:22 left. In trouble, the Saints again turned to their third year man Kevin Sims who scored eight straight and 10 of Seward’s final 12 points of regulation to draw them back even and both teams were unable to capitalize on their final possessions of regulation as they went to overtime all square at 75-75.

The first overtime was a defensive struggle for both sides as early season fatigue and ramped up pressure got to the two sides. Sunrise didn’t have a single field goal in overtime while the Saints managed just two, but it was at the line where Seward kept the game going as Spencer Franklin stepped up and knocked down two big freebies with 8.5 seconds to go to send the game into a second overtime knotted at 81.

It remained a one possession game in the second OT with Sunrise holding a slight one point lead with under a minute to go when what looked like Beauregard took a huge charge under the Buffaloes basket, but upon discussion from the officials, the call was changed to a block and the momentum of the game was swung. On Sunrise’s next possession a buzzer beating three from Florida State commit Bryan Trimble was the nail in the coffin for Seward who eventually went down 95-90 to drop their season opener for the second time in three seasons in the Greenhouse.

Seward shot under 40% on the night and turned the ball over 20 times, but the most glaring final number was on the glass where the Saints were outrebounded 56-42 by the Buffaloes. Sims led all scorers with 33 in the loss while Franklin had 14 before fouling out in the first overtime.

The Saints will have to rev things up right away again as they host Fort Carson Wednesday night in the Greenhouse in a Volleyball/Basketball double header. The Saints will play the Gorillas immediately after the Lady Saints Region VI Tournament game against Dodge City. Free tickets are available courtesy of our buyout sponsor Windtree Management at their Liberal office or at Billy’s and First National Bank in Liberal.


Roy Allen


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